12 new British period drama movies to see in 2023

2023 looks set to be another dazzling year for British period drama fans.

Here, in alphabetical order, we’ve listed all the new British historical and period drama movies you might want to see over the coming year!

Check out our gigantic previews of 2023’s brand new British period drama mini-series and all the returning British period drama TV series too.

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What’s it about?

Chevalier is inspired by the incredible true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

The illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, Bologne (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer, complete with an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton from The Ipcress File) and her court.

The cast also includes Samara Weaving (Picnic at Hanging Rock), Marton Csokas (Lord of the Rings), and Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting).

What did the reviews say?

“Lest you think the film is fiddling with history, rest assured that the Chevalier de Saint-Georges was every bit as impressive as the eye-opening feature debut from Watchmen director Stephen Williams suggests.” – Variety

“Kelvin Harrison Jr. blossoms in sumptuous but shaky biopic of a classical violinist.” – The Hollywood Reporter

Chevalier is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.


Empire of Light

What’s it about?

Olivia Colman (The Crown) and Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) star in this 1980s-set drama from 1917 director Sam Mendes, set in and around a beautiful old cinema on the south coast of England.

They’ll be joined in Empire of Light by Toby Jones (Detectorists), Crystal Clarke (The Electrical Life of Louis Wain), Tanya Moodie (A Discovery of Witches), and Micheal Ward (Small Axe).

What did the reviews say?

Empire of Light is a touching yarn that will strike a chord with audiences and sentimental voters of the Academy. It’s not saying anything new but it’s a heartwarming reminder of the joy, comfort and necessity of the big screen experience.” ★★★★ – Evening Standard

“At its best, it is genuinely evocative, and while the script is patchy, it also wisely leaves the camera to do a lot of the talking. As a whole, it doesn’t quite cohere, but you can at least feel the sincere, sentimental intent with which it’s made.” ★★★ – Empire

Empire of Light is available on DVD.


The Great Escaper

What’s it about?

Inspired by true events a decade ago, The Great Escaper tells the story of octogenarian Bernard Jordan’s escape from his care home to attend the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings in France.

Leading the cast are Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson in their final screen roles, following Caine’s recent retirement and Jackson’s passing this summer.

What did the reviews say?

“Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson are remarkable as a D-Day veteran and his wife in a charming tale … This should be a runaway hit.” ★★★★ – The Times

“A moving and surprisingly nuanced drama offering far more than flag-waving nostalgia. Superb performances from Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson ensure the latter’s final screen role is fittingly dignified.” ★★★★ – Empire


A Haunting in Venice

What’s it about?

Kenneth Branagh returns as Hercule Poirot for a third time, following 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express and 2022’s Death on the Nile.

The amazing ensemble cast this time around features Jamie Dornan (Belfast), Tina Fey (30 Rock), and Michelle Yeoh (Star Trek).

Set in post-World War II Venice on All Hallows’ Eve, A Haunting in Venice is based on Agatha Christie’s 1969 book Hallowe’en Party.

What did the reviews say?

“An adult-oriented crowd pleaser of the sort that seldom gets made any longer without superheroes being involved, and better than that, is quite entertaining, A Haunting in Venice extends 2023’s streak as the Year That Hollywood Lured Grown-Ups Back To Theaters.” – Variety

“Branagh’s back to basics chiller is his best Poirot yet.” ★★★★ – The Express

A Haunting in Venice is available on DVD.


The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die

What’s it about?

The fifth season of The Last Kingdom is followed by a one-off feature-length movie.

In The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die, Uhtred must ride once more across a fractured kingdom with several of the series’ much-loved returning characters, as they battle alongside, and against, new allies and enemies.

Set in the late 9th century AD, Netflix’s epic historical drama series is based on the Saxon Stories novels by Bernard Cornwell.

What did the reviews say?

“There’s a ton of plot packed into this standalone movie derived from the TV series, but the deluge of detail gets steadily more absorbing.” ★★★ – The Guardian

Seven Kings Must Die has under two hours to cover three entire books, making the result understandably overstuffed but also somehow under-filled. It’s a fond farewell to a beloved character that offers closure on the ‘will England be formed?’ question, but doesn’t feel like an essential chapter of this story.” – Den of Geek


Men Up

What’s it about?

From the makers of It’s a Sin, this funny and life-affirming one-off BBC TV movie is inspired by the remarkable true story of one of the world’s first medical trials for the drug that became Viagra in Swansea in the early 1990s.

