Please help me choose which period film to watch?

I've been meaning to post this for a while so I could enlist the help of others in choosing which period films to watch in my increasingly long list of those I've yet to see! How about you? Do you keep a list of movies that you're hoping to watch eventually?

I love making lists and this one has got longer than I can keep up with so,
Are there any films that you've seen that you would recommend??
or any that you would say to avoid??

(Just to clarify, I'm not asking for plot outlines or spoilers please, I have already looked at these films to see their basic synopsis or I've seen a trailer which had me interested. I'm asking "Did you love it?" "Did you hate it?" and if you didn't like it, why not? ...but please don't give away plot details.)

List of Films that I'm Curious to See...
* = finally watched film

A Love Divided - Liam Cunningham, Orla Brady
A River Runs Through It - Brad Pitt
A Very Long Engagement - Audrey Tautou
* Abduction Club - Matthew Rhys, Sophia Myles
Bobby Jones - Jim Cavaziel, Claire Forlani, Jeremy Northam, Aidan Quinn
Boys from County Clare - Colm Meaney, Bernard Hill, Andrea Corr
Brush with Fate -Glenn Close about Vermeer painting
Charlotte Gray
Changeling - Angelina Jolie
Clandestine Marriage - Nigel Hawthorne, Joan Collins, Timothy Spall
Cold Mountain
Darling Buds of May
Duchess - Keira Knightley
Easy Virtue
* Fall, The - Justine Waddell, Lee Pace
Feast of July - Embeth Davidtz, Gemma Jones, James Purefoy, Ben Chaplin
Four Feathers - Heath Ledger, Kate Hudson, Wes Bentley
* From Time to Time - Hugh Bonneville
Gathering Storm (& sequel - Into the Storm) - Winston Churchill
Glass Virgin - Cookson, Emily Mortimer, Brendan Coyle
Good - Viggo
Goya's Ghosts - Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem
Greatest Game Ever Played - Stephen Dillane, golf
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
I Capture the Castle - Romola Garai, Rose Byrne, Bill Nighy, Tara Fitzgerald
Illusionist, The - Edward Norton, Rufus Sewell, Jessica Biel
Impressionists - Richard Armitage
Jeeves and Wooster
Jefferson in Paris
Land Girls - Rachel Weisz, Catherine McCormack, Anna Friel
Land Girls - BBC series with Nathaniel Parker
Last September - Keeley Hawes, David Tennant, Michael Gambon
La Vie en Rose
Legend of Baggar Vance
Lemony Snicket
Les Miserables (Gerard Depardieu miniseries)
Lion in Winter
Mary Bryant – Romola Garai, Sam Neill
My Brilliant Career
Nanny Mcphee
New World - Colin Farrell
One Night with the King - Tiffany Dupont, Luke Goss
Partition - Kristin Kreuk, Neve Campbell
Princess Caraboo
Railway Children
Ruby in the Smoke - Billie Piper and J.J. Feild
Scarlett Pimpernel - Anthony Andrews /Richard E. Grant / Leslie Howard?
Sea Biscuit
Secret of Moonacre
* Seraphine
Seven Years in Tibet
Shadow in the North - Billie Piper and J.J. Feild
Story of David, The - Timothy Bottoms, Jane Seymour
St. Ives - Anna Friel and Jean-Marc Barr
Swept from the Sea - Rachel Weisz, Vincent Perez, Ian McKellen, Kathy Bates
* The Claim - a Western based on Mayor of Casterbridge with Sarah Polley, Nastassja Kinski
The Mayor Of Casterbridge - Ciarán Hinds and Juliet Aubrey
To the Ends of the Earth - Sam Neill, Benedict Cumberbatch, JJ Feild
* Tristan & Isolde
War Bride - Anna Friel, Molly Parker, Brenda Fricker
Where Angels Fear To Tread - Rupert Graves, Helena Bonham Carter

*****Lark Rise to Candleford (I'm ashamed that this one is still on my TBW list and NOT already on my Faves list where I know it will end up! This one has been on my agenda to watch for a long time after hearing nothing but good about it from so many. I think the fact that it's a series has prevented me from taking the time to whereas it while I can fit in a 2 hour movie more easily.)

Wow! I'm getting so many responses already, it's great! Thank you!
I just realized again one of the downfalls of the comments on Blogger and that is that I can't specifiy to which comment I'm replying to specifically as I can do in livejournal.

