"Admitting that genius which has familiarized itself with all the relics of an ancient period can sometimes, by the force of its sympathetic divination, restore the missing notes in the "music of humanity," and reconstruct the fragments into a whole which will really bring the remote past nearer to us, and interpret it to our duller apprehension,–this form of imaginative power must always be among the very rarest, because it demands as much accurate and minute knowledge as creative vigour."This is fiction set in a distinctive historical period other than the one the author lives in, which brushes up against actual historical figures if it doesn't star them outright. Depending on the bent of said author, they may let their biases bleed through via Historical Hero Upgrade or Historical Villain Upgrade. A Historical Beauty Update will make the story more fun without making it much less accurate. Important historical events are at least mentioned in passing if they don't have a strong influence on the plot. Deliberate Values Dissonance is frequent for historical accuracy. Often, the period predates a Trope Breaker (though sometimes the audience doesn't realize that). This may overlap with Alternate History if the history is shown to play out differently and Historical Fantasy if fantastic elements are present. Compare to Period Piece, which uses the past as a backdrop for the drama, while Historical Fiction is fiction in which historical events significantly affect the plot. Historical Detective Fiction is a common subgenre. Usually it includes one or more Historical Domain Characters, and may commonly employ Artistic License when the author feels the story is more important than accuracy. Compare and contrast Field Trip to the Past and Adventures in the Bible, in which characters from the present day go back in time to experience history.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
See also Jidai Geki.
- Anatolia Story, set in the Hittite Empire.
- Le Chevalier d'Eon, set in 18th-century Europe.
- Claudine...!, set in France in the first decade of the 20th century.
- Evyione Ocean Fantasy, set in 18th-century Europe.
- Golden Kamuy, set in early 1900s Imperial Japan, specifically the northern island of Hokkaido.
- Haikara San Ga Tooru, set in Imperial Japan, in 1923.
- Historie, set in the time of Alexander the Great.
- Honey Honey no Suteki na Bouken, set in Vienna, 1907.
- Kasei Yakyoku, set in Imperial Japan of The Roaring '20s
- Kaze to Ki no Uta, set 1880s France.
- Kingdom, set in China, during the Warring States Period.
- Mademoiselle Butterfly, set in the 1930s with geishas.
- Peacemaker Kurogane covers the pre-Meiji period from The Shinsengumi point of view.
- Rose of Versailles, set in pre-revolutionary France.
- Rurouni Kenshin, set in the early Meiji period.
- Sakura Gari, set in the Taishou Era, more exactly in 1920.
- Sengoku Strays, set in the Sengoku era.
- Shut Hell, set in the early 13th century, during Genghis Khan's time.
- Sidooh, set in the mid-to-late 1800's, during the chaos of the Bakumatsu Era.
- Vinland Saga chronicles the rise to power of Cnut the Great in the Viking Age, amongst other things.
- Innocents Shounen Juujigun, set in 13th-century France and focusing on the Crusades.
- Ookami no Kuchi: Wolfsmund, set in early 14th-century Switzerland and focusing on the Swiss war of independence against the Habsburgs.
- From Hell by Alan Moore is an impeccably researched depiction of Victorian London during the Jack the Ripper murders. It mixes historical fiction and accurate detail with Conspiracy Kitchen Sink.
- The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, by Don Rosa, sets its main character in various decades from the 1870s to the 1940s, featuring such characters as Murdo Mac Kenzie, Wyatt Earp, and Theodore Roosevelt.
- Maus by Art Spiegelman is more like non-fiction. It documents the experiences of Vladek Spiegelman, the author's father, during The Holocaust.
- Gustav Vasa set in 16th-century Sweden.
- Three is set in Sparta in the fourth century BC. It features some Historical Domain Characters, but the plot itself is fictional.
- Les Aigles de Rome is about the Battle of Teutoburg Forest where several Roman legions were destroyed by a Germanic uprising. Numerous characters really did exist (such as Arminius), while others are fictitious.
- The Uplifted series is this. Especially the first trilogy, which takes place during World War II.
- 1492: Conquest of Paradise, about Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America to the Europeans.
- Aguirre, the Wrath of God, set in South America during the Age of Exploration.
- Around the World in 80 Days (2004): Set in Victorian London. The movie has Lord Kelvin as Big Bad with Historical Villain Upgrade. Cameos include Vincent van Gogh, Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec, Queen Victoria, Wong Fei-hung, the Wright Brothers, and even the Statue of Liberty!
