Highest-grossing period films | Entertainment News
Hollywood has always had a penchant for telling the story, romanticizing real events, and subtly shaping the narrative into something we can learn from or aspire to. That’s exactly what one of the first feature films, “Birth of a Nation”, does.
Filmed in 1915, the film begins with the end of the Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln – an event that took place some 50 years before the film was released in the 1910s – then turns into a fantasy about the how the Ku Klux Klan was a heroic force, essential to preserving “American values”. While not all period films are equally harmful or blatantly racist, almost all fall into the trap of romanticizing periods or events that are long past.
Idealization, of course, is not always a bad thing. Many of us turn to movies as an escape from our daily lives. Coupled with the nostalgia we often feel for the past (even a past we ourselves never knew), and you have the recipe for the perfect, profitable project.
Giggster ranked the 10 highest-grossing period plays using data from The Numbers national box office. For this classification, period pieces are considered films set in a historical period relative to when they were shot. This ranking also focuses on films grounded in reality – historical films with fantasy or supernatural elements were generally excluded from this ranking. Films are sorted by their inflation-adjusted domestic gross.
You’ll notice that seven of these films were released in the seven years between 1997 and 2004, solidifying the late 1990s and early 2000s as something of a golden age for period films. Those of us who enjoy a good period drama can only hope that the recent wave of historical hits – with 2019’s “Little Women” and 2021’s “Belfast” and “West Side Story” – indicates that we are at the dawn of another golden era.