18 new British period drama movies to watch in 2019

2019 looks set to be another incredible year at the cinema for British period drama fans.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the new British period drama films you need to see!

 

The Aftermath

What’s it about?

Keira Knightley (Colette), Jason Clarke (First Man) and Alexander Skarsgård (Big Little Lies) star in this adaptation of Rhidian Brook’s 2013 book, set in Germany in 1946.

The Aftermath sees Rachael Morgan arrive in the ruins of Hamburg in the bitter winter, to be reunited with her husband Lewis, a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that they’ll be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower and his troubled daughter.

When’s it out?

The Aftermath will be released in cinemas on 26th April.

 

All is True

What’s it about?

Set in 1613 after the Globe theatre in London has burned down, director Kenneth Branagh’s new William Shakespeare movie finds the playwright back in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he is haunted by the death of his only son Hamnet and must confront his failings as a husband and father.

Written by Blackadder and Upstart Crow creator Ben Elton, All is True stars Branagh as Shakespeare, alongside Dame Judi Dench as his wife and Sir Ian McKellen as the Earl of Southampton.

When’s it out?

All is True will be released in UK cinemas on 8th February and in the USA later in 2019.

 

The Aspern Papers

What’s it about?

Based on the Henry James novella, The Aspern Papers is set in Venice in 1885.

Morton Vint, an ambiguous young writer fascinated by iconic romantic poet Jeffrey Aspern (now deceased), strives to get his hands on the letters Aspern wrote to his beautiful mistress, Juliana Bordereau.

Now, decades later, Juliana lives in a Venetian palazzo with her niece, whom she dominates and Morton will come to seduce. But do these letters really exist and what scandalous information about Juliana and Aspern will they bring to the surface?

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (The Tudors) is joined by Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck) and her real-life mother Vanessa Redgrave.

What did the reviews say?

The Aspern Papers will be released in 2019.

 

A Christmas Carol

What’s it about?

Carey Mulligan (Suffragette), Daniel Kaluuya (Black Panther), Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) and Martin Freeman (Sherlock) lead the voice cast of this new animated adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic festive tale.

Co-director David Morris hopes to retell the story “in an innovative way, that faithfully expresses what Dickens was trying to say.”

When’s it out?

A Christmas Carol will be released for Christmas 2019.

 

The Downton Abbey movie

What’s it about?

Arriving four years after the hit TV series ended, the long-awaited Downton Abbey movie will see all the main characters return for a brand new story set in 1927.

They’ll be joined by Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter), Geraldine James (Anne with an E), Tuppence Middleton (The Imitation Game) and David Haig (Killing Eve).

When’s it out?

The movie will be released in UK cinemas on Friday 13th September and in the USA on Friday 20th September.

 

The Favourite

What’s it about?

Set in the early 18th century, The Favourite stars Olivia Colman (Broadchurch) as Queen Anne, who was the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1702 to 1707.

The Crown star is joined in this historical farce by Emma Stone (La La Land), Rachel Weisz (My Cousin Rachel), Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Apocalypse) and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock).

What did the reviews say?

“As un­couth and un­leashed as Mer­chant Ivory is but­toned up, it’s part rib­ald romp, part pointed char­ac­ter study, part cat-and-mouse psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller, part his­tor­i­cal-po­lit­i­cal machi­na­tions. Yet buried in its black, rau­cous heart is a melan­cholic ode to foiled love and un­fath­omable loss.” ★★★★ – Empire

“Weisz and Stone are both brilliantly witty and nimble, but Colman’s performance is nothing short of sublime.” – The New York Times

 

Horrible Histories: The Movie

What’s it about?

This big screen spin-off from the BBC’s hugely popular children’s historical comedy series will focus on Roman Britain.

An all-star cast includes Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead), Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City), singer Kate Nash, Rupert Graves (Lost in Space) and Derek Jacobi (Last Tango in Halifax).

When’s it out?

Horrible Histories: The Movie will be released in the UK on 26th July 2019.

 

Ironbark

What’s it about?

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch plays a real-life Cold War spy in this new Cold War thriller movie set in the 1960s, from the director of On Chesil Beach and The Hollow Crown.

Ironbark will tell the incredible true story of Greville Wynne, a British businessman who worked with the CIA to penetrate the Soviet nuclear program during the Cold War, providing information that helped end the Cuban Missile Crisis.

When’s it out?

Ironbark will be released in 2019.

 

Judy

What’s it about?

Renée Zellweger stars as American singer and actress Judy Garland in this movie set in the winter of 1968, alongside Rufus Sewell (Victoria) and Michael Gambon (Harry Potter).

Adapted from the Olivier and Tony nominated 2012 Broadway play End of the Rainbow, the story sees Garland arrive in the British capital for a run of sell-out concerts.

