Period Movies on Netflix – There’s nothing Hollywood can do like create worlds. Novel fantasy worlds, but also things long gone. And this is where the historical film comes into play:
It takes us on a journey into long-forgotten epochs, revives them in old and new splendor, and shows that somehow, at some point, history just keeps repeating itself.
In historical films, there is always a spark of retrospective reflection: everything was better back then, in the good old days. At least when it comes to fashion.
Speaking of fashion, accurate historical costumes, as well as historically authentic backdrops and dialogues that are reminiscent of the respective epoch, are the most important pillars that support a historical film.
In addition, the majority of such strips are based on true events or are about real people.
If mistakes happen here or if you half-bakedly try to mix the modern with the past, the strip and its director are quickly dismissed. Just think of Guy Ritchie’s “Robin Hood” at this point.
However, a successful historical film shows in a sophisticated way that history is far more exciting than we know it from school.
The 10 Best Period Movies on Netflix
Good films and series on Netflix are not always easy to discover. But since February 2020, the streaming service has made it easier to find exciting content with its top 10 lists.
These show the most popular Netflix series and films right now, based on the number of viewers in each country.
Every Friday we present the current Netflix series and film charts for the United States. To do this, we enrich the top 10 with relevant information wherever possible, such as ratings from IMDb, the number of episodes, weekly trends, and more.
1. Schindler’s List (1993) – IMDb Rating 8.9
The Nazi era is the biggest blot on human history. It is all the more important to keep reminding us of this terrible and inhumane era in order to prevent history from repeating itself.
Cult director Steven Spielberg already knew and did this in 1994-and in fact, so perfectly that words cannot do enough for this timeless masterpiece.
Schindler’s List captures the oppressive aura of the Second World War like no other work, but also lets a small philanthropic light flicker between all the misery and death, namely in the form of the real person, Oskar Schindler (brilliant:
Liam Neeson), who more than saved 1,000 Jews from concentration camps by employing them in his factories. A film that is hard to forget is a good thing!
2. Gandhi (1982) – IMDb Rating 8.0
The year is 1893. Mohandas Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) works as a lawyer in South Africa and comes into conflict with apartheid politics there. He refuses to be judged and viewed as a second-rate person because of the color of his skin.
From then on, Gandhi campaigned for the rights of the Indians living in South Africa—and he did so entirely without violence.
Gandhi became the global figurehead of pacifism. But life is often cruelly ironic: On January 30, 1948, he was murdered.
Embedded in gigantic, opulent images, “Gandhi” is not only a superb biopic, but also an unequivocal and emphatic plea for interpersonal relationships, human dignity, and charity.
Gandhi’s peaceableness is conveyed perfectly through the calm narrative style. Kingsley completely disappears in the role of the legendary activist and deservedly won an Oscar.
In total, “Gandhi” received eight Academy Awards, including “Best Film.”
3. The King (2019) – IMDb Rating 7.3
Even Netflix itself can’t resist going far back into the past: The streaming service’s own production, “The King,” is about Hal (Timothée Chalamet), the wayward prince and unwilling heir to the English throne.
He has turned his back on his royal family and is living a middle-class life. But when his tyrannical father dies, Hal is crowned the new King, Henry V, and he willy-nilly has to live the very life he’s always fled.
Now the young king must navigate the royal politics, chaos, and war that his father bequeathed to him.
There are also his emotional ties to his past middle-class life, most notably his relationship with his closest friend and mentor, the aging and drinking knight John Falstaff (Joel Edgerton).
Intense, drastic, and finely cast (also with Sean Harris and a blond Robert Pattinson).
4. Lincoln (2012) – IMDb Rating 7.3
1864: Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis), the 16th President of the United States of America, has just begun his second term.
The American Civil War is drawing to a close, and the nation is marked by violence, misery, and distrust. Despite this difficult time, Lincoln dares to take on members of his own cabinet: he does everything he can to abolish slavery.
However, the president’s heart’s desire meets with many political opponents-and then comes the fateful April 15, 1865.
Director Steven Spielberg, together with his great lead actor, relies on great authenticity, but there is no room for boredom.
On the contrary, “Lincoln” is dramatic, gripping, nerve-wracking, and even humorous, but above all, it is perfectly staged with the greatest respect for the legendary head of state. Oscar honored!
5. Sense and Sensibility (1995) – IMDb Rating 7.7
The rich sisters, Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne Dashwood (Kate Winslet), could not be more different: while Elinor is pragmatic and always puts her mind above her heart, Marianne is driven by impulses and feelings.
