I might have an addiction to period films. I love BBC and all adaptations of my favorite books. I dive into new ones with an eagerness for the beautiful words, costumes and romance of a different age. So, if your Valentine’s Day plans are to curl up on the couch with a romantic flick, then enjoy my list of favorite period romances.
North and South
This may be one of my favorites, and not just because it has the absolute best kiss scene and ending!
The story is beautiful and you are rooting for this couple to find out the truth about each other and finally get together. As the name may suggest to Americans, the movie is not an historical drama set during the Civil War era. It is based on the book of the same name written by Elizabeth Gaskell and it gets its name from the differences in geographical areas in England during the 19th century. The main character, Margaret, is forced to leave her beautiful country village in the south for the industrial city of Milton (similar to the real city of Manchester) in the north. She has a difficult time adjusting to the harshness of the town and it’s cotton mills. The book also addresses social issues of the time as well as bringing to light the treatment of workers. Through all of this, the romance of the story is woven and it keeps you watching to the end. This is a must watch and is currently on Netflix, but not for long! It will only be on Netflix till March 1st, so take some time this month to watch it.
Watch it on Netflix through the end of January or purchase the DVD on Amazon. The series isn’t currently available for streaming on Amazon, but it may be available when it is taken off of Netflix. You can check HERE to see if it is available yet.
Wives and Daughters
Wives and Daughters is based on another book by Elizabeth Gaskell. It is a story similar to Mansfield Park where you have a sweet shy girl who is infatuated with the sweet smart guy, who in this case is actually an idiot for falling for the flirty ditsy girl instead. But, he eventually comes to his senses. The ending is wonderful with a confession of love in the rain to rival the Notebook!
You can buy the DVD on Amazon.
Under the Greenwood Tree
I absolutely love this movie. It is based on the book by Thomas Hardy. This story is more light-hearted in comparison to his other novels. The love story is sweet, yet fiery and passionate. It follows the seasons “under the greenwood tree” and the life of the heroine Fancy (yes that is her real name) as she chooses the correct path for her life.
Unfortunately this movie isn’t currently available for streaming, but you can purchase the DVD on Amazon.
The Inheritance is based on the book by Louisa May Alcott, the same author of Little Women. It is beautiful, sort of like a Cinderella story, but where the orphaned girl is loved by the family who take her in like she is one of their own and the ending has a wonderful twist.
You can buy the DVD on Amazon.
Northanger Abbey is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels and for years I only had the 1986 version. This version is interesting, if not a little weird in it’s interpretation of the novel. It may take the “gothic” thing a bit too far! If you are interested in taking a chance on this version, you can purchase the DVD on Amazon.
My favorite version now though is the 2007 BBC version with Felicity Jones, Carey Mulligan and JJ Field. This was one of the earlier roles for Felicity Jones, whom you’ll remember best as Jyn Erso in the new Star Wars Rogue One and Carey Mulligan (academy award nominee for An Education). I love the accuracy of this film and the simplicity of the romance. It will leave you giddily happy at the end.
My favorite version of Persuasion is the newest BBC adaptation. It’s not the most detailed or accurate, but is beautiful to watch and the ending will just make you smile.
Buy the DVD on Amazon.
Pride and Prejudice, old and new
You may find this surprising, but I think I enjoy almost every version of Pride and Prejudice I see, old and new, movie and mini-series, period and present day, I love them all! But, if I had to choose favorites, it would be not only the A&E Colin Firth version which everyone adores, but also the 1980 version. I probably love this movie the most because it is the most accurate. You can purchase the DVD for the older version on Amazon and stream the beloved A&E series on Amazon Video.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is another of my favorite books and so I have definitely seen every movie version made. With these, I do not love every version I’ve see and I do have a favorite. My absolute favorite is the 1983 version with Timothy Dalton as Mr. Rochester. Again, I love it for it’s accuracy and I feel like the chemistry between Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clark is amazing.
Tenant of Wildfell Hall
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is by Anne Bronte, the lesser known of the Bronte sisters. I believe this novel is just as good as Emily and Charlotte’s more famous novels. The story has some harsh elements, but ends happily.
There are many versions of Emma and I love most of them. I’ve always loved the Gwyneth Paltrow version, but I think my favorite is the Kate Beckinsale version.
Sense and Sensibility, 90’s & 00’s
It’s a complete toss up as to which Jane Austen adaptation I love most. The one from the 90’s with Emma Thompson (who also wrote the screenplay adaptation), Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet is absolutely mesmerizing. But, I also really loved the newest BBC version. I loved how adorable Elinor and Edward were in this version. Edward is played in this version by Dan Stevens, the much loved Matthew from Downton Abbey and soon to be Beast from Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast.
I’ve seen multiple versions of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens and my favorite, though less accurate, is the 2002 version with Christopher Plummer and Anne Hathaway.
Mansfied Park, 90’s & 00’s
I again have two favorite versions of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. The first is the version from 1999, although it is surprisingly less accurate than the later 2007 version. The 2007 version stars Billie Piper (Doctor Who) as the heroine Fanny Price.
The opinions expressed here are my own and I was not paid by any organization for my reviews.
So, grab some pop corn, curl up on the couch and dive in to a new favorite. What are your favorites? Share in the comments section below!