What are the best period movies on Netflix? The 11 titles below feature stars such as Tom Hanks, Benedict Cumberbatch, Matthew McConaughey, Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eddie Redmayne, and Russell Crowe. And they come from directors in Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese, Aaron Sorkin, Ron Howard, and Ridley Scott among others. A “⭐” marks an editors' choice.
Ron Howard dramatises the Apollo 13 mission that put the astronauts in jeopardy after an on-board explosion ate up all the oxygen and forced NASA to abort and get the men home safely. Tom Hanks stars.
Refusing to accept a death sentence from his doctor after being diagnosed with AIDS in the 1980s, the true story of an electrician and hustler (Matthew McConaughey) who smuggles banned medications from abroad.
A wealthy landowner (Carey Mulligan) hires an amateur archaeologist (Ralph Fiennes) to dig up the burial grounds on her estate in this reimagining of the 1939 Sutton Hoo excavations. A film that is entirely infused with the spectre of death. A Netflix original.
A few years into the Spanish Civil War in 1936, a newly-married man and a big critic of the dictator Francisco Franco hides himself underneath his house in fear of being killed by the Franco-led Falangists, not knowing that he will stay there for the next 33 years. A Netflix original.
Angelina Jolie directs this adaptation of Loung Ung's memoir — Ung co-wrote the screenplay with Jolie — that details a seven-year-old's harrowing journey through labour camps and as a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge regime starting in 1975. A Netflix original.
Winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe, this Ridley Scott-directed film tells a moving story of a Roman general (Crowe) who loses everything — his family and rank — to end up as a slave and then seeks vengeance on the perpetrator, the Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix).
Though historically inaccurate in various aspects, Benedict Cumberbatch's turn as British mathematician Alan Turing who helps the Allies decrypt the Nazi intelligence codes, Morten Tyldum's direction, and the work of its strong supporting cast brought it much success and acclaim.
Through the lens of Citizen Kane's acerbic and alcoholic writer Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), director David Fincher presents a black-and-white portrait of Hollywood and America in the 1930s. All while Mank conflicts with anyone who steps into his path, from Orson Welles (Tom Burke) to Kane inspiration William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance). A Netflix original.
Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson play 17th-century Jesuit priests in this over two-and-a-half-hour epic from Martin Scorsese that finds two said priests travelling to Edo-era Japan, where Christians are persecuted, to find their mentor and spread Catholic Christianity.
Aaron Sorkin assembles an ensemble cast — Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eddie Redmayne, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II among them — to depict the political witchhunt of the titular anti-Vietnan War protestors who were trumped up on charges of rioting and conspiracy. A Netflix original.
The future president of Uruguay, José Mujica, and his fellow left-wing urban guerrilla group Tupamaros members struggle to survive over a decade of torture and confinement after they are imprisoned by the then-military dictatorship in 1973. A Netflix original.