There is something that we always take with us from the best period or historical films (some of them, as we will see, among Netflix films): you have to look at yesterday to know how to face tomorrow.. Or, at least, to avoid repeating the same mistakes of the past. An important premise within this particular “genre” is: what was life like in the past? What realities were around the same places that we know today? The past has always been an exciting place to portray and so have filmmakers throughout history. From romantic imaginaries, to despised ones, going through realistic representations and even fantastic close-ups… The years that have passed have always been synonymous with excessive inspiration. Everything fits within the context “of the time”. A clear example could be the series ‘Outlander’, one of the best period series on Netflix, where history and time travel firmly go hand in hand.

In the case of the best Netflix movies, which is the central issue at hand in this list, we can find numerous examples. The catalog of one of the main streaming platformsknows what succeeds, and this is an example of it. Many of these great films are essential to learn history, others to have fun exploring unsuspected horizons… However, if this catalog falls short, because your desire to learn about the history of humanity knows no limits, there are also films with great Historic moments on Amazon Prime. Have you considered making a leap into the documentary format? It’s another great medium to learn about history, there are very interesting documentaries to watch on Disney+ or, if you prefer, you don’t even need to change platforms, there are important documentaries on Netflix that you can watch.

Returning to fiction (which is what we like the most), there are stories of kings and queens of the past that allow us to know the ins and outs of some of the most important courts in European history; adaptations of classic novels such as ‘Little Women’ (which has been revisited over and over again by film directors), or ‘Pride and Prejudice’, one of the most famous titles in this repertoire. Other examples are new works; ‘The Prodigy’, starring Florence Pugh, which has recently premiered on the platform, or ‘Persuasion’, with Dakota Johnson, which is counted among the best love movies of 2022 . Shortly after the end of the year, both have been placed among the best Netflix movies of this 2022, don’t miss them!

This genus is also cultivated on our coasts. Thus, we find examples such as ‘Handia’, critically acclaimed in its premiere year, or ‘Errementari’ and ‘Akelarre’ that explore the magic of the Basque Country in past centuries, some of the best Spanish films on Netflix.

Do not wait any longer, yours is period fiction and it is just what we have prepared for you. From among a wide selection of movies (we could spend endless hours inspecting the platform’s catalogues), comes the list of the 20 best period movies on Netflix that you must see :

‘The Prodigy’ (Sebastian Lelio, 2022)

Ireland, 1862. In the region known as the Midlands, Anna O’Donnell, an 11-year-old girl, stops eating without losing a surprising state of health and vitality.

Lib Wright, a nurse, is brought to the small town to observe her. In turn, groups of tourists and men of faith flock to see the girl, who has survived for 11 months without food. Conjectures about a divine miracle begin to haunt Anna. Is it a blessing from heaven? Is there some hidden reason that keeps the girl in this health condition? The explained ending of ‘The Miracle’ gives us some answers.

Pride and Prejudice‘ (Joe Wright, 2005)

England, 19th century. The Bennett sisters have grown up, in a modest country house, raised by a mother who wishes (under any circumstances) that they marry a man with whom they can have a comfortable life. After the arrival, at a nearby mansion, of Mr. Bingley [a young, rich and high-born bachelor] the sisters are excited about the possibility of finding in him (or his circle) a possible husband.

The young man organizes a traditional homecoming ball, in which Lizzie (Keira Knightley) will meet the mysterious and shadowy Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfayden), who behaves with her in a proud and arrogant manner. However, the relationship between the two will evolve passionately sooner than they imagined.

A contemporary classic that never expires, and, of course, one of the best adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels.

‘Elizabeth’ (Shekhar Kapur, 1998)

England, 1554. After the death of Queen Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett) ascends to the throne. The kingdom falls into his hands plunged into a process of chaos and social and economic instability.

Thus begins a reign of four decades. She would become known as the “Elizabethan era” and she would receive the nickname of ‘The Virgin Queen’, due to her manifest intention to emulate the purity of the mother of Christ and her desire to establish herself as a symbol for the people. British.

This biographical period drama received 7 Oscar Award nominations (winning one for Best Makeup) and Cate Blanchett received a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the monarch.

‘Little Women’ (Gillian Armstrong, 1994)

USA, 1861-1865. During the American Secession War, we follow the story of a humble family, made up of a married couple with their four daughters. The father is fighting at the front; her mother and daughters at home.

Jo, a strong and independent young woman who wants to fulfill her dream of being a writer; Meg, formal and demure, willing to follow a “mainstream” life for love; Beth, fragile and delicate and Amy, romantic and full of passion and desires to be like her older sisters.

