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:
4.86 / 5 (from 707 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:
4.78 / 5 (from 419 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:
4.47 / 5 (from 236 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 250 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:
4.42 / 5 (from 150 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 109 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:
4.31 / 5 (from 155 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:
4.3 / 5 (from 157 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:
4.28 / 5 (from 134 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. Sense and Sensibility (2008 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.27 / 5 (from 126 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

11. The King's Speech (2010 Movie)

User rating:
4.27 / 5 (from 79 ratings)

Date set: 19251939

Directed by: Tom Hooper

Writer(s): David Seidler

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

12. Cranford (2007 TV Mini-series)

User rating:
4.19 / 5 (from 97 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. Anne of Green Gables (1985 TV Movie)

User rating:
4.16 / 5 (from 29 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

14. The Young Victoria (2009 Movie)

User rating:
4.15 / 5 (from 120 ratings)

Date set: 18371840

Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée

Writer(s): Julian Fellowes

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

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

User rating:
4.12 / 5 (from 63 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

16. Jane Eyre (2011 Movie)

User rating:
4.1 / 5 (from 122 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

17. The Tudors (2007 TV Series)

User rating:
4.07 / 5 (from 68 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

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

User rating:
4.07 / 5 (from 74 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. Little Women (1994 Movie)

User rating:
4.06 / 5 (from 57 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

20. Lorna Doone (2000 TV Movie)

User rating:
4.04 / 5 (from 31 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

21. Northanger Abbey (2007 TV Movie)

User rating:
4.04 / 5 (from 87 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

22. Bright Star (2009 Movie)

User rating:
4.04 / 5 (from 65 ratings)

Date set: 1818

Directed by: Jane Campion

Writer(s): Jane Campion

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

23. Rome (2005 TV Series)

User rating:
4.03 / 5 (from 50 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

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

User rating:
4.03 / 5 (from 56 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

25. Gone with the Wind (1939 Movie)

User rating:
4 / 5 (from 48 ratings)

Date set: 18611877

Directed by: Victor Fleming

Writer(s): Margaret Mitchell (novel), Sidney Howard (screenplay)

Cast: Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, Hattie McDaniel

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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