Historical period drama

A historical period drama (also historical drama, period drama, costume drama, and period piece) is a work set in a past time period, usually used in the context of film and television. Historical period drama includes historical fiction and romances, adventure films, and swashbucklers. A period piece may be set in a vague or general era such as the Middle Ages or a specific period such as the Roaring Twenties. A religious work can qualify as period drama but not as historical one.

Historical accuracy

While historical drama is fiction, works may include references to real-life people or events from the relevant time period and/or contain factually accurate representations of the time period. Works may also include mostly-fictionalized narratives based on actual people or events, such as Schindler's List, Braveheart, and Les Misérables.[1]

Works that focus on accurately portraying specific historical events or persons are instead known as docudrama (such as The Report). Where a person's life is central to the story, such a work is known as biographical drama (examples being Cinderella Man and Lincoln).


Film and television examples of period pieces include Marie Antoinette (1938), The Leopard (1963), Barry Lyndon (1975), Amadeus (1984), The Age of Innocence (1993), Last Man Standing (1996), Shakespeare in Love (1998), Bathory (2008), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), The Young Victoria (2009), Darkest Hour (2017), and The Favourite (2018).

Examples of television series include Robin Hood (1953), Middlemarch (1994), Pride and Prejudice (1995), The Tudors, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, Deadwood, Halt and Catch Fire, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Father Brown, Medici, Stranger Things, The Americans, Little House on the Prairie, That '70s Show, The Get Down, Another Period, Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Rome, Velvet and Chernobyl (2019).

See also


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