Through the years, we see how these sisters experience different key moments in their lives and how love and identity begin to make the bond between some of them closer and further apart.

Adapting the novel by Louise May Alcott, we have seen its film version on several occasions. The most recent, at the hands of Greta Gerwig, in 2019.

‘Elisa and Marcela’ (Isabel Coixet, 2019)

Spain, 1885. Elisa and Marcela, two young women who work together in a school, begin to develop a strong bond that transcends friendship to romance. Marcela’s parents, suspecting the love that her daughter feels for her partner, send her abroad.

When they return a few years later, their meeting becomes an unforgettable moment and they decide never to be separated again. They will start a life together. Due to the impossibility of their decision (because of external pressures and social judgement), they develop a plan. Elisa will leave town and return transformed into a man, Mario, who will marry Marcela. However, it will not be easy for the relationship to develop easily for the two lovers.

‘The Last of the Mohicans’ (Michael Mann, 1992)

North America, 1757. French and English troops fight for control of the north of the American continent. The natives support the French forces, the English are dedicated to rallying white settlers to their cause.

Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a white man, who in the past was taken in and raised by the Mohican Indians. One day he will save a woman, Cora Munro (Madeleine Stowe) and her little sister, Alice (Jodhi May), from an ambush.

Being the daughters of a British officer who is in the combat zone, he will accompany them to the English fort named ‘William Henry’ which is in the middle of the fight against the French and Huron invasion.

‘Big’ (Jon Garano, Aitor Arregi, 2017)

Spain, 19th century. Martin returns to his farmhouse in Guipuzcoa after having fought in the First Carlist War. He discovers, upon arrival, that his younger brother Joaquin is taller than usual.

Certain that he is the greatest man on the planet, he decides to profit financially by turning his brother into an attraction for those willing to contemplate him. Together they will travel the length and breadth of Europe.

In this process, ambition, fame and wealth will become triggers for great changes within their family relationships and the ties that united them in the beginning.

This movie is inspired by true events.

‘Marie Antoinette’ (Sofia Coppola, 2006)

France, 18th century. The marriage commitment is forged between what will become Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, thus forming an alliance between France and Austria.

At the age of 14, the Austrian princess leaves Vienna and her family and settles at the magnanimous French court. There, sophisticatedly decorated, she hides a tangle of entanglements, scandals and secrets, which the princess will have to face.

Tired of this situation, the young woman decides to rebel against the institution that oppresses her and her battle against Versailles will make her the most misunderstood and reviled queen in France.

‘Akelarre’ (Pablo Aguero, 2020)

Basque Country, 1609. In the coastal region, men venture into the sea to earn a living. The women stay on land and give life to the small communities in the area. Ana, a young woman from the village, goes with her friends to a celebration in the woods.

Rostegui, a judge sent by order of the king to sanctify and cleanse the region, decides that his actions correspond to a crime of witchcraft. From then on, he will do everything in his power to condemn his impure acts and to make the young women confess his relationship with satan, with whom they have allegedly mated during their coven rituals.

‘The King’ (David Michod, 2019)

England. Timothee Chalamet plays Hal, a crown prince who despises his lineage and does not want to occupy the throne. Because of this, he runs away and begins a life among the common people. However, after the death of his father, the young man will have to return to the palace and begin his journey as king. Thus, Enrique V arises.

From then on, the new monarch will have to assume his responsibilities, dominate the intrigues of the palace and the war with the enemy nations. A figure from his old life will continue to be important: John Falstaff, a gentleman he considers his best friend and reference.

He Perfume. The Story of a Murderer’ (Tom Tykwer, 2006)

France, 18th century. Born into the heart of society’s underworld and abandoned by his mother, Jean Baptiste Grenouille, he has become an invisible man. No one who has seen it seems to remember it. Having spent his childhood in a hospice, he grew up surrounded by a hostile environment and developed a particular quality: he had no smell. In counterpoint, his olfactory skills were exceptional, thus making him a great perfumer.

His obsessive idea of ​​capturing the best scents led him to the ultimate goal (and central pillar of the film): capturing the scent of certain women.

This is how this suspense story comes from the novel by Patrick Suskind.

‘Mary, Queen of Scots’ (Josie Rourke, 2018)

United Kingdom, 16th century. If in one of the previous cases on this list we delved into the life of Elizabeth I, now we will do so in that of her cousin, Mary Stuart, also known as Mary I of Scotland.

