Top-Rated Period Dramas

Here are the top 25 period-drama movies or TV series as rated by visitors to This list is “live”, meaning that it is based on the ratings as of this moment.

1. North & South (2004 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.85 / 5 (from 632 ratings)

Date set: 1851

Directed by: Brian Percival

Writer(s): Elizabeth Gaskell (novel), Sandy Welch

Cast: Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack, Brendan Coyle

2. Pride and Prejudice (1995 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.77 / 5 (from 399 ratings)

Date set: 18111812

Directed by: Simon Langton

Writer(s): Jane Austen (novel), Andrew Davies

Cast: Jennifer Ehle, Colin Firth, Susannah Harker, Crispin Bonham-Carter, Julia Sawalha

3. Jane Eyre (2006 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.48 / 5 (from 229 ratings)

Date set: 1829

Directed by: Susanna White

Writer(s): Charlotte Brontë (novel), Sandy Welch

Cast: Ruth Wilson, Toby Stephens, Lorraine Ashbourne, Pam Ferris, Ned Irish

4. Downton Abbey (2010 TV Series)

User rating:
4.45 / 5 (from 237 ratings)

Date set: 19121921

Directed by: Brian Percival, Ben Bolt, Brian Kelly

Writer(s): Julian Fellowes

Cast: Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Penelope Wilton, Dan Stevens

5. Little Dorrit (2008 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.43 / 5 (from 146 ratings)

Date set: 18051826

Directed by: Adam Smith, Dearbhla Walsh, Diarmuid Lawrence

Writer(s): Charles Dickens (novel), Andrew Davies

Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Judy Parfitt, Claire Foy, Tom Courtenay, Arthur Darvill

6. Persuasion (1995 TV Movie)

User rating:
4.42 / 5 (from 96 ratings)

Date set: 1814

Directed by: Roger Michell

Writer(s): Jane Austen (novel), Nick Dear

Cast: Amanda Root, Ciarán Hinds, Susan Fleetwood, Corin Redgrave, Fiona Shaw

7. Lark Rise to Candleford (2008 TV Series)

User rating:
4.3 / 5 (from 149 ratings)

Date set: 1891

Directed by: John Greening, Charles Palmer, Marc Jobst

Writer(s): Flora Thompson, Bill Gallagher

Cast: Olivia Hallinan, Julia Sawalha, Brendan Coyle, Claudie Blakley, Dawn French

8. Emma (2009 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.27 / 5 (from 150 ratings)

Date set: 1815

Writer(s): Jane Austen (novel), Sandy Welch

Cast: Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon, Tamsin Greig, Robert Bathurst

9. Sense and Sensibility (1995 Movie)

User rating:
4.26 / 5 (from 125 ratings)

Date set: 1795

Directed by: Ang Lee

Writer(s): Jane Austen (novel), Emma Thompson (screenplay)

Cast: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Greg Wise, Alan Rickman

10. The King's Speech (2010 Movie)

User rating:
4.25 / 5 (from 73 ratings)

Date set: 19251939

Directed by: Tom Hooper

Writer(s): David Seidler

Cast: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Ehle

11. Sense and Sensibility (2008 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.25 / 5 (from 118 ratings)

Date set: 1795

Directed by: John Alexander

Writer(s): Jane Austen (novel), Andrew Davies

Cast: Hattie Morahan, Charity Wakefield, Dan Stevens, Dominic Cooper, David Morrissey

12. Cranford (2007 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.18 / 5 (from 90 ratings)

Date set: 18421844

Directed by: Simon Curtis, Steve Hudson

Writer(s): Elizabeth Gaskell (novel), Sue Birtwistle, Susie Conklin, Heidi Thomas

Cast: Simon Woods, Judi Dench, Lisa Dillon, Imelda Staunton, Julia McKenzie

13. The Young Victoria (2009 Movie)

User rating:
4.14 / 5 (from 112 ratings)

Date set: 18371840

Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée

Writer(s): Julian Fellowes

Cast: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Miranda Richardson, Mark Strong, Jim Broadbent

14. The Forsyte Saga (2002 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.12 / 5 (from 58 ratings)

Date set: 1874

Directed by: Christopher Menaul, Dave Moore

Writer(s): John Galsworthy (novel), Stephen Mallatratt, Jan McVerry

Cast: Damian Lewis, Rupert Graves, Gina McKee, Ioan Gruffudd, Corin Redgrave

15. Jane Eyre (2011 Movie)

User rating:
4.07 / 5 (from 110 ratings)