Men Up stars Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones), Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk), Alexandra Roach (Sanditon), Joanna Page (Gavin & Stacey), and Katy Wix from Ghosts.

What did the reviews say?

“On paper, Men Up should have all the right ingredients for a solid, if unspectacular, piece of BBC drama: a quirky plot, a solid cast and a script ripe for cheeky innuendo. Its fundamental problem is that the characters just aren’t that interesting.” – The Standard

“The idea of men opening up is perhaps less revelatory today than it was in the present of the film… But if it’s dated and sentimental, it’s also a sincere, compassionate and uplifting note on which to end the year’s TV viewing.” ★★★ – Financial Times


The Miracle Club

What’s it about?

Downton Abbey legend Maggie Smith is joined Kathy Bates (Titanic), Laura Linney (The Big C), Agnes O’Casey (Ridley Road). and Stephen Rea (The Shadow Line) in this heartwarming drama set in 1960s Ireland.

The Miracle Club follows three close friends with a dream to visit the French town of Lourdes.

When’s it out?

“This is a lovely little film, a bit too packed with tragedies but nevertheless one that assures us human connection might be the greatest miracle of all … As you might expect, Smith, Bates and Linney are superb.” – Deadline

“…worth checking out for the ensemble alone.” – Variety

The Miracle Club is available on DVD.



What’s it about?

Gladiator director Ridley Scott’s latest epic explores Napoleon Bonaparte’s origins and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Joséphine.

Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator) leads the cast as Napoleon, with The Crown star Vanessa Kirby playing Empress Joséphine.

What did the reviews say?

“A proper, old-fashioned historical epic.” ★★★★ – BBC Culture

“Phoenix is the key to it all: a performance as robust as the glass of burgundy he knocks back: preening, brooding, seething and triumphing.” ★★★★★ – The Guardian


Peter Pan & Wendy

What’s it about?

Jude Law stars as Captain Hook in Peter Pan and Wendy.

A reimagining of the classic 1953 animated movie, based on J. M. Barrie’s 1904 play Peter Pan, Disney’s new live-action fantasy adventure film introduces Wendy Darling, a young girl afraid to leave her childhood home behind, who meets Peter Pan, a boy who refuses to grow up.

What did the reviews say?

Peter Pan & Wendy is the most beautiful, moving children’s film of the year … David Lowery’s take on JM Barrie’s classic is top-to-bottom wonderful.” ★★★★★The Telegraph

“David Lowery’s second Disney reimagining is artfully constructed and full of interesting ideas. But for a film about the energy and imagination of youth, it often feels trapped in its own head.” ★★★ – Empire


The Last Voyage of the Demeter

What’s it about?

Game of Thrones actors Liam Cunningham and Aisling Franciosi star in this new thriller based on a single chilling chapter from Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula.

The Last Voyage of the Demeter tells the terrifying story of the merchant ship Demeter, with strange events befalling the doomed crew as they attempt to survive the ocean voyage, stalked each night by a merciless presence onboard the ship.

What did the reviews say?

“A Dracula movie that’s intriguingly old-fashioned, until its conventional megaplex demon shows up.” – Variety

“I admire the ambition of this film, which blends elements of monster movies, slasher flicks, folk horror, and even Night of the Living Dead. And yet, I was unable to enjoy the ride for what it was, too caught up in where it might have gone.” – Mashable

The Last Voyage of the Demeter is available on DVD.


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

What’s it about?

Jim Broadbent (The Duke) and Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey) star in this feature adaptation of Rachel Joyce’s best-selling 2012 book about a man who leaves his seaside town in South Devon to deliver a message to an old friend.

What did the reviews say?

“This politely unassuming little film builds into a wrenching examination of grief, guilt and eventual closure.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

“One of those rare instances where the film is better than the book.” – The Spectator



What’s it about?

Paddington director Paul King helms this family movie based on the character of Willy Wonka, from Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Starring alongside Timothée Chalamet (The King) as the titular young inventor are Olivia Colman (The Crown), Jim Carter (Downton Abbey), Sally Hawkins (Paddington), Matt Lucas (Doctor Who), Mathew Baynton (Ghosts), and Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean).

What did the reviews say?

“An absolute Christmas treat; it’s spectacular, imaginative, sweet-natured and funny.” ★★★★★ – The Guardian

“It’s a delightful, daffy world, and a pleasure to spend time in.” ★★★★ – Empire

Wonka is available on DVD.


Take a look back at our list of 2022’s best British period drama movies here!