This monarch ascended the throne (only 6 days old) after the death of her father, James V. She spent her childhood in France, while Scotland was ruled by regents. Subsequently, she would marry Delfin Francisco and become queen consort of France. After his death, she would return to her homeland and years later she would seek to regain her right to the British crown.

However, her cousin Isabel would see her as a threat and thus a rivalry between the two would begin.

‘El Nombre de la Rosa’ (Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1986)

Italy, 14th century. We meet William of Baskerville, played by a mature Sean Connery and his disciple Adso de Melk, played by Christian Slater. Both, Franciscan monks, arrive at a Benedictine abbey lost in the middle of the mountains of northern Italy, with the premise of helping to certify the cause of death of a monk who resided in that place.

However, a series of deaths from strange causes begin to originate from their arrival. In this way, both will begin to look for the explanation. Thus arises an investigation, in the purest Sherlock Holmes style, within the boundaries of the abbey. An exciting story of mystery and suspense, in an environment as dark as it is cold.

Adaptation of the homonymous novel by Umberto Eco.

‘The Painted Veil’ (John Curran, 2006)

Asia, the 1920s. Wishing to escape the stifling family environment in which she finds herself, Kitty (Naomi Watts) decides to marry Walter (Edward Norton), a doctor well accepted by her upper-class family.

The couple start a new life in Shanghai. However, Kitty will have an extramarital affair there with an American man (Liev Schreiber). This will cause a new move, this time to a remote province of China. There Walter will dedicate himself to fighting the deadly cholera epidemic that dominates the region.

‘Lost in the Arctic’ (Peter Flinth, 2022)

Greenland, 1909. This story, based on real events, follows the protagonists of the Danish expedition “Alabama”, coordinated by Captain Ejnar Mikkelsen.

This mission was intended to demonstrate that the territory of Greenland was not separated into two portions. In this way, the sovereignty of the United States would be canceled over a part of the land. The Captain, accompanied by the little advantaged Iver Iversen, will have to complete the hard journey without the help of his crew. A challenge that will put the two men on the edge between life and death.

‘Enola Holmes’ (Harry Bradbeer, 2020)

England, 19th century. The teenage sister of famed detective Sherlock Holmes also has a knack for solving mysteries. One day, the young woman discovers that her mother has disappeared and she decides, without hesitation, to reveal the mystery of her absence. She will also have to solve a convoluted conspiracy that falls on a young English lord.

At the same time that this investigation begins, a young boy who seems to hide more than one secret will cross his path.

The movie, one of the best Netflix original movies, has recently released its sequel, ‘Enola Holmes 2’. Will there be ‘Enola Holmes 3’?

‘The Scarlet Summit’ (Guillermo del Toro, 2015)

England, 19th century. The daughter of a wealthy businessman is suddenly visited by the haunting spirit of her mother. Her ghost conveys a single message to him: “Beware of Scarlet Peak.”

Years pass and the young woman ends up marrying Sir Thomas Sharpe. Her family does not approve of this union, so they both move to Thomas’s old family mansion: Allerdale Hall, located on a red clay mine.

The mysterious house seems to hide a series of secrets that will present themselves to the young woman in the strangest ways. The mansion not only lives, but also remembers.

‘The Outlaw King’ (David Mackenzie, 2018)

Scotland, 1304. William Wallace has been executed. Now, Robert ” the Bruce ” (Robert I of Scotland), will have to face the English force that threatens the freedom of the northern country.

Leading a group of men who oppose control of the crown, he will face the troops of one of the most powerful armies of medieval times, led by King Edward I and his son, the Prince of Wales.

‘Persuasion’ (Carrie Cracknell, 2022)

Anne Elliot (Dakota Johnson), meets an old childhood love who seems to have returned to her life. This is Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis), an old friend with whom she distanced herself due to the pressure exerted by her family.

Anne’s family seems to be wiping out their wealth and going bankrupt. Now, her life will have a new objective: love. Is it worth forgetting the past and giving this forbidden romance a second chance?

‘Errementari (The blacksmith and the devil)’ (Pablo Urkijo Alijo, 2017)

Spain, 1843. In the Basque Country, a small town in Alava stands as the central space of this story. Alfredo, a government commissioner, carries out an investigation that leads him to a strange blacksmith shop in the depths of the forest. There lives a mysterious and reclusive blacksmith named Patxi.

Around the man there are numerous dark stories, all related to sinister and demonic aspects. A little orphan, Usue, makes it to the smithy and manages to gain access inside. What mysteries are hidden inside the dreaded place? Who really is Patxi, the blacksmith?