Costume drama
A costume drama or period drama is a period piece
Period piece
-Setting: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...

 in which elaborate costume
The term costume can refer to wardrobe and dress in general, or to the distinctive style of dress of a particular people, class, or period. Costume may also refer to the artistic arrangement of accessories in a picture, statue, poem, or play, appropriate to the time, place, or other circumstances...

s, set
Set construction
Set construction is the process by which a set designer works in collaboration with the director of a production to create the set for a theatrical, film or television production...

s and properties
Theatrical property
A theatrical property, commonly referred to as a prop, is an object used on stage by actors to further the plot or story line of a theatrical production. Smaller props are referred to as "hand props". Larger props may also be set decoration, such as a chair or table. The difference between a set...

 are featured in order to capture the ambiance of a particular era.

The term is usually used in the context of film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 and television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

. It is an informal, crossover term that can apply to several genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

s but is most often heard in the context of historical drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

s and romance
Romance film
Romance films are love stories that focus on passion, emotion, and the affectionate involvement of the main characters and the journey that their love takes through courtship or marriage. Romance films make the love story or the search for love the main plot focus...

s, adventure film
Adventure film
Adventure films are a genre of film.Unlike pure, low-budget action films they often use their action scenes preferably to display and explore exotic locations in an energetic way....

s and swashbuckler
Swashbuckler or swasher is a term that emerged in the 16th century and has been used for rough, noisy and boastful swordsmen ever since. A possible explanation for this term is that it derives from a fighting style using a side-sword with a buckler in the off-hand, which was applied with much...

s. The implication is that the audience is attracted as much by the lavish costumes as by the content.

The most common type of costume drama is the historical costume drama, both on stage and in movies. This category includes Barry Lyndon
Barry Lyndon
Barry Lyndon is a 1975 British-American period romantic war film produced, written, and directed by Stanley Kubrick based on the 1844 novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray which recounts the exploits of an 18th century Irish adventurer...

, Braveheart
Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical drama war film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. The film was written for the screen and then novelized by Randall Wallace...

, From Hell
From Hell (film)
From Hell is a 2001 American crime drama horror mystery film directed by the Hughes brothers. It is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell about the Jack the Ripper murders.-Plot:...

, and Robin Hood
Robin Hood (1953 TV series)
Robin Hood was produced in 1953 by the BBC, during which time these episodes were transmitted live and then re-acted the following Saturday or Sunday in order for a repeat to be shown...

. Films that are set in the 1930s and 1940s, such as Last Man Standing
Last Man Standing (film)
Last Man Standing is a 1996 action film written and directed by Walter Hill, starring Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, and Bruce Dern. It is a credited remake of the Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo.- Plot :...

, may also be placed in this category. Other examples include Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette (1938 film)
Marie Antoinette is a 1938 film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed by W. S. Van Dyke and starred Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette...

, Middlemarch
Middlemarch (1994 TV serial)
George Eliot's novel Middlemarch has been adapted for television twice. The most recent version in 1994 was directed by Anthony Page from a screenplay by Andrew Davies...

, and Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice (1995 TV serial)
Pride and Prejudice is a six-episode 1995 British television drama, adapted by Andrew Davies from Jane Austen's 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice. Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth starred as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Produced by Sue Birtwistle and directed by Simon Langton, the serial was a BBC...


There have been highly successful television series that have been known as Costume Dramas/Period Pieces. Notable examples include Mad Men
Mad Men
Mad Men is an American dramatic television series created and produced by Matthew Weiner. The series premiered on Sunday evenings on the American cable network AMC and are produced by Lionsgate Television. It premiered on July 19, 2007, and completed its fourth season on October 17, 2010. Each...

, Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey is a British television period drama series, produced by NBC Universal-owned British media company Carnival Films for the ITV network. The series is set during the late Edwardian era and the First World War on the fictional estate of Downton Abbey in Yorkshire, and features an...

, Deadwood
Deadwood may refer to:in geography*Deadwood, Alberta, hamlet in Alberta, Canada*Deadwood, California , several unincorporated communities in California, United States*Deadwood, Oregon, unincorporated community in Oregon, United States...

, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Little House on the Prairie
Little House on the Prairie
Little House is a series of children's books by Laura Ingalls Wilder that was published originally between 1932 and 1943, with four additional books published posthumously, in 1962, 1971, 1974 and 2006.-History:...

, and Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks is an American teen comedy-drama television series, created by Paul Feig and executive produced by Judd Apatow, that aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 television season...

. There have been shows that used the effects of a costume drama/period piece because it is set in a particular era of time but, although this is true the focus of these shows are actually based around a different genre. Examples of these are Xena: Warrior Princess
Xena: Warrior Princess
Xena: Warrior Princess is an American–New Zealand supernatural fantasy adventure series that aired in syndication from September 4, 1995 until June 18, 2001....

, Legend of the Seeker
Legend of the Seeker
Legend of the Seeker is a television series based on The Sword of Truth novels by Terry Goodkind. Distributed in U.S. by Disney-ABC Domestic Television, ABC Studios produced the series, which was its first foray into broadcast syndication, with Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, Joshua Donen, Ned Nalle and...

, and That 70's Show.

External links

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