- Barry Lyndon set during the War of the Austrian Succession and Georgian England.
- Ben-Hur, set during Jesus' lifetime.
- Cartouche, about a famous French highwayman of the early 18th century.
- Centurion, depicts a possible fate of the Legio IX Hispania - the legendary Ninth Legion that mysteriously disappeared from Roman records in the early second century AD.
- The Children of An Lac, a film depicting two American women assisting a courageous Vietnamese orphanage caretaker evacuate hundreds of orphaned children to the United States shortly before the fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War.
- The Emigrants/The New Land, depicting the story of a Swedish family's taking part in the beginning of the Swedish migration to the upper Midwest in the 1850's.
- Ever After, during the French Renaissance. Complete with Leonardo da Vinci (and the Mona Lisa).
- Forrest Gump inserts the title character at various points in American history from Elvis Presley to Hurricane Camille.
- From Hell: Adapted from the comic (see above).
- Gangs of New York, set just before the Civil War draft riots, which break out during the climax.
- Gladiator, set during Commodus' reign.
- Gone with the Wind, set during the Civil War and featuring an iconic burning of Atlanta.
- Hacksaw Ridge, The infamous story of a conscientious objector who served as a combat medic on Okinawa during World War II.
- The Handmaiden, set during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1930s.
- Inglourious Basterds, set during World War II.
- Invictus, set in South Africa, in the early years of Nelson Mandela's administration.
- Iron Will, a young musher sets out on a quest to save his family farm by winning a sled dog race through the Minnesota wilderness during World War I.
- Kundun, set in Tibet in the youth of the Dalai Lama.
- The Last Emperor, a biography of the Emperor Pu Yi, chronicles Chinese history in the 20th century.
- The Last King of Scotland is about Ugandan dictator Idi Amin during The '70s.
- The Leopard, set during the Wars of Italian Independence
- Lincoln, set during The American Civil War and the final days of Abraham Lincoln.
- Marketa Lazarová, set during the High Middle Ages, particularly towards the end of the 13th century.
- Master and Commander, set during The Napoleonic Wars.
- The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, dramatization of the life of Joan of Arc.
- Mississippi Burning, two investigators descend on a racist-ridden Mississippi town investigating the murders of three Civil Rights activists.
- North Face, about the 1936 attempt to climb the north face of the Eiger, a mountain in Switzerland.
- Pearl Harbor. Unlike other Pearl Harbor movies, you have to sit through Developing Doomed Characters first.
- The Promise (2016), set during the Ottoman Empire's involvement in World War I and the Armenian genocide.
- The Raven Trilogy set in and around, Viking age Iceland
- Quo Vadis, set during Nero's reign.
- Red Cliff: set in 208 AD in China, during the period of the end of Eastern Han Dynasty.
- The Robe, set during the reigns of Tiberius and Caligula.
- A Royal Affair, set in 18th-century Denmark, following the love affair of Queen Caroline Matilda and Dr Johann Struensee, her husband's advisor
- The Secret Garden, set in Edwardian England where a ten-year-old girl is sent to live with her bitterly widowed uncle at his manor in the country after her parents are killed in an earthquake.
- Silence set in Japan during the Edo Era chronicling the failure of a Portuguese Jesuit mission.
- Spartacus, a retelling of Spartacus' revolt.
- Sweaty Beards, set in 10th-century Sweden.
- Titanic (1997), set during the 1912 sinking of the famous ship.
- U-571, set during World War II.
- Valhalla Rising, a group of vikings and Christian crusaders accidentally end up in the Americas in 1000 AD.
- The Vikings, Viking raids in Northumbria in the 9th century.
- Wang De Sheng Yan AKA The Last Supper, portraying the rise to power of Gaozu, the first Han emperor, and his last days.
- Young Mr. Lincoln, set during the early years of Abraham Lincoln.
- Zodiac, a Docudrama about the unidentified Serial Killer, Zodiac Killer. Set from The '60s to The '80s, while the final single scene is set in an early 90's.
Live Action TV
See also Historical Series.
- Anne with an E, although based on a contemporary novel series, there is a LOT of notable recentism inserted into this series.
- Blackadder, with each of its four seasons taking place at a different time in British history.
- Bomb Girls: Canadian drama set during World War II.
- The Caesars, an earlier treatment of Julian emperors.
