->''"The finest effort to reanimate the past is of course only approximative -- is always more or less an infusion of the modern spirit into the ancient form --"''
-->--'''Creator/GeorgeEliot''', ''SillyNovelsByLadyNovelists''

You know those things. Takes place in the past. Invites lavish production values like [[SceneryPorn art direction]] and [[GorgeousPeriodDress costumes]] -- and usually cinematography while you're at it. It's kind of hard to define what defines "period" films ''per se'' -- something that took place a decade ago could count, technically, but period pieces set in the very recent past are rare unless it's to poke fun at the era in question. Big budget period pieces are often dramas, frequently big epic ones, and take place at least thirty years ago.

Very often OscarBait. Sometimes it's based on literature that was contemporary when published, but feels like a purposesful attempt that recapture that era for new audiences. (Adaptations of the Brontė sisters, Creator/JaneAusten, or Creator/CharlesDickens are especially common.) Useful if the period predates a TropeBreaker.

TheBBC makes a lot of these, and Creator/{{PBS}} imports them wholesale. The BBC have sometimes even been accused of "falling back" on costume dramas when they've got into trouble for something or when the licence renewal is coming up and they need to show they can do some "proper" drama. That said, they're very ''good'' at making them: they usually garner a lot of praise, and the end result is packaged into box sets for sale during PBS pledge drives. As a side effect of their decades of PeriodPiece production, TheBBC has accumulated a vast stockpile of costumes and expertise, which is occasionally raided by sister shows such as ''Series/DoctorWho'' when they decide to do a historical episode.

More specific genres include SwordAndSandal, JidaiGeki and TheWestern.

Compare HistoricalFiction. Closely related to the CostumeDrama. Contrast UnintentionalPeriodPiece.

There's no real need for examples. Just about any show set in the past counts. You'd know one if you saw one. Some Tropers restrict this trope to "any show set in the past that could have been set in the present", but that ignores the fact that it's impossible for most period pieces to be set in the present day because the plot and the characters' motivations would be nonsensical due to ValuesDissonance. For example, setting ''PrideAndPrejudice'' in the present day as is would make the crisis (Wickham's eloping with Lydia) seem inconsequential and the reaction silly, since the ''entire point'' of the crisis is that if Lydia doesn't marry Wickham and clear the family name, the rest of the sisters will end up as impoverished old maids because no gentleman will marry them. That's the way life was in 1812. (Even further proved that, in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, they had to change Lydia's scandal to make the plotline work).

On the other end of the scale, if the story would make ''more'' sense set in the present because the characters exhibit modern values that's PurelyAestheticEra; if it's set around a specific event in the recent past, enough that the lack of distance from the era leads to sloppy set mistakes it's PresentDayPast.

Extra credit if they use the [[VanityPlate studio logo]] [[LogoJoke from the era the work is set in]].

[[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused with]] a piece about ''having'' a [[AllPeriodsArePMS period]]. Or a [[GrammarNazi period]].
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