Finally, at long last here is the second part to my compilation of my top 20 favorite period films:

10. Foyle’s War (2002-present): A WWII mystery/drama TV series that I have enjoyed since high school….there are 6 seasons so far and it still keeps me hooked. It features an awesome set of characters and those classically bizarre British mysteries. Also, the clothes….1940s at its best.

Update: I was kindly informed by a third party that Foyle’s War is not a BBC production but actually an ITV production! Whoops! Thanks for correcting my absurdly naive and American mistake! I have edited the entry!

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9. Young Victoria (2009): A total romance and so very heartbreaking. I didn’t think I would like it at all, I’ve never really been all that interested in Queen Victoria all that much, but WOW. The costumes, the drama, the chemistry, the romance, the royal political intrigue all make this film a fantastic one.

It’s this:

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Not This:

Comic Courtesy of Kate Beaton.

8. Cold Mountain (2003): Another Southern epic. And although none of the main actors are from the Deep South, they all did an excellent job of capturing Southern culture during the mid 19th century. Rather than delving into the moral and political reasons for the Civil War, this film focuses on the everyday people involved and plus the music gives me goosebumps.

Listen/buy the soundtrack here.

7. Chocolat (2000): A modern fairy tale set in 1950s France. Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche, Alfred Molina, Judi Dench and chocolate. What more could you want? It’s irreverent, whimsical funny, heart-wrenching, and magical. Also Binoche’s character, the main character, is named Vianne, so I am a bit biased.

Trailer (not very good quality):

6. Sense & Sensibility (2008 & 1995): I adore Sense & Sensibility. I don’t care if it is the least creative and most conventional of Austen’s novels, I love Eleanor and Marianne. That being said, rarely do I like a feature-length film almost as much as a BBC miniseries, but both have different feels to them, while preserving Austen’s story, that one can’t help but appreciate both. Plus Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman do such a fabulous job in the 1995 version.

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5. Downton Abbey (2010-present): It’s 1913-14 and the Victorian and Edwardian eras of Great Britain are closing as the Great War looms and society is changing at a rapid pace. Dowton Abbey is a holdover of great estates of landed aristocracy/gentility and the family is coping with these tenuous circumstances just as the rest of England is at this time. The rise of the US as an economic and world power is noted, as is the beginnings of the progressive era, especially regarding women. How will the entailment of Downton Abbey work in this new era? All I can say is fantastic, fantastic, fantastic!!!!

View the Pbs masterpiece page here–trailers, interviews, and pictures!

4. The Fall (2006):  Set in LA in the 1920s, this movie is an extravaganza of all that was good during that era. The rise of films and cinema, Great Gatsby-esque romance, exoticism and a sweeping adventure fairy tale filmed over a period of four years and in 20 countries. It’s a visual masterpiece. I could watch it on mute and be just as blown away. It will blow your mind.

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3. North & South (2004): If you like Pride and Prejudice, then you’ll like North and South. It’s almost like P & P of the Victorian Age without the comedy of manners. It’s a straight up romance, but unlike P & P, it takes a deep look at class conflicts, the transformation of English society in the Industrial Age, and gender relationships in a direct way. Although perhaps less sophisticated in the literary sense than P & P, it is a great story and this particular adaptation was the clincher for Richard Armitage fans. He’s a pretty awesome (and smokin’) Mr. Thorton.

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In fact, many people said that his portrayal was akin to Colin Firth’s in the following adaptation:

2. Pride & Prejudice (1995): The gold standard of period, especially Austen, adaptations and for good reason. Colin Firth is forever Mr. Darcy and Alison Steadman is forever the best Mrs. Bennet…whenever I reread P & P, I am not ashamed nor guilty for admitting that they along with many of the other actors have become my mental representations of these characters. It is a mostly faithful scene by scene adaptation and although it might seem unremarkable in that sense, I think it holds truest to Austen’s story, her message and observations of Regency England. (hint: do not get me started in a rant on the 2007 P & P)

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1. Persuasion (2007): The 1995 P & P has been my number one favorite period piece FOREVER, but when I think and think and think….I love the story of Persuasion just as much and possibly a bit more than Pride and Prejudice. I think this is a result of getting older and wanting a more developed romance plot out of my Austen, when I read for a love story that is. When I want to laugh and be baffled over Regency society–P & P or Emma  are the ones to go for. Having stated that disclaimer, the 2007 adaptation of Persuasion is heart-wrenching beautiful. The music, the muted color schemes, as well as the sections of inner dialogue/journaling of the main character (Anne Elliot) make it a much more personal story than the original novel, which I like. The casting of Anne’s family is PERFECT–Anthony Head as Sir Elliot nearly had me dying with laughter and derision, not to mention Anne’s sisters. All in all, I can watch Anne and Captain Wentworth try and navigate their relationship over and over and never get sick of it.

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PS- If you like Austen or period pieces, you should check out the project I did for my Austen Adaptations class this summer. It’s a blog version of Persuasion and I highly and strongly (aka BEG) you to read it and comment on the entries–in character if you like (aka PLEASE PLEASE) just note which character you are commenting in!

So, long overdue and severely anticlimactic, this concludes my top 20 favorite period films.

Please accept this picture of an adorable sand cat as part of my apology:

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