I didn't realize that there were that many adaptations of The Scarlett Pimpernel when I initially listed it so I then took it to a poll to ask for favourite version...Thanks to all who voted! Here are the results:
Anthony Andrews 52% (42 votes)
Richard E. Grant 28% (23 votes)
Leslie Howard 20% (16 votes)


  1. I loved La Vie En Rose! Marion Cotillard was fabulous.

    And as for The Scarlet Pimpernel, if you mean the 1982 Anthony Andrews version, then you need to watch it like... yesterday! It's one of my all-time favorite period dramas.

  2. I loved Cold Mountain and Seraphine for the quirkiness. The Fall is absolutely gorgeous!

  3. Definitely "The Mayor of Casterbridge" - best one on the list!

  4. Abduction Club - :)

    Cazalets - you're having trouble deciding on this one? 1 word... veggieburger!

    Changeling - good but unDisney

    Cold Mountain - loved this even though I'm not a Jude fan

    Fall, The - 2 big thumbs up, 5 stars!

    I Capture the Castle - captured my heart

    Inkheart - fun film if you think you can handle scary Serkis!

    Mary Bryant – worth watching just for Alex O' Loughlin

    New World - slow moving but a beautiful film

    Tristan & Isolde - just got my copy back and plan to watch it again soon!

  5. A Very Long Engagement is also on my to-see movies list- I love Audrey Tautou. The Fall is amazing, but I am biased because Lee Pace is my favorite. I recently saw I Capture the Castle because Romola Garai is in it- it struck me as very visually captivating with lots of beautiful scenery and colors. And I would always recommend the Jeeves and Woosters and the Scarlet Pimpernels!

  6. :) Rapidly, a quick classification

    really good:
    A River Runs Through It
    A Very Long Engagement
    Charlotte Gray
    Cold Mountain
    Goya's Ghosts
    Jefferson in Paris
    Legend of Baggar Vance
    Les Miserables
    New World
    Seven Years in Tibet
    Swept from the Sea
    Tristan & Isolde
    Where Angels Fear To Tread

    the Illusionist
    Land Girls
    La Vie en Rose
    Mary Bryant

    Abduction Club
    Brush with Fate
    Feast of July
    Nanny Mcphee
    Sea Biscuit
    Secret of Moonacre.


  7. I enjoyed Mrs. Palfrey at the Clairmont (also the book)

    Princess Caraboo

    The Railway Children

    The Scarlet Pimpernel (book is a classic)

    Seabiscuit (also an excellent book)

    Thanks for posting your list. So many movies, so little time...sigh

  8. Sally Hemmings is one of my total favs! If you haven't seen it check it out!

  9. I love A Very Long Engagement, Changeling, The Illusionist, and La Vie en Rose. Great list!

  10. Inkheart wasn't bad. Followed the book pretty well until the end. But I enjoyed it.

    Nanny McPhee is charming--completely worth it!

    Princess Caraboo was odd yet all right. It was the ending I loved, but I'm fine never seeing it again.

    I think I heard Railway Children is based on a book, so I must read the book first! (The librarian in me I suppose.)

    Scarlet Pimpernel--the 3 part version? I thought it was well-done and close to the book, too.

    Secert of Moonacre--been waiting over a year for this one. Even read the book in preparation. But Netflix never got. I stumbled upon it 2 weeks ago on YouTube and LOVED it. Not quite the book, but I love Ioan.

    Seabiscuit--I have a weakness for based on true story films. This one has more content than I am comfortable with, but I did enjoy much of the film.

    Mayor of Casterbridge--watched without reading book. Interesting yet sad and heart-breaking. Typical Thomas Hardy. In this case I'm glad I didn't read the book.

    One Night with the King--one of my very favorites. I shouldn't watch it as much as I do!

    Happy watching!

    P.S. Just finished all 3 seasons of "Lark Rise" and I loved them!! Another happy gain from reading your blog.

  11. You have some great films on your list!

    I highly recommend:
    Abduction Club (very cute film)
    The Illusionist (amazing story)
    Impressionists (w/ Richard Armitage? that's a good one)
    Inkheart (fabulous fun story!)
    Jeeves and Wooster (a family favorite, Fry and Laurie are hysterical!)
    One Night with the King (very well done story of Esther, I love this movie!)
    The Mayor Of Casterbridge (Ciarán Hinds is wonderful in this but watch with a box of Kleenex!)
    Ruby in the Smoke (was pretty good, haven't seen Shadow In The North)
    Scarlett Pimpernel (which one? I love the old one with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour!)
    Tristan & Isolde (a bit melodramatic at times but alright)

    I would definitely avoid:

    Glass Virgin (although I love Brendan Coyle and he plays a great character even he is not enough to offset the horrid story! I've watched a few other Catherine Cookson adaptations and would definitely warn against the morbid and/or risque themes!)

