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The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century 

Ranker Film
Updated October 16, 2019 4.3k votes 756 voters 28.4k views 22 items

The 18th century was a time of great change around the globe. The Enlightenment expanded peoples' minds and encouraged new forms of government, while the Industrial Revolution brought about technological innovations that impacted everyday life. It's no wonder that this century continues to inspire filmmakers. The best 18th century period movies capture the sense of possibility that permeated this era, from romantic love stories to thrilling class struggles. This is a list of the top 1700s period movies including everything from Sense and Sensibility to The Last of the Mohicans to The Duchess.

What films will you find on this list of the best films set in the 18th century? The works of Jane Austen continue to make readers and moviegoers swoon. In the 2005 adaptation of her perennial favorite Pride & Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) spar while falling in love against all odds. Amadeus is another good film set in the 18th century. Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette examined the notorious historic figure with a unique and modern touch. Other movies featured on this list include Dangerous Liaisons and Barry Lyndon.

Which movie set in the 1700s do you think is the best? Give your favorites a thumbs up and please add any good 18th century period films that are missing.

 

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1
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Denise Schult added Poldark Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Heida Reed

Released: 2015

Directed by: Ed Bazelgette,

2
Pride & Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Judi Dench

Released: 2005

Directed by: Joe Wright

Pride & Prejudice is a 2005 British romance film directed by Joe Wright and based on Jane Austen's novel of the same name, published in 1813. The film depicts five sisters from an English ...more

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3
Sense and Sensibility is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Kate Winslet, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson

Released: 1995

Directed by: Ang Lee

Sense and Sensibility is a 1995 British–American period drama film directed by Ang Lee and based on Jane Austen's 1811 novel of the same name. Actress Emma Thompson wrote the script and stars as ...more

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4
Anna Karenina is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
MelissaColon added
Anna Karenina is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. Tolstoy clashed with editor Mikhail Katkov ...more

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5
The Duchess is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Hayley Atwell

Released: 2008

Directed by: Saul Dibb

The Duchess is a 2008 British-American drama film directed by Saul Dibb. It is based on Amanda Foreman's biography of the 18th-century English aristocrat Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of ...more

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6
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
MelissaColon added Lizzie Borden Took an Ax Christina Ricci, Clea DuVall, Billy Campbell

Released: 2014

Directed by: Nick Gomez

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax is a 2014 American television biopic about the true story of Lizzie Borden, a young American woman tried and acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother in ...more
7
Amadeus is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Ebersole

Released: 1984

Directed by: Miloš Forman

Amadeus - Directors Cut is a 1984 biography drama film written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Milos Forman.

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8
The Last of the Mohicans... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite

Released: 1992

Directed by: Michael Mann

The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 historical epic film set in 1757 and produced by Morgan Creek Pictures. It was directed by Michael Mann and based on James Fenimore Cooper's novel of the same ...more

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9
Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Dimos Dicoudis added Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Christopher Walken

Released: 1999

Directed by: Tim Burton

Sleepy Hollow is a 1999 American fantasy horror adventure film directed by Tim Burton. It is a film adaptation loosely inspired by the 1820 short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington ...more

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10
Becoming Jane is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Anne Hathaway, Maggie Smith, James McAvoy

Released: 2007

Directed by: Julian Jarrold

Becoming Jane is a 2007 British-Irish historical biographical film directed by Julian Jarrold. It depicts the early life of the English author Jane Austen and her perpetual love and regret with ...more

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11
Dangerous Liaisons is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves

Released: 1988

Directed by: Stephen Frears

Dangerous Liaisons is a 1988 historical drama film based upon Christopher Hampton's play Les liaisons dangereuses, which in turn was a theatrical adaptation of the 18th-century French novel Les ...more

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12
Emma is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Toni Collette

Released: 1996

Directed by: Douglas McGrath

Emma is a 1996 period film based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen. Directed by Douglas McGrath, the film stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Alan Cumming, Toni Collette, Ewan McGregor, and Jeremy ...more

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13
Marie Antoinette is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Kirsten Dunst, Tom Hardy, Rose Byrne

Released: 2006

Directed by: Sofia Coppola

Marie Antoinette is a 2006 historical drama film directed by Sofia Coppola. The retelling of Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst), from her marriage to her reign and to her eventual downfall.

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14
Barry Lyndon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Ryan O'Neal, Leonard Rossiter, Hardy Krüger

Released: 1975

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

Barry Lyndon is a 1975 British-American period drama film written, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on the 1844 novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray. It ...more

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15
Casanova is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Sienna Miller, Heath Ledger, Natalie Dormer

Released: 2005

Directed by: Lasse Hallström

Casanova is a 2005 American romantic film directed by Lasse Hallström starring Heath Ledger and loosely based on the life of Giacomo Casanova.

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16
Quills is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Kate Winslet, Michael Caine, Geoffrey Rush

Released: 2000

Directed by: Philip Kaufman

Quills is a 2000 period film directed by Philip Kaufman and adapted from the Obie award-winning play by Doug Wright, who also wrote the original screenplay. Inspired by the life and work of the ...more

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17
Rob Roy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, John Hurt

Released: 1995

Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones

Rob Roy is a 1995 adventure film directed by Michael Caton-Jones. Liam Neeson stars as Rob Roy MacGregor, an 18th-century Scottish clan chief who battles with an unscrupulous nobleman in the ...more

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18
Farewell, My Queen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Diane Kruger, Léa Seydoux, Virginie Ledoyen

Released: 2012

Directed by: Benoît Jacquot

Farewell, My Queen is a 2012 French drama film directed by Benoît Jacquot and based on the novel of the same name by Chantal Thomas, who won the Prix Femina in 2002. It gives a fictional ...more

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19
A Tale of Two Cities is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Dirk Bogarde, Cecil Parker, Ian Bannen

Released: 1958

Directed by: Ralph Thomas

A Tale of Two Cities is a 1958 British period drama based on parts of Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities, directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Dirk Bogarde and Dorothy Tutin.
20
The Affair of the Neckla... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Hayden Panettiere, Christopher Walken, Hilary Swank

Released: 2001

Directed by: Charles Shyer

The Affair of the Necklace is a 2001 American historical drama film directed by Charles Shyer. The screenplay by John Sweet is based on what became known as the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, ...more

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21
Goya in Bordeaux is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Dafne Fernández, Maribel Verdú, Francisco Rabal

Released: 1999

Directed by: Carlos Saura

Goya en Burdeos is a 1999 Spanish historical drama film written and directed by Carlos Saura about the life of Francisco de Goya, the influential 19th Century Spanish painter.
22
The Lady and the Duke is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century
Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Rosette, Marie Rivière

Released: 2001

Directed by: Éric Rohmer

The Lady and the Duke is a 2001 feature film by French director Éric Rohmer. The film was inspired by Ma vie sous la révolution, the colourful memoirs of Grace Elliott, an ...more

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