A List of 45 Modern Period Dramas

by Metamoris | created - 25 Feb 2016 | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public

45 Period Dramas: known for quality in direction, casting and writing.

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1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

93 Metascore

A young Chinese warrior steals a sword from a famed swordsman and then escapes into a world of romantic adventure with a mysterious man in the frontier of the nation.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang

Votes: 243,515 | Gross: $128.08M

2. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

68 Metascore

When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen

Votes: 910,798 | Gross: $75.60M

3. Pride & Prejudice (2005)

PG | 129 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome his or her own pride and prejudice?

Director: Joe Wright | Stars: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland

Votes: 236,174 | Gross: $38.41M

4. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

PG | 136 min | Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her three daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. The two eldest daughters are the titular opposites.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, James Fleet, Tom Wilkinson

Votes: 94,700 | Gross: $43.18M

5. Howards End (1992)

PG | 142 min | Drama, Romance

89 Metascore

A businessman thwarts his wife's bequest of an estate to another woman.

Director: James Ivory | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter

Votes: 26,598 | Gross: $25.97M

6. There Will Be Blood (2007)

R | 158 min | Drama

93 Metascore

A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciarán Hinds, Martin Stringer

Votes: 476,772 | Gross: $40.22M

7. The Remains of the Day (1993)

PG | 134 min | Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

A butler who sacrificed body and soul to service in the years leading up to World War II realizes too late how misguided his loyalty was to his lordly employer.

Director: James Ivory | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, John Haycraft, Christopher Reeve

Votes: 59,843 | Gross: $22.95M

8. Jane Eyre (2011)

PG-13 | 120 min | Drama, Romance

76 Metascore

A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he's hiding a terrible secret.

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga | Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Su Elliot

Votes: 76,674 | Gross: $11.24M

9. The Young Victoria (2009)

PG | 105 min | Biography, Drama, History

64 Metascore

A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria's rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée | Stars: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson

Votes: 54,947 | Gross: $11.00M

10. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama

64 Metascore

A housewife who is unhappy with her life befriends an old lady in a nursing home and is enthralled by the tales she tells of people she used to know.

Director: Jon Avnet | Stars: Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary-Louise Parker

Votes: 62,765 | Gross: $82.42M

11. A River Runs Through It (1992)

PG | 123 min | Drama

68 Metascore

The story about two sons of a stern minister -- one reserved, one rebellious -- growing up in rural Montana while devoted to fly fishing.

Director: Robert Redford | Stars: Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn

Votes: 50,194 | Gross: $43.44M

12. Dances with Wolves (1990)

PG-13 | 181 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

72 Metascore

Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.

Director: Kevin Costner | Stars: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant

Votes: 225,803 | Gross: $184.21M

13. The Last Samurai (2003)

R | 154 min | Action, Drama, War

55 Metascore

An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, William Atherton

Votes: 377,462 | Gross: $111.11M

14. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

R | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

76 Metascore

Three trappers protect the daughters of a British Colonel in the midst of the French and Indian War.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig

Votes: 139,596 | Gross: $75.51M

15. Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

PG-13 | 145 min | Drama, Romance

54 Metascore

Nitta Sayuri reveals how she transcended her fishing-village roots and became one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.

Director: Rob Marshall | Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh, Suzuka Ohgo

Votes: 133,264 | Gross: $57.49M

16. Legends of the Fall (1994)

R | 133 min | Drama, Romance, War

45 Metascore

In the early 1900s, three brothers and their father living in the remote wilderness of Montana are affected by betrayal, history, love, nature, and war.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond

Votes: 137,264 | Gross: $66.64M

17. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

R | 144 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

63 Metascore

Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the Crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Martin Hancock

Votes: 254,732 | Gross: $47.40M

18. Cold Mountain (2003)

R | 154 min | Adventure, Drama, History

73 Metascore

In the waning days of the American Civil War, a wounded soldier embarks on a perilous journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina to reunite with his sweetheart.

