Historical period drama
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The term, historical period drama (also historical drama, period drama, costume drama, and period piece) refers to a work set in an earlier time period; usually used in the context of film and television. It is an informal crossover term that can apply to several genres and is often heard in the context of historical fiction and romances, adventure films, and swashbucklers. A period piece may be as long and general as the middle ages or as limited as one decade, for example, the Roaring Twenties.
Historical drama film stories are based upon historical events and famous people. Some historical dramas take the form of a docudrama, which is a style of drama which attempts an accurate portrayal of a historical event or biography, to the degree that the available historical research will allow. Other historical dramas are fictionalized tales that are based on one or more actual persons and their deeds, such as Braveheart (1995), which is loosely based on the 13th-century knight William Wallace's fight to protect Scotland's independence.
The most common type of period piece is the historical period piece, both on stage and in movies. This category includes Robin Hood (1953), Barry Lyndon (1975), Amadeus (1984), The Age of Innocence (1993), and The Young Victoria (2009). Films that are set in the 1930s and 1940s, such as Last Man Standing (1996), can also be placed in this category. Other examples include Marie Antoinette (1938), Middlemarch (1994), and Pride and Prejudice (1995).
Many highly successful television series have been known as period pieces. Notable examples include The Tudors, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, Deadwood, Halt and Catch Fire, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Father Brown and Little House on the Prairie.
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