The Best Costume Drama Movies 

Updated February 21, 2020 2.8k votes 213 voters 22.4k views 159 items

List Rules Vote for your personal favorite Costume drama films, regardless of how popular or successful they were at the box office.

A list of the best costume drama movies ever made, ranked by film fans' votes -- many of which are streaming on Netflix or Amazon Prime. This list is ordered by popularity, so only the greatest movies about costume drama are at the top of the list. This list contains all the top costume dramas, like Joan of Arc or Madame Bovary, but if there are any great films you think we missed, please feel free to add them yourself. 

The films on this list are the most famous costume drama movies of all time, so use it to find some movies that you haven't seen already if you're a fan of the genre.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best costume drama movies?" and "What is the greatest costume drama movie of all time?" and contains items like Cleopatra, The Bastard.

Various bits of information are included with these popular costume movies, such as who directed them, when they were released and who starred in the films. So from the latest, to the greatest costume drama movies, here is the full costume drama movies list, ordered from best to worst.

Costume drama movies have been directed by some pretty famous names, including Kevin Costner and Orson Welles.

list ordered by
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Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland

Released: 1939

Directed by: Sam Wood, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel. It was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International ...more

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PietraChandlerRadcliff added Tyrone Power, Norma Shearer, John Barrymore

Released: 1938

Directed by: W. S. Van Dyke, Julien Duvivier

Marie Antoinette is a 1938 film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed by W. S. Van Dyke and starred Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette. Based upon the 1932 biography of the ill-fated ...more
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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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#188 of 217 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #431 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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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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#534 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #114 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Cate Blanchett, Daniel Craig, Lily Allen

Released: 1998

Directed by: Shekhar Kapur

Elizabeth is a 1998 biographical film written by Michael Hirst, directed by Shekhar Kapur, and starring Cate Blanchett in the title role of Queen Elizabeth I of England, alongside Geoffrey Rush, ...more

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Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Jeremy Brett

Released: 1964

Directed by: George Cukor

My Fair Lady is a 1964 American musical film adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe stage musical of the same name based on the 1938 film adaptation of the original 1913 stage play Pygmalion by ...more

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PietraChandlerRadcliff added Gene Tierney, Tyrone Power, George Sanders

Released: 1942

Directed by: John Cromwell

Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake is a 1942 adventure film directed by John Cromwell, starring Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney. The film was adapted from Edison Marshall's 1941 historical ...more
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PietraChandlerRadcliff added Tyrone Power, Basil Rathbone, Linda Darnell

Released: 1940

Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian

The Mark of Zorro is a 1940 American adventure film directed by Rouben Mamoulian and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck for 20th Century Fox. The action movie stars Tyrone Power as Don Diego Vega, ...more
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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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Laurence Olivier, Greer Garson, Maureen O'Sullivan

Released: 1940

Directed by: Robert Z. Leonard

Pride and Prejudice is a 1940 American film adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice, directed by Robert Z. Leonard and starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier. The screenplay ...more

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The Ten Commandments is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Costume Drama Movies
Charlton Heston, Vincent Price, Yul Brynner

Released: 1956

Directed by: Cecil B. DeMille

The Ten Commandments is a 1956 American religious epic film produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille, shot in VistaVision, and released by Paramount Pictures. It dramatizes the biblical story ...more

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Kingdom of Heaven is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Costume Drama Movies
Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Edward Norton

Released: 2005

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Kingdom of Heaven is a 2005 epic historical drama directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by William Monahan. It stars Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan ...more

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Little Women Saoirse Ronan, Laura Dern, Emma Watson

Released: 2019

Directed by: Greta Gerwig

Little Women is a 2019 drama film directed by Greta Gerwig, based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott. Four sisters, Beth (Eliza Scanlen), Meg (Emma Watson), Jo (Saoirse Ronan), and Amy (Florence ...more

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Anya Taylor-Joy, Josh O'Connor, Johnny Flynn

Released: 2020

Directed by: Autumn de Wilde

EMMA is an upcoming British comedy-drama film directed by Autumn de Wilde and based on the novel of same name by Jane Austen. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing ...more

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#295 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #68 of 99 The Greatest Movie Remakes of All Time #12 of 42 The Coolest Movie Posters For 2020 Films

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PietraChandlerRadcliff added Cesar Romero, Tyrone Power, Lee J. Cobb

Released: 1947

Directed by: Henry King

Captain from Castile is a historical adventure film released by 20th Century Fox in 1947. Directed by Henry King, the Technicolor film starred Tyrone Power, Jean Peters, and Cesar Romero. Shot ...more
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PietraChandlerRadcliff added The Mississippi Gambler Anita Ekberg, Tyrone Power

Released: 1953

Directed by: Rudolph Maté

The Mississippi Gambler is a 1953 American adventure film directed by Rudolph Maté. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Sound Recording.
Gladiator is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Costume Drama Movies
Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Sheen

Released: 2000

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Gladiator is a 2000 American-British epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, ...more

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Lucy Hall added Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Hugh Griffith

Released: 1959

Directed by: William Wyler

Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic historical drama film, directed by William Wyler, produced by Sam Zimbalist for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Hugh ...more

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#41 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #431 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes

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PietraChandlerRadcliff added Myrna Loy, Tyrone Power, Joseph Schildkraut

Released: 1939

Directed by: Clarence Brown

The Rains Came is a 1939 20th Century Fox film based on an American novel by Louis Bromfield. A remake of the film was released in 1955 under the name The Rains of Ranchipur. The film was ...more

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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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#61 of 78 The Best Period Romance Movies #7 of 23 Great Movies About Real Female Rulerslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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PietraChandlerRadcliff added Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, Annabella

Released: 1938

Directed by: Allan Dwan

Suez is an American film released on October 28, 1938 by 20th Century Fox, with Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production, directed by Allan Dwan and starring Tyrone Power, Loretta Young and ...more
The Current War is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Costume Drama Movies
Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult

Directed by: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

The Current War is a 2017 American biographical historical film (2019 US theatrical release) directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. The dramatic story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans ...more
Harriet is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Costume Drama Movies
Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn

Released: 2019

Directed by: Kasi Lemmons

Harriet is a 2019 American biographical film directed by Kasi Lemmons, based on the life of abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Erivo) escapes slavery and leads hundreds of ...more
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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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Lloyds of London is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Costume Drama Movies
Blanche2 added Lloyds of London Tyrone Power, Madeline Carroll, C

Released: 1936

Directed by: Henry King