Director: Anthony Minghella | Stars: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Eileen Atkins

Votes: 134,121 | Gross: $95.64M

19. The King's Speech (2010)

R | 118 min | Biography, Drama, History

88 Metascore

The story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne of the British Empire in 1936, and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch overcome his stammer.

Director: Tom Hooper | Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi

Votes: 606,078 | Gross: $138.80M

20. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

R | 134 min | Drama, Romance

87 Metascore

The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Randy Quaid

Votes: 306,268 | Gross: $83.04M

21. The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

PG-13 | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

61 Metascore

A young man, falsely imprisoned by his jealous "friend", escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge.

Director: Kevin Reynolds | Stars: Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris, James Frain

Votes: 122,565 | Gross: $54.23M

22. Atonement (2007)

R | 123 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

85 Metascore

Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit.

Director: Joe Wright | Stars: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Brenda Blethyn, Saoirse Ronan

Votes: 233,304 | Gross: $50.93M

23. The Piano (1993)

R | 121 min | Drama, Music, Romance

89 Metascore

A mute woman is sent to 1850s New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but is soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

Director: Jane Campion | Stars: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin

Votes: 74,379 | Gross: $40.16M

24. Brooklyn (2015)

PG-13 | 117 min | Drama, Romance

88 Metascore

An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.

Director: John Crowley | Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent

Votes: 120,597 | Gross: $38.32M

25. House of Flying Daggers (2004)

PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

89 Metascore

A romantic police captain breaks a beautiful member of a rebel group out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, Dandan Song

Votes: 103,795 | Gross: $11.05M

26. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

R | 160 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

68 Metascore

Robert Ford, who's idolized Jesse James since childhood, tries hard to join the reforming gang of the Missouri outlaw, but gradually becomes resentful of the bandit leader.

Director: Andrew Dominik | Stars: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary-Louise Parker

Votes: 159,939 | Gross: $3.90M

27. The Secret Garden (1993)

G | 101 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

74 Metascore

A young, recently-orphaned girl is sent to England after living in India all of her life. Once there, she begins to explore her new, seemingly-isolated surroundings, and its secrets.

Director: Agnieszka Holland | Stars: Kate Maberly, Maggie Smith, Heydon Prowse, Andrew Knott

Votes: 34,097 | Gross: $31.18M

28. Little Women (2019)

PG | 134 min | Drama, Romance

91 Metascore

Four sisters come of age in America in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Director: Greta Gerwig | Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Florence Pugh

Votes: 50

29. Elizabeth (1998)

R | 124 min | Biography, Drama, History

75 Metascore

The early years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England and her difficult task of learning what is necessary to be a monarch.

Director: Shekhar Kapur | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Liz Giles, Rod Culbertson, Paul Fox

Votes: 87,532 | Gross: $30.08M

30. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

PG-13 | 135 min | Drama, Romance

66 Metascore

Photographer Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep), for four days in the 1960s.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Annie Corley, Victor Slezak

Votes: 67,344 | Gross: $71.52M

31. The English Patient (1996)

R | 162 min | Drama, Romance, War

87 Metascore

At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.

Director: Anthony Minghella | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Kristin Scott Thomas

Votes: 169,059 | Gross: $78.65M

32. Gosford Park (2001)

R | 131 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery

90 Metascore

The lives of upstairs guests and downstairs servants at a party in 1932 in a country house in England as they investigate a murder involving one of them.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Maggie Smith, Ryan Phillippe, Michael Gambon, Kristin Scott Thomas

Votes: 75,406 | Gross: $41.31M

33. Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)

PG-13 | 100 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

72 Metascore

A young peasant maid working in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer becomes his talented assistant and the model for one of his most famous works.