    I Capture the Castle - watched a good majority of this and totally didn't get the story and the subject matter wasn't the best.

    Mary Bryant – avoid like the plauge! I started watching this and as soon as the men of the island started a full out rape scene I couldn't turn the film off fast enough. Why anyone would want to include such a scene in a film is beyond me. Ramola Garai's character is awful, I disliked her from the start of the film. Just horrible!

    Recently I watched:
    The Madness of King George (Nigel Hawthorne is amazing, some off color humor though)
    Agatha Christie's Partners In Crime (based on the Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries, Francesca Annis is sparkling!)
    The Love Letter (a very sweet story)
    Lark Rise to Candleford (love this series now!)
    Ivanhoe 1982 (a tale of chivalry and bravery)
    Vanity Fair 2004 (which was on my list, it was interesting but the non period ladies hairstyles, bright costume colors/patterns and lack of likable characters didn't keep my interest very well)

  12. Oh! Watch Easy Virtue. It's brilliant. In my opinion, at least.
    -Andi x

  13. i love The Secret Garden
    an old one and a newer version!!
    both lovely!!

  14. I loved Charlotte Gray. Inkheart the book is better than Inkheart the movie, but it is still pretty good.

  15. Absolutely Awesome Ones:
    La Vie En Rose

    Ones you should definitly see:
    I Capture the Castle
    The Illustionist

    Ones with conditions:
    Jeeves and Wooster - kinda interesting, but I would only watch one season
    Lemony Snicket - pretty good on its own, but if you've read the book then its disappointing

    RUN from these:
    The Duchess - the whole thing is about sex
    The Fall - I saw the trailers and thought that this would be awesome, but the cinematography cannot make up for the vapid and random plot.

  16. I am French, so I can't don't recommend French films to you ! Molière is the most famous French writer, for us he's like Shakespeare. The film is very good and Romain Duris is cute.
    Les Misérables is one of the best French novel in 19th century. The miniseries with Depardieu is a very good adaptation and I like John Malkovich's acting. You can also watch the film by Robert Hossein, with Lino Ventura in 1982.

  17. So hard to choose, it's a great list... These are some of my favorites:

    I Capture the Castle (it's a very faithful adaptation and a great coming of age story)

    Nanny McPhee - a fun, clever, heartwarming romp

    St. Ives - this one surprised me

    Glass Virgin - I really like Brendan Coyle in this one

    Secret of Moonacre - fun and great costumes

    but you must watch Lark Rise! :)

  18. The Lion In Winter is one of my favourites ever. If you're looking for a pretty costume drama, it's kind of lackluster, but it one of the best (if not the best) screenplay ever written, not to mention it has an outstanding cast - watch the original and not the remake.

  19. I saw watch
    Lion in Winter
    Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont
    Nanny Mcphee
    Scarlet Pimpernel with Anthony Andrews

    Each one is wonderful in it's own way.

  20. Being French, I do recommend La vie en rose, especially if you like Edith Piaf's songs... and also A very long engagement with Audrey Tautou.
    Seabiscuit is very good as well!

  21. I have a lot on this list to watch as well, but of the ones I have seen, I recommend...

    The Illusionist-- GORGEOUSLY shot and a GREAT mystery.

    Tristan and Isolde

    Charlotte Gray

    These three films are WONDERFUL. Enjoy whatever films you do watch next!

  22. I have to echo everyone's endorsement of "La Vie En Rose"! It was definitely one of the most worthwhile movies I have seen in a long while. But I have always been curious about Edith Piaf, I love biopics and music and I don't mind subtitles.
    Cold Mountain was good, the soundtrack is even better!
    I really enjoyed "The Duchess", Kiera Knightly did a fabulous job, and if (as one commenter said) it's about sex -- that would be a plus for me! LOL It's another biopic which lead me to read more about the real life person behind the role. Very interesting indeed!
    I am not a Brad Pitt fan, but Seven Years in Tibet was well done, even just for cinematography alone, but I liked it for more than that.
    I also really enjoyed "The Aviator", although it is quite long. (Another biopic) I have always been fascinated with Howard Hughes. Kate Blanchett does a fabulous Katherine Hepburn!
    Speaking of Katherine Hepburn --"A Lion in Winter" is really a must-see!! Put it on the top of the list. No one else can ever be Eleanor of Aquitaine except her in my eyes!
    There are a lot of films on your list I haven't seen yet either -- I would love to see "The Mayor of Castorbridge". I do love Ciaran Hinds!

