Watchworthy
1.5k voters

The Best Period Romance Movies

Updated February 21, 2020 11.0k votes 1.5k voters 48.8k views78 items

There's just something swoon-worthy about period pieces. Maybe it's the star-crossed love in these stories that wins over movie-watchers. Or perhaps it's the rules of courtship, keeping the couples – and audiences – on the edge of their seats as the characters patiently woo one another. The best period romantic movies feature memorable figures fighting to stay together despite differences in class and societal norms. This is a list of the top romantic period movies including everything from Pride & Prejudice to The English Patient to Ever After.

What films will you find on this list of the best period romance films? The modern classic Titanic – set against the backdrop of the real-life disaster – finds Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) falling in love despite their very different stations in life. James Cameron's tear-jerking film took home a whopping 11 Academy Awards.

Gone with the Wind may have been set in the Civil War, but its primary plot was focused on love rather than war. The headstrong Scarlett O'Hara and dashing Rhett Butler fought, kissed, and smoldered their way through this timeless epic. Other good films found on this best period romances list include The New World, First Knight and Sense and Sensibility.

Which romance story makes you swoon? Give the best movies a thumbs up and share some of your favorite scenes in the comments section.

Photo:
...more
  • 26
    Jane Eyre
    21
    7

    Jane Eyre

    Anna Paquin, Elle Macpherson

    Released1996

    Directed byFranco Zeffirelli

    Jane Eyre is a 1996 American, British, French and Italian romantic epic and dramatic feature... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 27
    Much Ado About Nothing
    18
    5

    Much Ado About Nothing

    Kate Beckinsale, Denzel Washington

    Released1993

    Directed byKenneth Branagh

    Much Ado About Nothing is a 1993 British/American romantic comedy film based on William... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Much Ado About Nothing 

    #125 of 252 The Funniest '90s Movies#34 of 84 The Best Movies Based on Plays

  • 28
    Portrait of a Lady on Fire
    18
    7

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel

    Released2019

    Directed byCéline Sciamma

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire (a.k.a. Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) is a 2019 French... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Portrait of a Lady on Fire 

    #1 of 20 The Best Gay and Lesbian Movies Streaming on Hulu#18 of 28 Great Mainstream Movies About Lesbians

  • 29
    Bram Stoker's Dracula
    20
    11

    Bram Stoker's Dracula

    Monica Bellucci, Keanu Reeves

    Released1992

    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

    Bram Stoker's Dracula is a 1992 American horror film directed and produced by Francis Ford... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Bram Stoker's Dracula 

    16 Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Making Of ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’The 11 Weirdest Things About Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'

  • 30
    The Last of the Mohicans
    110
    125

    The Last of the Mohicans

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe

    Released1992

    Directed byMichael Mann

    The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 historical epic film set in 1757 and produced by Morgan... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More The Last of the Mohicans 

    #64 of 119 List of Silent Movies#28 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked

  • 31
    Grease
    17
    8

    Grease

    John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John

    Released1978

    Directed byRandal Kleiser

    Grease is a 1978 American musical romantic comedy-drama film directed by Randal Kleiser and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Grease 

    The Best Songs in Grease, Ranked by SingabilityThis Disturbing Fan Theory Will Completely Change How You See 'Grease'

  • 32
    Wuthering Heights
    17
    8

    Wuthering Heights

    Laurence Olivier, David Niven

    Released1939

    Directed byWilliam Wyler

    Wuthering Heights is a 1939 American black-and-white film directed by William Wyler and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 33
    The Age of Innocence
    42
    41

    The Age of Innocence

    Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder

    Released1993

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    The Age of Innocence is a 1993 American film adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1920 novel of the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More The Age of Innocence 

    #241 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry#10 of 13 13 Daniel Day-Lewis Performances That Prove The Mad Genius Of His Notorious Method

  • 34
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
    12
    5

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

    Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh

    Released2000

    Directed byAng Lee

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a 2000 wuxia film. An American-Chinese-Hong Kong-Taiwanese... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 

    #94 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#1046 of 1,647 The Most Rewatchable Movies

  • 35
    Shakespeare in Love
    21
    17

    Shakespeare in Love

    Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Affleck

    Released1998

    Directed byJohn Madden

    Shakespeare in Love is a 1998 British-American romantic comedy-drama film directed by John... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 36
    Becoming Jane
    165
    206

