Historical drama

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2004 filming of a 19th-century film scene set in London LondonSmog.jpg
2004 filming of a 19th-century film scene set in London

A historical drama (also period drama, costume drama, and period piece) is a work set in a past time period, usually used in the context of film and television. Historical drama includes historical fiction and romances, adventure films, and swashbucklers. A period piece may be set in a vague or general era such as the Middle Ages or a specific period such as the Roaring Twenties.

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Films set in historical times have always been some of the most popular works. D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation and Buster Keaton's The General are examples of popular early American works set during the U.S. Civil War. In different eras different subgenres have risen to popularity such as the westerns and sword and sandal films that dominated North American cinema in the 1950s.

The costume drama is often separated as a genre of historical dramas. Early critics defined them as films focusing on romance and relationships in sumptuous surroundings. Defining them against other historical dramas believed to have more serious themes. Other critics have defended costume dramas, and argued that they are disparaged because they are a genre directed towards women. [1] Historical dramas have also been described as a conservative genre, glorifying an imagined past that never existed. [2]

Historical accuracy

While historical drama is fiction, works may include references to real-life people or events from the relevant time period or contain factually accurate representations of the time period. Works may also include mostly-fictionalized narratives based on actual people or events, such as Braveheart , Les Misérables , and Titanic. [3]

Works that focus on accurately portraying specific historical events or persons are instead known as docudrama (such as The Report). Where a person's life is central to the story, such a work is known as biographical drama (examples being Frida , Cinderella Man and Lincoln).

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Related Research Articles

Cinema of the Soviet Union Film history of the Soviet Union

The cinema of the Soviet Union includes films produced by the constituent republics of the Soviet Union reflecting elements of their pre-Soviet culture, language and history, albeit they were all regulated by the central government in Moscow. Most prolific in their republican films, after the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, were Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, and, to a lesser degree, Lithuania, Belarus and Moldavia. At the same time, the nation's film industry, which was fully nationalized throughout most of the country's history, was guided by philosophies and laws propounded by the monopoly Soviet Communist Party which introduced a new view on the cinema, socialist realism, which was different from the one before or after the existence of the Soviet Union.

Film genre Classification of films based on similarities in narrative elements

A film genre is a stylistic or thematic category for motion pictures based on similarities either in the narrative elements, aesthetic approach, or the emotional response to the film.

War film Film genre depicting wars

War film is a film genre concerned with warfare, typically about naval, air, or land battles, with combat scenes central to the drama. It has been strongly associated with the 20th century. The fateful nature of battle scenes means that war films often end with them. Themes explored include combat, survival and escape, camaraderie between soldiers, sacrifice, the futility and inhumanity of battle, the effects of war on society, and the moral and human issues raised by war. War films are often categorized by their milieu, such as the Korean War; the most popular subject is the Second World War. The stories told may be fiction, historical drama, or biographical. Critics have noted similarities between the Western and the war film.

Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Although the term is commonly used as a synonym for the historical novel, it can also be applied to other types of narrative, including theatre, opera, cinema, and television, as well as video games and graphic novels.

Genre fiction, also known as popular fiction, is a term used in the book-trade for fictional works written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre, in order to appeal to readers and fans already familiar with that genre.

Literary genre Category of literary composition

A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even length. They generally move from more abstract, encompassing classes, which are then further sub-divided into more concrete distinctions. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, and even the rules designating genres change over time and are fairly unstable.

Romance film Film genre

Romance films or romance movies are romantic love stories recorded in visual media for broadcast in theaters and on TV that focus on passion, emotion, and the affectionate romantic involvement of the main characters and the journey that their love takes them through dating, courtship or marriage. Romance films make the romantic love story or the search for strong and pure love and romance the main plot focus. Occasionally, romance lovers face obstacles such as finances, physical illness, various forms of discrimination, psychological restraints or family that threaten to break their union of love. As in all quite strong, deep, and close romantic relationships, tensions of day-to-day life, temptations, and differences in compatibility enter into the plots of romantic films.

Epic film style of filmmaking with large scale, sweeping scope, and spectacle

Epic films are a style of filmmaking with large scale, sweeping scope, and spectacle. The usage of the term has shifted over time, sometimes designating a film genre and at other times simply synonymous with big-budget filmmaking. Like epics in the classical literary sense it is often focused on a heroic character. An epic's ambitious nature helps to set it apart from other types of film such as the period piece or adventure film.

Adventure fiction Genre of fiction in which an adventure forms the main storyline

Adventure fiction is a genre of fiction that usually presents danger, or gives the reader a sense of excitement.

Regency novel

The Regency period in the United Kingdom is the period between 1811 and 1820, when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, later George IV, was instated to be his proxy as Prince Regent. It was a decade of particular manners and fashions, and overlaps with the Napoleonic period in Europe.

Heritage film is a critical term as opposed to a film genre label used by the film industry or filmmakers themselves. It initially referred to a cluster or cycle of late 20th-century British films that were argued to depict the United Kingdom of the pre-World War II decades in a nostalgic fashion. However, this original polemic use has broadened out, and the term is now also used more loosely to refer to period films with high-quality visual production values, including those produced in France, other European countries and beyond.

In film and television, drama is a category of narrative fiction intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. Drama of this kind is usually qualified with additional terms that specify its particular super-genre, macro-genre, or micro-genre, such as soap opera, police crime drama, political drama, legal drama, historical drama, domestic drama, teen drama, and comedy-drama (dramedy). These terms tend to indicate a particular setting or subject-matter, or else they qualify the otherwise serious tone of a drama with elements that encourage a broader range of moods.

Space opera Subgenre of science fiction

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, chivalric romance, and risk-taking. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it usually involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music, as in a traditional opera, but is instead a play on the terms "soap opera", a melodramatic television series, and "horse opera", which was coined during the 1930s to indicate a clichéd and formulaic Western movie. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, television, and video games.

Sageuk

Sageuk in Korean denotes historical dramas, including traditional drama plays, films or television series. In English language literature sageuk usually refers to historical films and television series. In North Korea, South Korean historical dramas are generally called 고전 영화 or classic film.

Western Romance literature denotes a genre subset of Romance literature, sometimes referred to as cowboy romance. Works within this category typically adhere to the characteristics of Romance but take place in a western setting, frequently the American frontier. Though often historical, the genre is not restricted to romantic works set in the period of American settlement but extends to contemporary romantic works that centre around cowboys or other tropes of the western genre.

References

  1. Annette Kuhn; Guy Westwell (21 June 2012). A Dictionary of Film Studies. OUP Oxford. pp. 98–. ISBN   978-0-19-103465-7.
  2. Robé, Chris. “Taking Hollywood Back: The Historical Costume Drama, the Biopic, and Popular Front U.S. Film Criticism.” Cinema Journal, vol. 48, no. 2, 2009, pp. 70–87. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20484449. Accessed 29 July 2020.
  3. Niemi, Robert (2013-10-17). Inspired by True Events: An Illustrated Guide to More Than 500 History-Based Films, 2nd Edition: An Illustrated Guide to More Than 500 History-Based Films. ABC-CLIO. ISBN   9781610691987.