“Prestige,” “Les Miserables,” and other paintings for those who love historical scenery.

1. Gangs of New York

  • USA, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Italy, 2002.
  • Drama, crime.
  • Duration: 167 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.5.

1863 year. Amsterdam Wallon, freed from a correctional facility, returns to his native Manhattan. He will get revenge on his father’s killer, but getting close to him is not so easy.

Martin Scorsese’s gangster painting was nominated for an Oscar 10 times but did not receive a single statuette. And yet, it was after this film, the director began to be perceived as a living classic.

Watching Gangs of New York is a must to appreciate the realistic scenery of a 19th century New York slum built from scratch in the studio and to enjoy the magnificent performance of Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis.

2. Pride and prejudice

  • France, UK, USA, 2005.
  • Drama, melodrama.
  • Duration: 129 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.8.

England, early 19th century. Progressive provincial Elizabeth Bennet meets the aristocrat Mr. Darcy. His arrogance and snobbery at first repel the girl. Gradually, the mutual hatred of the heroes develops into love.

Critics praised Joe Wright’s film with the duet Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadien. But still, loyal fans of Jane Austen shouldn’t expect the picture to follow the classic images. The director deliberately shifted many accents: instead of the humor and satire on society for which Austin’s books are famous, he focused on the chemistry between Darcy and Elizabeth.

3. The Prestige

  • UK, USA, 2006.
  • Science fiction, thriller, drama, detective.
  • Duration: 125 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.5.

End of the 19th century, London. The illusionists Robert and Alfred only think about how to ruin each other’s life. The most sophisticated methods are used. But once upon a time, the heroes were partners and best friends.

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With many thoughtful details, Christopher Nolan’s film completely immerses the viewer in the atmosphere of the Victorian era. At some point, the real inventor of that time, Nikola Tesla, even appears there, in the role of which the famous David Bowie starred.

In the picture a complex plot, so that even the erudite will have to smash his head.

4. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

  • USA, UK, 2007.
  • Musical, horror, thriller, drama.
  • Duration: 116 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.3.

Barber Benjamin Barker once had a beloved wife, but the girl was flattered by an influential and cunning judge. He got rid of Barker by sending him to hard labor.

After many years, the hero manages to escape. Returning to London as Sweeney Todd, he opens a barbershop above Mrs. Lovett’s pie shop. Together, they come up with a disgusting but original way to raise her small business and at the same time take revenge on everyone who once made Barker’s life hell.

The events of the film unfold in the middle of the 19th century; just then, the legend of Sweeney Todd appeared in England. Even with Tim Burton’s love for everything dark, the story in his interpretation came out especially hopeless and pessimistic. London slums in the picture look so that it immediately becomes clear: all hope has long gone from this place.

5. Hysteria

  • Great Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, 2010.
  • Drama, melodrama, comedy.
  • Duration: 100 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.7.

England, 1880. Aspiring physician Mortimer Granville is hired to work for Dr. Robert Dalrymple, who treats female hysteria with an intimate massage. The hero helps the professor so hard that he injures his hand. Then he decides to automate his work and turns to a friend-inventor who is obsessed with electricity for help.

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Comedy “No hysteria!” original and subtle plays on the history of the emergence of vibrators. There is not a drop of vulgarity in the film, humor is unobtrusive, and the actors play great.

6. Jane Eyre

  • UK, USA, 2011.
  • Drama, melodrama.
  • Duration: 120 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.3.

Jane Eyre, a young educated orphan, finds a job as a governess in the house of the gloomy aristocrat Edward Rochester. Over time, the girl and her mysterious employer fall in love with each other. However, Mr. Rochester has a secret that can put an end to their happiness.

The American director with Swedish-Japanese roots, Carey Fukunaga (who also created the series “Maniac”), managed to reflect the novel’s gothic atmosphere by Charlotte Bronte. And Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender fit perfectly into the sincere and naive Eyre images and the mature Rochester.

7. Les misérables

  • UK, USA, 2012.
  • Musical, drama, melodrama, military, history.
  • Duration: 158 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.6.

Jean Valjean spends many years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. Years later, he becomes the respected mayor of the city, but he is not let go of the past in the person of Inspector Javert.

In the film based on the novel by Victor Hugo, director Tom Hooper managed to combine theatrical convention with an incredible story, and Hugh Jackman’s vocal gift was fully revealed here.

The film has reaped a crop of Oscars for Best Supporting Actress, Sound, Makeup, and Hair. It is all the more difficult to believe that the film adaptation of the musical “Cats,” which received many negative reviews, was directed by the same Hooper.

8. Anna Karenina

  • UK, 2012.
  • Drama, melodrama.
  • Duration: 129 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.6.

Anna Karenina, a young married woman, falls in love with Officer Vronsky. They enter into a secret relationship, but soon the entire high society of St. Petersburg becomes aware of their relationship. Anna’s spouse, an influential official, is experiencing a difficult betrayal.

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Famed playwright Tom Stoppard and director of Pride and Prejudice Joe Wright did not want to work in the genre of classic costume drama and came up with a bold decision: to place the heroes of one of the most important works of Leo Tolstoy in theatrical interiors. Such a visually refined and unusual film adaptation of Karenina has never been seen in world cinema.

9. Little women

  • USA, 2019.
  • Drama, melodrama.
  • Duration: 135 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.8.

The action takes place during the American Civil War and covers several years of the March family’s life. The heroines of the film are four sisters whose father went to the front. They discover the joys and difficulties of growing up, and they also meet the young aristocrat Laurie who lives next door.

The directorial skills of Greta Gerwig have completely transformed Louise May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women. So, in the original book, the action developed sequentially. But Gerwig (she was also in charge of the script) used a new non-linear chronology, and the whole story took on a modern twist.

10. Emma

  • UK, 2020.
  • Comedy, melodrama.
  • Duration: 124 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.7.

England, XIX century. The smug beauty Emma Woodhouse loves to bring young people together, but she is not going to get married. She is trying to find a lover for her friend Harriet Smith. But at some point, this innocent intention turns into a series of curiosities.

Like the rest of the writer’s works, Jane Austen’s last novel was filmed a lot. This time two talented debutantes got down to business. Music video director Autumn de Wilde provided brilliant production, while Booker Prize-winning Eleanor Catton adapted the classic plot.

The result is very fresh and relevant, and the audience will easily recognize our contemporaries in the characters of Ani Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn.


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