Today is my 50th birthday, so I’m indulging in some nostalgia by sharing a big, fat list of my very favorite historical costume movies and TV shows, in somewhat chronological order by historical period. Enjoy (and click the titles for our reviews) while I go eat cake!
It’s good to be the king! Especially if the king is Mel Brooks!
The original bitchy Romans. Try the grapes.
Yeah, there’s some kissing parts, but it’s still a good adventure.
Making Trystan cry for nearly 40 years.
“Of course he has a knife, he always has a knife, we all have knives! It’s 1183 and we’re barbarians!”
The Beeb gets so much right in this series.
Geneviève Bujold is the best Anne Boleyn on screen, no argument.
The most practically perfect Tudor story on screen. Don’t @ me.
My gateway drug to history and especially the 16th century was watching this series on PBS. Thank you, Glenda Jackson!
Proof you can have a high level of historical accuracy and be balls-out hysterically silly and funny too.
Katharine Hepburn reportedly didn’t like this movie, but I still love her performance, plus the costumes are a fine ’30s-does-Renaissance effort.
The perfect MQoS movie has yet to be made. This ain’t it, but I can still watch Vanessa Redgrave in some very pretty costumes.
I read and studied Virginia Woolf’s novel in grad school the same time the film came out in theaters.
Oh Emma and Ken, you two were so golden back then! *sigh*
I was obsessed with this movie and book when it first came out, but strangely that didn’t extend to the costumes until much later.
OK, so the costumes & story don’t hold up wrt historical accuracy, but it’s still SO much fun and SO entertaining!
Kicking off a round of 18th-c. parties that still hasn’t stopped.
I ignore Lestat and just focus on Louis and Armand (which is kind of what I did with the books too). I loves me some pretty mopey goth boys.
This version with Juliette Binoche and Ralph Fiennes has gorgeous costumes by James Acheson. It’s a surprisingly accurate telling of the story.
Emma Thompson won a screenwriting Oscar for this film, and it’s one of the few Austen adaptions I adore and can just watch endlessly.
The longest but most book-perfect adaption (tho’ set in the 1830s, which technically is not correct; read my review to find out more!).
Rufus Sewell does not have a glass eye (it’s a lazy eye). He’s just a fine actor and super cute. This miniseries is his excellent breakout frock flick.
Sarah’s obsessed with George Sand in this flick, but I’ve been saying “stupid, stupid rain!” like Emma Thompson’s ditzy duchess in Impromptu for decades.
The only filmed version of one of my favorite novels.
Another Thomas Hardy adaption, beautifully made, if by a reprehensible director.
Bustle eye-candy with tragic-romantic storylines!
The darker, even more tragic side of bustle-y goodness.
Moar vampires please.
I own my cliches.
One of my favorite musicals! Really should write a proper blog review one day.
Reading this E.M. Forster novel in high school deeply affected me, and I love this adaption.
Ahhh, the Merchant-Ivory mid-’80s frock flick years! What a time to be alive.
I have so many feelings about this movie.
Pals Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie deliver pure comedy gold with 1930s charm.
Accept no substitutions!
I don’t know why I resisted this show until the third season, when I was down during chemo. I caught up via DVDs and got hooked. We recapped the final season on the blog, and it’s something I can watch repeats of any old time.
This show became the source of SO MANY jokes between my friends!
The cross-dressing costumes are historically accurate, and the story is hilarious!
Dignity, always dignity! Make ’em laugh! Gotta dance!
Le jazz hot.
“I saw something nasty in the woodshed!”
Life is a cabaret, old chum!
Ian McKellen‘s masterwork — he co-wrote the film adaption and co-produced the film, in addition to starring.
A languidly excellent series to get wrapped up in.
Still going strong and, like, totally worth watching!
Are any of my faves your faves too? What would you get me for my birthday if you could?