Nevertheless, the two love each other dearly. When their father dies, they lose a large part of their fortune, and luxury is no longer the order of the day.
In addition, love causes problems, because both fall in love with men who are actually not available…
Jane Austen has never been more humorous, romantic, and cheeky. The film adaptation is in no way inferior to the classic book of the same name:
Thompson, Winslet, and Hugh Grant The joy of playing can be seen in every scene of this costume dramedy. Heart, humor, and gentle social criticism go together in this easily digestible symbiosis.
Sense and Sensibility is a charming portrait of early 19th-century England, full of wit and, well, sensuality. Thompson wrote the screenplay himself, which even won an Oscar!
6. Titanic (1997) – IMDb Rating 7.7
To this day, it is the most famous ship in the world, and unfortunately, also the most famous accident that happened in the vastness of the sea:
In 1912, the noble steamer Titanic was the largest ship that had ever been built to date, and it was also considered unsinkable.
So the confidence was great when you set sail with a total of 2,400 passengers, who were strictly divided into first, second, and third class. So when you raced through iceberg territory on April 15, you didn’t suspect anything bad…
Director James Cameron combines the historic shipwreck with a fictional but highly moving love story between poor Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and extremely rich Rose (Kate Winslet).
The backdrops are so detailed that you think you are on the real RMS Titanic during the film. The technology was also far ahead of its time, and the sinking was staged in a visually stunning and detailed manner. A big movie theater!
7. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – IMDb Rating 8.3
The film epic, which won seven Oscars, tells the true story of the British officer T.E. Lawrence (to kneel down: Peter O’Toole), who united the Arab tribes against the Turks in World War I.
David Lean, the film’s director, shows all of this with great shamelessness and even bigger images, while the original locations give the film its authenticity.
It’s not primarily about battles and bloody fights, but the focus is entirely on the fearless hero, who becomes a broken man in the course of his honorable and numerous adventures.
The endless desert rides become a (lonely) self-discovery, which is why “Lawrence of Arabia” is basically a fascinating character study with adventurous set pieces.
8. 300 (2006) – IMDb Rating 7.6
Extraordinary, but still possible: historical films can be based on comic books!”300″ is such an example, and, to our knowledge, the only one: It’s about the epic battle at Thermopylae during the Persian Wars in 480 BC.
The comic was by Frank Miller, and the film by Zack Snyder, so it’s not difficult to guess what the result will look like: bloody, relentless, pathetic, and with a great penchant for slow-mo effects, “300” interweaves real-filmed plot elements with virtual scenarios. An emotional plea for freedom and a willingness to make sacrifices can be seen between the flying limbs.
In short, an antique painting with blood-red handwriting.
9. Jane Eyre (2011) – IMDb Rating 7.3
After a life of hardship in an orphanage, 18-year-old Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) takes a job as a governess at a country estate in the middle of a moorland landscape.
The master of the house goes by the name of Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender) and is a withdrawn but highly charismatic man.
Despite this and regardless of all social rules, the two develop feelings for each other. But that’s not all: strange things seem to be happening on Mr. Rochester’s isolated estate that cannot be explained rationally, things that point to dark secrets.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bront, is a classic of world literature and is often mentioned in the same breath as “Romeo and Juliet” when it comes to “tragic lovers”.
The 2011 film presents the well-known story in a modern, exciting, and dark guise, while always showing a deep respect for the original.
“Jane Eyre” is a character and social study in equal measure. The feminist undertone also makes the story appear surprisingly modern.
10. Troy (2004) – IMDb Rating 7.3
The young and somewhat nave Prince of Troy (Orlando Bloom) falls in love with the beautiful Queen of Sparta, Helena (Diane Kruger), and abruptly kidnaps her back to his own country because he apparently thinks this is the greatest romantic gesture ever.
Injured in his pride but also driven by greed, Helena’s husband, the Spartan king Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), declares war on Troy.
Menelaus is joined by other Greek kings and master fighters, including Odysseus (Sean Bean) and the self-absorbed warrior Archilles (Brad Pitt). And what was that with the Trojan Horse…?
“Troy” is a modern monumental film and, as is typical for the genre, brings out the big cinematic artillery: impressive mass choreographies, gigantic sets, elaborate costumes, and a large star ensemble.
Although only loosely based on Homer’s “Iliad,” it entertains every minute.
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