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A historical period drama (also known as a historical drama, period drama, costume drama, or period piece) is a work of art set in, or reminiscent of, an earlier time period. The term is usually used in the context of film and television. It is an informal crossover term that can apply to several genres but is most often heard in the context of historical fiction and romances, adventure films, and swashbucklers. The implication is that the audience is attracted as much by the lavish costumes as by the narrative and performances. In the performing arts, a period piece is a work set in a particular era. This informal term covers all countries, all periods and all genres. It may be as long and general as the medieval era or as limited as one decade—the Roaring Twenties, for example.
Historical drama film stories are based upon historical events and famous people. Some historical dramas take the form of a docudrama, which is a style of drama which attempts an accurate portrayal of a historical event or biography, to the degree that the available historical research will allow. Other historical dramas are fictionalized tales that are based on one or more actual persons and their deeds, such as Braveheart (1995), which is loosely based on the 13th-century knight William Wallace's fight to protect Scotland's independence.
The most common type of period piece is the historical period piece, both on stage and in movies. This category includes Robin Hood (1953), Barry Lyndon (1975), Amadeus (1984), The Young Victoria (2009), and From Hell (2001). Films that are set in the 1930s and 1940s, such as Last Man Standing (1996), can also be placed in this category. Other examples include Marie Antoinette (1938), Middle march (1994), and Pride and Prejudice (1995).
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