Director: Peter Webber | Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Tom Wilkinson, Judy Parfitt

Votes: 69,175 | Gross: $11.63M

34. The Wings of the Dove (1997)

R | 102 min | Drama, Romance

73 Metascore

An impoverished woman who has been forced to choose between a privileged life with her wealthy aunt and her journalist lover, befriends an American heiress. When she discovers the heiress is attracted to her own lover and is dying, she sees a chance to have both the privileged life she cannot give up and the lover she cannot live without.

Director: Iain Softley | Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Linus Roache, Alex Jennings, Charlotte Rampling

Votes: 9,989 | Gross: $13.72M

35. Quills (2000)

R | 124 min | Biography, Drama

70 Metascore

In a Napoleonic era insane asylum, an inmate, the irrepressible Marquis De Sade, fights a battle of wills against a tyrannically prudish doctor.

Director: Philip Kaufman | Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine

Votes: 49,728 | Gross: $7.06M

36. Mansfield Park (1999)

PG-13 | 112 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

71 Metascore

At 10, Fanny Price, a poor relation, goes to live at Mansfield Park, the estate of her aunt's husband, Sir Thomas. Clever, studious, and a writer with an ironic imagination and fine moral ... See full summary »

Director: Patricia Rozema | Stars: Frances O'Connor, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Hannah Taylor Gordon

Votes: 20,366 | Gross: $4.76M

37. Little Women (1994)

PG | 115 min | Drama, Family, Romance

87 Metascore

The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America.

Director: Gillian Armstrong | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes

Votes: 45,215 | Gross: $50.08M

38. Jude (1996)

R | 123 min | Drama, Romance

68 Metascore

A stonemason steadfastly pursues a cousin he loves. However their love is troubled as he is married to a woman who tricked him into marriage and she is married to a man she does not love.

Director: Michael Winterbottom | Stars: Christopher Eccleston, Kate Winslet, Liam Cunningham, Rachel Griffiths

Votes: 9,594 | Gross: $0.41M

39. Impromptu (1991)

PG-13 | 107 min | Biography, Comedy, Music

In 1830s France, pianist/composer Frédéric Chopin is pursued romantically by the determined, individualistic woman who uses the name George Sand.

Director: James Lapine | Stars: Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters

Votes: 4,462 | Gross: $4.08M

40. Bright Star (2009)

PG | 119 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

81 Metascore

The three-year romance between 19th-century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne near the end of his life.

Director: Jane Campion | Stars: Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw, Paul Schneider, Kerry Fox

Votes: 24,340 | Gross: $4.44M

41. Washington Square (1997)

PG | 115 min | Drama, Romance

Catherine Sloper (Jennifer Jason Leigh) has found the man of her dreams in Morris Townsend (Ben Chaplin), but her plans to marry him are strongly opposed by her father, Dr. Austin Sloper (... See full summary »

Director: Agnieszka Holland | Stars: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Albert Finney, Maggie Smith, Ben Chaplin

Votes: 3,042 | Gross: $1.71M

42. Carrington (1995)

R | 121 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

The platonic relationship between artist Dora Carrington (Dame Emma Thompson) and writer Lytton Strachey (Jonathan Pryce) in the early twentieth century.

Director: Christopher Hampton | Stars: Emma Thompson, Jonathan Pryce, Steven Waddington, Samuel West

Votes: 4,889 | Gross: $3.24M

43. The New World (2005)

PG-13 | 135 min | Biography, Drama, History

69 Metascore

The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale

Votes: 79,628 | Gross: $12.71M

44. Marie Antoinette (2006)

PG-13 | 123 min | Biography, Drama, History

65 Metascore

The retelling of France's iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. From her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 15 to her reign as queen at 19 and to the end of her reign as queen, and ultimately the fall of Versailles.

Director: Sofia Coppola | Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Judy Davis

Votes: 94,966 | Gross: $15.96M

45. The Crucible (1996)

PG-13 | 124 min | Drama, History

A Salem resident attempts to frame her ex-lover's wife for being a witch in the middle of the 1692 witchcraft trials.

Director: Nicholas Hytner | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Scofield, Joan Allen

Votes: 33,709 | Gross: $7.34M