- Copper is a police drama set in 1864 New York.
- Doctor Who occasionally slips into this, and uses Time Travel to land in the periods of historical figures such as Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and Vincent van Gogh. Of course, its not a straight Historical Fiction, considering the aliens, space-ships, and 'mythological' creatures, but then when was the show's genre ever easily defined?
- Dong Yi, set in late 17th-century Korea during the reign of King Sukjong.
- Faith, Korean fantasy/historical/medical 24 episode series.
- Fall of Eagles Mini Series dealing with the collapse of empires of Austro-Hungary, Imperial Germany and Russia.
- I, Claudius, a biography of the Julian emperors up to Claudius based on a duology by Robert Graves.
- Isabel, based upon the reign of Queen Isabella I of Castile the Catholic.
- "Land Girls", World War Two drama following women serving in the British civilian Women's Land Army.
- Masada, based upon the historical siege of the Masada citadel in Israel by legions of the The Roman Empire in AD 73.
- Medici a Renaissance era series, showing the ascendance of the powerful Medici family in Florence.
- Mercy Street a PBS series that tells the story of a Union hospital in occupied Alexandria during the height of The American Civil War.
- My Place is probably the most ambitious example for Australian history. Starts in 2008 and travels back to pre-1788. Each episode is set in the same location, but a different decade, often with many of the same characters.
- North and South (Trilogy), a three-part miniseries based upon the novels by John Jakes, set during and after The American Civil War.
- Peaky Blinders takes place in post World War I Birmingham.
- The Pinkertons is set in Kansas City just after The American Civil War.
- Princess Returning Pearl, a Chinese series set in the Qing dynasty in the time of Emperor Qian Long. It tells the Mistaken Identity story of Xiao Yan Zi, an orphan living in Beijing and Zi Wei, the illegitimate daughter of the emperor.
- The Roman Mysteries The Roman Mysteries is a historical Detective Drama series set in the 1st century AD of The Roman Empire.
- Rome is the rise of the Julian dynasty from the perspective of Those Two Guys.
- Tales of the Gold Monkey: Two-Fisted Tales in the South Pacific in the years before World War II.
- Versailles, a French-British series about the court and reign of King Louis XIV of France.
- X Company is set in 1942 during World War Two.
- Young Indiana Jones is about a younger Indiana Jones experiencing various historical events and meeting many famous people in the early 20th century, especially World War I.
- Aviary Attorney is set in Paris in 1848 (or at least a World of Funny Animals version thereof), and includes some of the events of the February Revolution.
- The Assassin's Creed franchise uses Conspiracy Kitchen Sink as an Excuse Plot to indulge in recreations of actual historical events, places and figures.
- Assassin's Creed I is set during The Crusades.
- Assassin's Creed II and its sequels Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations are set during The Renaissance.
- Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed III: Liberation are set during The American Revolution.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry are set during The Golden Age of Piracy
- Assassin's Creed: Rogue is set during the Seven Years' War.
- Assassin's Creed: Unity is set during The French Revolution.
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is set in Victorian Britain.
- Assassin's Creed Origins is set in Ancient Egypt.
- Bioshock Infinite is a fantastic steampunk recreation of America in the Presidency of William McKinley.
- Like many World War II games, Call of Duty recreates actual battles of World War II, some with more accuracy than others.
- Dynasty Warriors: Loose adaptation of Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel, which in turn is Historical Fiction Literature depicting events during the end of Eastern Han Dynasty (189-220 AD) and Three Kingdoms period in ancient China (220-280 AD).
- The Imperivm franchise recreates the old times of Rome.
- The Invisible Hours, an Environmental Narrative Game set in Christie Time.
- Kingdom Come: Deliverance is set circa 1403 in the Kingdom of Bohemia as Civil War breaks out.
- L.A. Noire recreates Los Angeles in the 50s and involves actual historical figures and real-life events such as the Black Dahlia murder as part of its plot.
- Nobunaga's Ambition: Set during Sengoku Jidai.
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms: same as Dynasty Warriors except it's mostly a strategy game.
- Samurai Warriors: Set during Sengoku Jidai.
- Total War
- An American Tail, though taking place in a Mouse World, mirrors what life was like for immigrants in New York during the 1880's.
- Liberty's Kids, set in The American Revolution.
- Princess Sissi, a German series that takes a lot of liberties with the story of Elizabeth of Bavaria's life.