The 20 Best Period Pieces

1
The Duchess
Keira Knightley is all sorts of 18th Century flawless in this film about Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. She combats Ralph Fiennes' jerk of a husband with fierce fashion.
2
Pride & Prejudice
Jane Austen, Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, JUDI DENCH, and that soundtrack! There is no end to this movie's perfection.
3
Sense and Sensibility
The incomparable Emma Thompson wrote and starred in this Austen adaptation, and that should be convincing enough of a reason to watch its greatness.
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4
Shakespeare in Love
The imaginary love affair that inspired Romeo & Juliet, this movie won 7 Academy Awards. It's better than you'll want to admit.
5
Anna Karenina
Knightley's third collaboration with director Joe Wright, this stylistic Tolstoy adaptation takes some getting used to, but is worth the watch.
6
The Young Victoria
Emily Blunt perfectly portrays the early years of Queen Victoria, fighting controlling comptrollers and her mother, as well as her love affair with Prince Albert.
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7
Dangerous Liaisons
The story that inspired Cruel Intentions, this movie has an all-star cast, even better costumes, and is oh so scandalous.
8
Girl With a Pearl Earring
Scarlett Johansson plays a peasant and assistant for artist Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth), becoming the model for one of his most famous paintings. A must watch.
9
The Other Boleyn Girl
Though not accurate, this romanticized view of King Henry VIII's relationships with the Boleyn sisters - Mary and Ann - as they contend for his love. Johansson, Portman, Bana = perfection.
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10
The Crucible
You probably had to watch this one in high school, but that doesn't diminish how great this Salem witch hysteria movie is.
11
Elizabeth
The film that brought Cate Blanchett to international attention (thank goodness!) and was nominated for TONS of awards, this one's not to be missed.
12
A Room With A View
Restricted and repressed Helena Bonham Carter falls for a free-spirited young man in this E.M. Forster adaptation.
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13
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Francis Ford Coppola directs Bram Stoker's classic gothic novel, with Winona Ryder and Gary Oldman starring, and Annie Lennox's original song. There's so much good in this horror movie, it's hard to even begin.
14
Quills
The story (however inaccurate) of controversial writer Marquis de Sade's time in an insane asylum, where he resorts to writing in wine and in blood. Creepy, but oh so good.
15
Troy
Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom as Trojan soldiers. If that doesn't convince you to watch this movie, it's not for you.
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16
A Knight's Tale
The medieval comedy about a peasant pretending to be a knight in order to competitively joust is great, especially for its soundtrack's inclusion of Queen and AC/DC.
17
Marie Antoinette
Probably the prettiest Sofia Coppola movie to date, this fun (historically inaccurate) biopic features music from the Strokes and Aphex Twin.
18
Vanity Fair
Reese Witherspoon and Jonathan Rhys Meyers star in this adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's novel about a poor woman ascending the social ladder in 19th century London.
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19
Hamlet
Our favorite Shakespeare adaptation, bar none. This 4 hour flick is perfect in every way. It's beautiful, and it's killer cast included Kate Winslet, Robin Williams, Judi Dench, and even Billy Crystal.
20
Jane Eyre
As a general rule, Mia Masikowska just can't make a bad film. Throw in some Fassbender and some Dench, mix it with a little Brontë, and the result is this incredible movie.

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