Romance

The Best Period Romance Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated February 21, 2020 8k votes 1.2k voters 38.1k views 78 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.

list ordered by
1
Pride & Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
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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2
Persuasion is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Monserrat Biebeer added Ciarán Hinds, Fiona Shaw, Simon Russell Beale

Released: 1995

Directed by: Roger Michell

Persuasion is a 1995 period drama film directed by Roger Michell and based on Jane Austen's 1817 novel of the same name. In her theatrical film debut, the British actress Amanda Root stars as ...more

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3
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Monserrat Biebeer added Kirsten Dunst, Christian Bale, Claire Danes

Released: 1994

Directed by: Gillian Armstrong

Little Women is a 1994 American drama film directed by Gillian Armstrong. The screenplay by Robin Swicord is based on the Louisa May Alcott novel of the same name. It is the fifth feature film ...more

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4
The Remains of the Day ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Lena Headey, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson

Released: 1993

Directed by: James Ivory

The Remains of the Day is a 1993 Merchant Ivory film adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. It was directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant, Mike ...more
5
Crouching Tiger, Hidden ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-Fat

Released: 2000

Directed by: Ang Lee

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a 2000 wuxia film. An American-Chinese-Hong Kong-Taiwanese co-production, the film was directed by Ang Lee and featured an international cast of Han actors, ...more

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6
The Red Violin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Oh, Greta Scacchi

Released: 1998

Directed by: François Girard

The Red Violin is a 1998 Canadian drama film directed by François Girard. It spans four centuries and five countries as it tells the story of a mysterious violin and its many owners. The ...more

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7
That Hamilton Woman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Sara Allgood

Released: 1941

Directed by: Alexander Korda

That Hamilton Woman, is a 1941 black-and-white historical film drama, produced and directed by Alexander Korda for his American company during his exile in the United States. Set during the ...more

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8
Jane Eyre is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Orson Welles, Joan Fontaine, Margaret O'Brien

Released: 1944

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

Jane Eyre is an American film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel of the same name, released by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by William Goetz, ...more
9
Emma is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
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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10
Cold Comfort Farm is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Kate Beckinsale, Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry

Released: 1995

Directed by: John Schlesinger

Cold Comfort Farm is a 1995 British comedy film directed by John Schlesinger and produced by the BBC and Thames Television, an adaptation of Stella Gibbons' 1932 book of the same name, the film ...more
11
Tess is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth, Lesley Dunlop

Released: 1979

Directed by: Roman Polanski

Tess is a 1979 romance film directed by Roman Polanski, an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's 1891 novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles. It tells the story of a strong-willed, young peasant girl who finds ...more

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12
A Very Long Engagement ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Jodie Foster, Marion Cotillard, Audrey Tautou

Released: 2004

Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

A Very Long Engagement is a 2004 French romantic film, co-written and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Audrey Tautou. It is a fictional tale about a young woman's desperate search for ...more

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13
Snow Falling on Cedars ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Ethan Hawke, Max von Sydow, James Cromwell

Released: 1999

Directed by: Scott Hicks

Snow Falling on Cedars is a film directed by Scott Hicks. It is based on David Guterson's award-winning novel of the same title. It was released in 1999 and was nominated for an Academy Award ...more

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14
Orlando is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, Toby Jones

Released: 1992

Directed by: Sally Potter

Orlando is a 1992 drama romance film written by Sally Potter and Virginia Woolf and directed by Sally Potter.

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15
Immortal Beloved is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Gary Oldman, Isabella Rossellini, Valeria Golino

Released: 1994

Directed by: Bernard Rose

Immortal Beloved is a 1994 film about the life of composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The story follows Beethoven's secretary and first biographer Anton Schindler as he attempts to ascertain the true ...more

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16
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Alec Guinness, Jean Simmons, John Mills

Released: 1946

Directed by: David Lean

Great Expectations is a 1946 British film directed by David Lean, based on the novel by Charles Dickens and starring John Mills, Bernard Miles, Finlay Currie, Jean Simmons, Martita Hunt, Alec ...more

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17
Anna Karenina is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson, Sally Ann Howes

Released: 1948

Directed by: Julien Duvivier

Anna Karenina [p] is a 1948 British film based on the 19th-century novel, Anna Karenina, by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. The film was directed by Julien Duvivier, and starred Vivien Leigh in ...more
18
The Reader is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Lena Olin

Released: 2008

Directed by: Stephen Daldry

The Reader is a 2008 German-American romantic drama film based on the 1995 German novel of the same name by Bernhard Schlink. The film was written by David Hare and directed by Stephen Daldry. ...more

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19
Stage Beauty is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Claire Danes, Alice Eve, Billy Crudup

Released: 2004

Directed by: Richard Eyre

Stage Beauty is a 2004 British-American-German romantic period drama directed by Richard Eyre. The screenplay by Jeffrey Hatcher is based on his play Compleat Female Stage Beauty, which was ...more
20
Much Ado About Nothing ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Kate Beckinsale, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves

Released: 1993

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

Much Ado About Nothing is a 1993 British/American romantic comedy film based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name. It was adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh who ...more
21
Shadowlands is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger, James Frain

Released: 1993

Directed by: Richard Attenborough

Shadowlands is a 1993 British biographical film about the love-relationship between Oxford academic C. S. Lewis and American poet Joy Davidman, her death from cancer, and how this challenged ...more

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22
The Horseman on the Roof... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Juliette Binoche, Gérard Depardieu, Olivier Martinez

Released: 1995

Directed by: Jean-Paul Rappeneau

The Horseman on the Roof is a 1995 French film directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau and starring Juliette Binoche and Olivier Martinez. Based on the 1951 French novel Le hussard sur le toit by Jean ...more
23
The Ballad of Little Jo ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Heather Graham, Ian McKellen, Melissa Leo

Released: 1993

Directed by: Maggie Greenwald Mansfield

The Ballad of Little Jo is a 1993 American western film inspired by the true story of a society woman who tries to escape the stigma of bearing a child out of wedlock by going out to the West, ...more

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24
Mrs Brown is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Gerard Butler, Judi Dench, Billy Connolly

Released: 1997

Directed by: John Madden

Mrs Brown, also theatrically released as Her Majesty, Mrs Brown, is a 1997 British drama film starring Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Geoffrey Palmer, Antony Sher and Gerard Butler. It was written ...more

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25
Their Eyes Were Watching... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Period Romance Movies
Siersha 2 added Halle Berry, Terrence Howard, Michael Ealy

Released: 2005

Directed by: Darnell Martin

Their Eyes Were Watching God is an American Broadcasting Company television movie aired on March 6, 2005 at 9 p.m. EDT based upon Zora Neale Hurston's 1937 novel of the same name. The film was ...more

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