Historical period drama

The term historical period drama (also historical drama, period drama, costume drama, and period piece) refers to a work set in a past time period, usually used in the context of film and television. It is an informal crossover term that can apply to several genres and is often heard in the context of historical fiction and romances, adventure films, and swashbucklers. A period piece may be set in a vague or general era such as the Middle Ages or a specific period such as the Roaring Twenties. A religious work can qualify as period drama but not as historical drama.

2004 filming of a 19th-century film scene set in London

Historical accuracy

Some works attempt to accurately portray historical events or persons, to the degree that the available historical research and the length of the work will allow. These types of works are also known as docudrama, examples being Cinderella Man, Schindler's List, and Lincoln.[1] Other works are fictionalized stories based on actual people or events, such as Braveheart and Les Misérables.


Film and television examples of period pieces include Marie Antoinette (1938), The Leopard (1963), Barry Lyndon (1975), Amadeus (1984), The Age of Innocence (1993), Last Man Standing (1996), Shakespeare in Love (1998), The Young Victoria (2009), Darkest Hour (2017) and The Favourite (2018).

Examples of television series include Robin Hood (1953), Middlemarch (1994), Pride and Prejudice (1995), The Tudors, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, Deadwood, Halt and Catch Fire, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Father Brown, Stranger Things, The Americans, Little House on the Prairie, That '70s Show, The Get Down, Another Period, Peaky Blinders and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

See also


  1. ^ Niemi, Robert (2013-10-17). Inspired by True Events: An Illustrated Guide to More Than 500 History-Based Films, 2nd Edition: An Illustrated Guide to More Than 500 History-Based Films. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781610691987.
Battle of Moscow (film)

The Battle of Moscow (Russian: Битва за Москву, Bitva za Moskvu) is a 1985 Soviet two-part war film, presenting a dramatized account of the 1941 Battle of Moscow and the events preceding it. The films were a Soviet-East German-Czechoslovak-Vietnamese co-production directed by Yuri Ozerov who also wrote the script. It was made in time for the 40th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany and the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of the Victory Day holiday and Moscow's declaration as a Hero City.

Cortés (miniseries)

Cortés is an upcoming American historical period drama web television miniseries created and written by Steven Zaillian and starring Javier Bardem. The series is set to premiere on Amazon Video.

Downton Abbey (film)

Downton Abbey is an upcoming British historical period drama film, written by Julian Fellowes and directed by Michael Engler. It is a continuation of the television series of the same name, created by Fellowes, that ran on ITV from 2010 to 2015.

The film is scheduled to be released on 13 September 2019 in the United Kingdom and one week later in the United States on 20 September. The film is set in 1927, and features a visit to Downtown Abbey by King George V and Queen Mary.

Drama (film and television)

In film and television, drama is a genre of narrative fiction (or semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. Drama of this kind is usually qualified with additional terms that specify its particular subgenre, such as "police crime drama", "political drama", "legal drama", "historical period drama", "domestic drama", or "comedy-drama". These terms tend to indicate a particular setting or subject-matter, or else they qualify the otherwise serious tone of a drama with elements that encourage a broader range of moods.

All forms of cinema or television that involve fictional stories are forms of drama in the broader sense if their storytelling is achieved by means of actors who represent (mimesis) characters. In this broader sense, drama is a mode distinct from novels, short stories, and narrative poetry or songs. In the modern era before the birth of cinema or television, "drama" within theatre was a type of play that was neither a comedy nor a tragedy. It is this narrower sense that the film and television industries, along with film studies, adopted. "Radio drama" has been used in both senses—originally transmitted in a live performance, it has also been used to describe the more high-brow and serious end of the dramatic output of radio.


Dubrowsky (Italian: Il vendicatore) is a 1959 Italian - Yugoslav historical period drama film directed by William Dieterle. It is based on the novel Dubrovsky by Alexander Pushkin.

Frontier (2016 TV series)

Frontier is a Canadian historical period drama television series co-created by Brad Peyton, Rob Blackie, and Peter Blackie, chronicling the North American fur trade in late 1700s Canada. The series is co-produced by Discovery Canada, as the channel's first original scripted commission, and Netflix. The series premiered on November 6, 2016.

The series was renewed for a second season in October 2016, ahead of its premiere, which premiered on October 18, 2017. Frontier was renewed for a third season on September 20, 2017, also ahead of the previous second season. The entirety of the third season premiered first on Netflix on November 23, 2018, and was broadcast in Canada between December 7 and 21, 2018.

Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans, later retitled Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans is a 1957 historical period drama television series made for syndication by ITC Entertainment and Normandie Productions. It ran for one season of 39 half-hour monochrome episodes. The series is available on DVD and some episodes on VHS.

Historical period drama films set in Asia

Historical period drama is a film genre in which stories are based on historical events and famous persons. Some historical dramas attempt to accurately portray a historical event or biography, to the degree that the available historical research will allow. Other historical dramas are fictionalised tales that are based on an actual person and their deeds.

