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Five Period Romance Deep Cuts

Entertainment Weekly‘s recent list of the 25 best romantic period movies of all time contains some beloved, if predictable, heavy hitters, most of which are available at IU Media Services. However, the world of swoon-worthy love stories and thrilling bodice-rippers goes beyond your 1995 Pride and Prejudices or your 2005 Pride and Prejudices. Here are five period romance deep cuts that you can enjoy today from IU Media Services.

North and South (2005)

Richard Armitage smolders as John Thorton, a mill owner in northern England during the Industrial Revolution, whose world is turned upside down when Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe) arrives from the pastoral idyll of southern England. Social classes clash, misunderstandings abound, and Thornton unties his cravat in the way only period drama heroes can. A stirring score helps bring their love story to life in this adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1844 novel.

Persuasion (1995)

Quiet and restrained, the 1995 version of Persuasion (not to be confused with the wretched 2022 adaptation starring Dakota Johnson) may be the best Jane Austen adaptation ever. Ciaran Hines and Amanda Root star as former lovers during the Napoleonic Wars who have an unexpected second chance at love if they can get over their meddling families– and themselves.

Outlander (2014-present)

Kilts have never been hotter than in this TV series based on Diane Gabaldon’s novels. When she accidentally travels back in time to eighteenth-century Scotland, WW2 nurse Claire (Catriona Balfe) finds herself falling in love with absolute dreamboat Jamie (Sam Heughan). The only problem? She has a husband (Tobias Menzies) back in her own time. While the show is in its seventh season, the first season is the best.

Bleak House (2005)

While not strictly a romance, this adaptation of the novel by Charles Dickens features a star-studded cast and is more riveting than a miniseries about an nineteenth-century lawsuit has any right to be.

Anastasia (1997)

Animated image of woman and man gazing into each other's eyes.

Admittedly, this in an unconventional choice, given that this film is both animated and made for children. Still, this wildly-historically-inaccurate but charming story follows con man Dimitri (voiced by John Cusack) and an orphan who just may be the lost Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov (voiced by Meg Ryan) as they journey from Russia to Paris during the 1920s. Although he is but ink and paper, Dimitri still manages to be swoon-worthy.

Meghan Riley is a Ph.D. candidate with the Department of History. She has served as both an undergraduate and graduate student with Media Services.

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