    Becoming Jane

    Anne Hathaway, Maggie Smith

    Released2007

    Directed byJulian Jarrold

    Becoming Jane is a 2007 British-Irish historical biographical film directed by Julian Jarrold.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 37
    The Ballad of Little Jo
    2
    2

    The Ballad of Little Jo

    Heather Graham, Ian McKellen

    Released1993

    Directed byMaggie Greenwald Mansfield

    The Ballad of Little Jo is a 1993 American western film inspired by the true story of a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More The Ballad of Little Jo 

    #11 of 58 The Best '90s Western Movies#34 of 156 The Best R-Rated Western Movies

  • 38
    The Duchess
    149
    187

    The Duchess

    Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes

    Released2008

    Directed bySaul Dibb

    The Duchess is a 2008 British-American drama film directed by Saul Dibb. It is based on Amanda... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More The Duchess 

    #5 of 22 The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century#9 of 23 Great Movies About Real Female Rulers

  • 39
    Moonrise Kingdom
    12
    7

    Moonrise Kingdom

    Bruce Willis, Bill Murray

    Released2012

    Directed byWes Anderson

    Moonrise Kingdom is a 2012 American film directed by Wes Anderson, written by Anderson and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Moonrise Kingdom 

    #336 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#121 of 200 The Best Teen Romance Movies

  • 40
    Bright Star
    43
    48

    Bright Star

    Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw

    Released2009

    Directed byJane Campion

    Bright Star is a 2009 film based on the last three years of the life of poet John Keats and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 41
    Dangerous Liaisons
    14
    10

    Dangerous Liaisons

    Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman

    Released1988

    Directed byStephen Frears

    Dangerous Liaisons is a 1988 historical drama film based upon Christopher Hampton's play Les... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 42
    The Importance of Being Earnest
    10
    4

    The Importance of Being Earnest

    Reese Witherspoon, Judi Dench

    Released2002

    Directed byOliver Parker

    The Importance of Being Earnest is a 2002 British-American romantic comedy-drama film directed... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 43
    A Very Long Engagement
    8
    2

    A Very Long Engagement

    Jodie Foster, Marion Cotillard

    Released2004

    Directed byJean-Pierre Jeunet

    A Very Long Engagement is a 2004 French romantic film, co-written and directed by Jean-Pierre... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More A Very Long Engagement 

    #104 of 106 The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces#150 of 338 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History

  • 44
    Jane Eyre
    11
    7

    Jane Eyre

    Orson Welles, Joan Fontaine

    Released1944

    Directed byRobert Stevenson

    Jane Eyre is an American film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel of the same name,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Jane Eyre 

    #64 of 75 The Greatest Classic Romance Movies#86 of 105 The Best Valentine's Day Movies

  • 45
    The End of the Affair
    8
    4

    The End of the Affair

    Julianne Moore, Ralph Fiennes

    Released1999

    Directed byNeil Jordan

    The End of the Affair is a 1999 drama film directed by Neil Jordan and starring Ralph Fiennes,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 46
    Immortal Beloved
    8
    4

    Immortal Beloved

    Gary Oldman, Isabella Rossellini

    Released1994

    Directed byBernard Rose

    Immortal Beloved is a 1994 film about the life of composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The story... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Immortal Beloved 

    #498 of 836 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#263 of 366 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

  • 47
    Anna Karenina
    127
    168

    Anna Karenina

    Keira Knightley, Jude Law

    Released2012

    Directed byJoe Wright

    Anna Karenina is a 2012 British epic romantic drama film directed by Joe Wright. Adapted by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Anna Karenina 

    #6 of 24 Great Period Movies Set in the 19th Century#15 of 20 The Best Sad Romance Movies On Netflix

  • 48
    The Red Violin
    7
    2

    The Red Violin

    Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Oh

    Released1998

    Directed byFrançois Girard

    The Red Violin is a 1998 Canadian drama film directed by François Girard. It spans four... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 49
    Oklahoma!
    10
    7

    Oklahoma!

    Shirley Jones, Rod Steiger

    Released1955

    Directed byFred Zinnemann

    Oklahoma! is a 1955 musical film based on the 1943 stage musical Oklahoma!, written by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Oklahoma! 

    #168 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#109 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs

  • 50
    The Reader
    10
    7

    The Reader

    Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes

    Released2008

    Directed byStephen Daldry

    The Reader is a 2008 German-American romantic drama film based on the 1995 German novel of the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button