Due to the sheer volume of films included in this genre and in the interest of continuity, this list is primarily focused on films pertaining to the history of East Asia, Central Asia, and India. For films pertaining to the history of Near Eastern and Western civilisation, please refer to list of historical period drama films and series set in Near Eastern and Western civilization.

The films on this page are divided into regions, and within each region the films are listed chronologically by subject matter.

Journey from the Fall

Journey from the Fall (Vietnamese: Vượt Sóng) is a 2006 independent film by writer/director/editor Ham Tran, about the Vietnamese re-education camp and boat people experience following the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. This drama was released on March 23, 2007, by ImaginAsian to sold-out screenings. The film is notable for having been financed entirely by the Vietnamese American community.

List of Vietnamese historical period drama films

Below is the list of Vietnamese historical drama films

List of feature films about the Japanese American internment

Feature films about the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans include:

American Pastime (2007) Focuses on internees' use of baseball as a source of entertainment while living in camp

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Come See the Paradise (1990) Follows an interracial family separated by the wartime incarceration program

Day of Independence (2003) A Nisei teen immerses himself in baseball after his parents decide to return to Japan rather than remain in camp in the U.S.

Farewell to Manzanar (1976) Made for television adaptation of Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston's memoirs of her time in the Manzanar internment camp

Forgotten Valor (2001) Written and directed by Lane Nishikawa, a Nisei veteran remembers his experiences during World War II

Go for Broke! (1951) Based on the real-life story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated army unit of Japanese American men, many of whom served while their families were incarcerated on the home front

Go for Broke: An Origin Story (2018) Follows a group of University of Hawaii ROTC students during the tumultuous year after the attack on Pearl Harbor, as they navigate wartime Hawaii and fight discrimination. Adaptation of the comic book by Stacey Hayashi

Hell to Eternity (1960) Biopic about Guy Gabaldon, a Mexican American Marine who was adopted by a Japanese American family at age 12 and went on to serve in World War II while his adoptive family was interned in Manzanar

If Tomorrow Comes (1971) Made-for-TV movie following the romance between a Nisei man and a white woman at the start of World War II

99 Years of Love 〜Japanese Americans〜 (2010)

Kommando 1944 (2018)

Only the Brave (2006)

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) Adaptation of the novel by David Guterson

Stand Up for Justice: The Ralph Lazo Story (2004)

Strawberry Fields (1997)

Under the Blood Red Sun (2014) A 13 yr old Japanese boy faces monumental adversity in 1941 Hawaii, when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Adaptation of the novel by Graham Salisbury

List of films about the RMS Titanic

The RMS Titanic has been featured in numerous films, TV movies and notable TV episodes. This list includes the 1997 film Titanic which is one of the highest-grossing films. On television, the Titanic has been featured in genres ranging from epic dramas to short cartoon parodies.

List of films set in ancient Rome

This page lists films set in the city of Rome during the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic or the Roman Empire. Where films are only partly set in Rome, they are so noted.

List of historical period drama films and series set in Near Eastern and Western civilization

The historical period drama is a film genre in which stories are based upon historical events and famous people. Some historical dramas are docudramas, which attempt an accurate portrayal of a historical event or biography, to the degree that the available historical research will allow. Other historical dramas are fictionalized tales that are based on an actual person and their deeds, such as Braveheart, which is loosely based on the 13th-century knight William Wallace's fight for Scotland's independence.

Due to the sheer volume of films included in this genre and in the interest of continuity, this list is primarily focused on films pertaining to the history of Near Eastern and Western civilization.

For films pertaining to the history of East Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia, please refer also to the list of Asian historical drama films.

Lists of book-based war films

The list of films based around war books is divided into the following:

Antiquity through the 18th centuryList of films based on military books (pre-1775)American Revolution through the Mahdist WarList of films based on military books (1775–1898)Spanish–American War through the Cristero War, including World War I and its immediate consequencesList of films based on military books (1898–1926)Chinese Civil War through World War IIList of films based on military books (1927–1945)War on Terror through to the present dayList of films based on military books (post-2000)Peace timeList of films based on military books (peacetime)

Lục Vân Tiên (film)

Lục Vân Tiên is a 2002 Vietnamese TV film directed by Phương Điền based on a Lục Vân Tiên, a 19th-century epic poem.

The Romeo and Juliet story stars actress Hà Kiều Anh as Kiều Nguyệt Nga. Some of the scenes in a bathing spring created a small scandal in Vietnam.The show was also shown on the ImaginAsian network in the United States.

Martín Rivas (TV series)

Martín Rivas is a Chilean historical period drama television series adaptation of the novel of the same name by Alberto Blest Gana, that aired on TVN and TV Chile from March 15, to September 6, 2010, starring Diego Muñoz and María Gracia Omegna.

The Spanish Princess

The Spanish Princess is a British-American historical period drama television miniseries developed by Emma Frost and Matthew Graham for Starz. It is based on the novels The Constant Princess and The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory and it is a sequel to the miniseries The White Queen and The White Princess. It premiered on May 5, 2019 and it will consist of eight episodes.

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