Date set: 1829

Directed by: Cary Fukunaga

Writer(s): Charlotte Brontë (novel), Moira Buffini

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins

16. The Tudors (2007 TV Series)

User rating:
4.06 / 5 (from 64 ratings)

Date set: 15181547

Directed by: Ciaran Donnelly, Jeremy Podeswa, Dearbhla Walsh, Steve Shill, Brian Kirk, Alison Maclean, Charles McDougall, Jon Amiel, Colm McCarthy

Writer(s): Michael Hirst

Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, James Frain, Anthony Brophy, Sarah Bolger

17. Rome (2005 TV Series)

User rating:
4.06 / 5 (from 49 ratings)

Date set: 52 B.C.30 B.C.

Directed by: Michael Apted, Allen Coulter, Alan Poul, Steve Shill;Timothy Van Patten, Alan Taylor, John Maybury

Writer(s): Bruno Heller, William J. MacDonald, John Milius, Scott Buck, Todd Ellis Kessler, Mere Smith

Cast: Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker, Kerry Condon, James Purefoy

18. Tess of the D'Urbervilles (2008 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.06 / 5 (from 73 ratings)

Date set: 18841889

Directed by: David Blair

Writer(s): Thomas Hardy (novel), David Nicholls

Cast: Gemma Arterton, Eddie Redmayne, Hans Matheson, Jodie Whittaker, Ruth Jones

19. Anne of Green Gables (1985 TV Movie)

User rating:
4.05 / 5 (from 24 ratings)

Date set: Unknown

Directed by: Kevin Sullivan

Writer(s): Lucy Maud Montgomery (novel), Kevin Sullivan, Joe Wiesenfeld

Cast: Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst, Richard Farnsworth, Patricia Hamilton, Marilyn Lightstone

20. Northanger Abbey (2007 TV Movie)

User rating:
4.03 / 5 (from 80 ratings)

Date set: 17981799

Directed by: Jon Jones

Writer(s): Jane Austen (novel), Andrew Davies

Cast: Felicity Jones, JJ Feild, Carey Mulligan, William Beck, Catherine Walker

21. Bright Star (2009 Movie)

User rating:
4.03 / 5 (from 63 ratings)

Date set: 1818

Directed by: Jane Campion

Writer(s): Jane Campion

Cast: Ben Whishaw, Abbie Cornish, Paul Schneider, Thomas Sangster, Kerry Fox

22. The Pillars of the Earth (2010 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.01 / 5 (from 53 ratings)

Date set: 11201170

Directed by: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan

Writer(s): Ken Follett, John Pielmeier

Cast: Ian McShane, Matthew Macfadyen, Eddie Redmayne, Hayley Atwell, Rufus Sewell

23. Little Women (1994 Movie)

User rating:
4.01 / 5 (from 54 ratings)

Date set: 1861

Directed by: Gillian Armstrong

Writer(s): Louisa May Alcott (novel), Robin Swicord

Cast: Winona Ryder, Trini Alvarado, Samantha Mathis, Claire Danes, Susan Sarandon

24. Lorna Doone (2000 TV Movie)

User rating:
4 / 5 (from 29 ratings)

Date set: 1675

Directed by: Mike Barker

Writer(s): R. D. Blackmore (novel), Adrian Hodges

Cast: Martin Clunes, Richard Coyle, Aiden Gillen, Amelia Warner, Anthony Calf

25. An Ideal Husband (1999 Movie)

User rating:
3.95 / 5 (from 24 ratings)

Date set: 1895

Directed by: Oliver Parker

Writer(s): Oscar Wilde (play), Oliver Parker

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Minnie Driver, Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Jeremy Northam

How to rate

To rate a period drama, find its details page (using the search box or by looking on the timeline), and then look for "Your rating" in the list of details. Choose a rating for it from the drop-down box, and then click on the "Rate!" button.

About the rating system

The period dramas listed above are ranked by their effective rating, which works as follows. Visitors to can give a rating to any of the period dramas in our database. From the given ratings and the number of ratings, the average rating for a period drama can be calculated. The effective rating of each period drama is then calculated using its average rating and the number of ratings it has been given: when a period drama has received a lot of ratings, its average rating is considered to be quite accurate (or “trustworthy”), and its calculated effective rating will then be very close to its average rating; conversely, if a period drama hasn't received many ratings yet, its average rating will not be particularly accurate, and its calculated effective rating will then be closer to a “default” (or “neutral”) rating. The actual calculation we use to determine an effective rating for a period drama is known as the Bayesian average.

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