When’s it out?

Judy will arrive in cinemas in early 2019.

 

The King

What’s it about?

Based on William Shakespeare’s classic plays Henry The IV (Parts 1 & 2) and Henry V, this Netflix Original movie stars Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), Robert Pattinson (Twilight), Sean Harris (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) and Joel Edgerton (Avatar).

Set before, during and after England’s war with France at the famous Battle Of Agincourt in 1415, part of the ‘Hundred Years’ War’, the story sees the young disgraced prince Hal inherit the crown and learn how be a king, guided by his one true friend, Falstaff.

When’s it out?

The King will premiere exclusively on Netflix worldwide in 2019.

 

Medieval

What’s it about?

Historical action-drama Medieval tells the story of 14th century Czech national hero and revered military tactician Jan Zizka, who defeated armies of the Teutonic Order and the Holy Roman Empire.

Joining Ben Foster as Zizka are Sir Michael Caine and Narnia star William Moseley.

When’s it out?

Medieval will be released later in 2019.

 

1917

What’s it about?

Set during World War I, 1917 is written and directed by Skyfall director Sam Mendes.

George MacKay (The Secret of Marrowbone) and Dean-Charles Chapman (Game of Thrones) will lead the cast as two young soldiers journeying across dangerous terrain.

When’s it out?

1917 is set for release in December.

 

 

Ophelia

What’s it about?

Based on the Shakespearean character of the same name and the novel by Lisa Klein, this movie reimagines Hamlet as told from Ophelia’s perspective.

A forbidden love blossom when Ophelia, the Queen’s most trusted lady-in-waiting capture the attention of Prince Hamlet. As war brews, lust and betrayal begin to tear Elsinore Castle apart from within in.

Taking a break from the Star Wars franchise, Daisy Ridley plays Ophelia. She’s joined by Naomi Watts, Clive Owen, Tom Felton and George MacKay.

What did the reviews say?

“Ridley looks the part … but she comes across a bit too passive for the script’s stronger, bolder feminist. Instead, at the very end, the script scraps its attempts to preserve the bones of Shakespeare’s story of machismo gone amok and bluntly rewrites the bloody climax.” – Variety

“…the film looks exquisite, from the costumes and props to the cinematography and camerawork. The level of craft in this film is absolutely off the charts.” – The Guardian

 

The Professor and the Madman

What’s it about?

Based on Simon Winchester’s book The Surgeon of Crowthorne, this tells the true story of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.

A retired United States Army surgeon, Dr. W. C. Minor began compiling the Oxford English Dictionary in 1857 and submitted over 10,000 entries, all while imprisoned in the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum in Berkshire, England.

The cast includes Natalie Dormer (Picnic at Hanging Rock), Ioan Gruffudd (Hornblower), Jeremy Irvine (War Horse), Laurence Fox (Lewis), Jennifer Ehle (Pride and Prejudice) and comedian Steve Coogan.

When’s it out?

The Professor and the Madman will be released in 2019.

 

Rebecca

What’s it about?

Adapted by Jane Goldman (The Woman in Black), this new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s classic romantic Gothic thriller will star Lily James (Downton Abbey) and Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name).

Rebecca tells the story of a newly-married young woman who, on arriving at her husband’s imposing family estate on a bleak English coast, finds herself battling the shadow of his dead first wife, the mysterious Rebecca, whose legacy continues to haunt the house.

When’s it out?

Rebecca is expected to premiere on Netflix in late 2019.

 

Robert the Bruce

What’s it about?

Angus Macfadyen will reprise his Braveheart role as warrior and king Robert the Bruce in this epic new Scottish historical drama.

The supporting cast includes Jared Harris (The Crown) and Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous).

When’s it out?

Robert the Bruce will be released later in 2019.

 

Rocketman

What’s it about?

Set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, this fantasy musical biopic will follow Elton John’s emergence as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music to becoming a music superstar.

Kingsman actor Taron Egerton is playing the singer, alongside Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), Richard Madden (Bodyguard) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World).

When’s it out?

Rocketman lands in cinemas on 31st May.

 

Stan & Ollie

What’s it about?

Starring John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan, Stan & Ollie follows the world’s favorite comedy double act, Laurel & Hardy, as they embark on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953.

Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, the pair face an uncertain future as they re-connect with legions of adoring fans, old and new.

What did the reviews say?

“Coogan and Reilly’s performances are among the best either has ever given. This film, which pays wonderfully funny tribute to two comic legends, richly deserves them.” ★★★★ – Empire

“Like the comedy greats to whom this winningly warm film pays tribute, Jon S Baird’s affectionate drama balances humour and pathos, laughter and tears.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

 

Take a look at our list of 2018’s best British period drama movies here.