  23. The Anthony Andrews version of The Scarlet Pimpernel is THE BEST version, IMO. One of my very favorites. Anthony Andrews IS Sir Percy Blakeney, and Jane Seymour is such a lovely Marguerite. The chemistry between them is incredible. Almost as great at she and Christopher Reeve in Somewhere in Time.

    The Greatest Game Ever Played is a great family film. I really enjoyed it.

    Jeeves and Wooster is my favorite TV series! Hugh Laurie at his very, very, very very best. Highly, highly, highly recommend it.

    A lot of these are on my "to-see" list, as well. ;-)

  24. WOW!

    All I can say is thanks so far for all the great recommendations! I'll have you know I just started a spreadsheet to tally up the votes for each movie from here on Blogger and from livejournal! I know that I'll come back and reread your comments before I make a decision come next movie night!

    I'm so pleased to have more of an idea of which films not to miss! Thanks!

  25. If you're interested in a miniseries, I highly recommend the BBC's Martin Chuzzlewit (1994). Our whole family loves this one! It's an excellent adaptation and the whole cast is great.

  26. Elisabeth, I will keep that one in mind if only to see Tom Wilkinson (an actor who I enjoy) as Pecksniff! Where on earth did Dickens think up these names? :)

  27. Oh yes--Martin Chuzzlewit is fantastic!

  28. I highly recommend The Duchess, Easy Virtue, The Gathering Storm (the sequel's okay, the first one's much better IMO), The Illusionist...all of them are terrific!

  29. Recommend The Fall whole heartedly. It really is a fantastic and beautiful film, one of my favourites.

  30. I’ve seen quite a few of these – would definitely recommend both the Anthony Andrews and the Richard E Grant versions of The Scarlet Pimpernel as sheer swashbuckling heaven.

    I also really enjoyed My Brilliant Career, Charlotte Gray, The Impressionists, Where Angels Fear to Tread, I Capture the Castle, The Duchess, Seabiscuit and The Mayor of Casterbridge.

    Cold Mountain, A Very Long Engagement, The Aviator and New World are all brilliant feature films – they are all quite demanding and harrowing at times though.

    I was a bit disappointed with the BBC Land Girls which is rather soapy – however it did have some good actors and a great part for Nat Parker. The Anna Friel Land Girls movie is better and looks beautiful, but I found some of it a bit far-fetched.

    Jeeves and Wooster is great fun and a must for fans of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie!

  31. PS The Scarlet Pimpernel poll would only let me tick one version, so I went for Richard E Grant, but I love the Anthony Andrews version too! I haven't seen the Leslie Howard one for years but would probably like that as well.

  32. The Duchess and The Fall are my favorites from that list. Also, if you haven't seen them, Big Fish and Untold Scandal.

    Untold Scandal is the Korean version of my all-time favorite movie: Dangerous Liaisons.

    I did a review of it on my blog and it isn't that great because it was one of my very first reviews, but it will give you a glimpse at some of what it is about.

  33. Thanks for all your suggestions everyone! Greatly appreciated!

  34. I love "I Capture the Castle" for purely shallow reasons: because of the overabundance of male beauty. :)

    I also like the miniseries "Mary Bryant", also starring Romola Garai. Very powerful stuff.

  35. I hope I am not too late to comment.

    You have a wonderful and informative blog.

    I strongly recommend:

    Jeeves & Wooster
    Railway Children (the 1970 version)

    The following are good:

    A Very Long Engagement
    Goya's Ghosts
    The Illusioninst
    La Vie en Rose
    Ruby in the Smoke (and its sequel The Shadow in the North)
    Scarlett Pimpernel
    Lark Rise to Candleford

  36. @Sugarnatural @Buffy, thanks for your recommendations! I still haven't got very far in catching up on some of these dramas but love to hear from others which ones are worthwhile!
    Buffy, glad you like the blog! :)

  37. I'm far too late to be commenting, but I just wanted to say you MUST MUST MUST watch Lark Rise, it's such a beautiful series. I have only watched the first one, but have the next week off work and am devoting it to series 2!

    Other films from your list I would recommend:

    Duchess - Keira Knightley
    Easy Virtue
    Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
    I Capture the Castle
    Les Miserables
    Ruby in the Smoke
    Scarlett Pimpernel - Anthony Andrews
    Shadow in the North
    Tristan & Isolde

    All great in their own right.

    I love your blog, by the way, it's given me so many ideas of what to buy next from Amazon!

  38. Anon,
    you're not too late to give your recommendations since I still haven't crossed many of these off my TBW list! I thought I would have seen more by now!
    Glad that you found ideas for Amazon!



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