Watch 10 Period Dramas Free Online

Last Updated on November 17, 2021

There’s big news: Willow and Thatch has a YouTube Channel. 

Because you love period dramas like those from the BBC, ITV and PBS Masterpiece, Willow and Thatch has curated thousands (yes, thousands) of videos with movie reviews, best-of lists, and behind-the-scenes looks that go beyond the shows. Alongside the interviews with the stars and producers, there are commentaries from film critics and historians. There are also scenes, featurettes, and official trailers of your favorite, and upcoming costume historical period dramas. 

All the videos are neatly organized into playlists to help you discover family-friendly television mini-series, British films, and the top period movies set in Medieval, Tudor, Stuart, Georgian, Regency, Victorian, Edwardian, First World War eras and beyond.  

The Willow and Thatch YouTube Channel even offers full period movies to watch for free online. Only licensed material / legal uploads are included, so you can stream online for free without the guilt. Phew!

Visit the channel often to see more full-length period dramas, all the amazing curated content in the playlists. Remember that you can subscribe to stay updated with new uploads, and please be in touch with suggestions for additional playlists. This channel is for you.

Here are 10 full-length period movies and episodes that are featured on the Willow and Thatch YouTube Channel right now.

The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933)

King Henry VIII marries five more times after his divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon: Renowned for his excess, King Henry VIII (Charles Laughton) goes through a series of wives during his rule. With Anne Boleyn (Merle Oberon), his second wife, executed on charges of treason, King Henry weds maid Jane Seymour (Wendy Barrie), but that marriage also ends in tragedy. Not one to be single for long, the king picks German-born Anne of Cleves (Elsa Lanchester) as his bride, but their union lasts only months before an annulment is granted, and King Henry continues his string of spouses.

“Charles Laughton gulps beer and chomps on mutton, in his first of many iconic screen roles, as King Henry VIII, the ultimate anti-husband. Alexander Korda’s first major international success is a raucous, entertaining, even poignant peek into the boudoirs of the infamous king and his six wives.” – Criterion Collection

Directed by Alexander Korda, this was the first non-US film to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination.

Courage to Love (2000)

In pre-Civil War New Orleans, Vanessa Williams portrays the beautiful African-American daughter of a wealthy plantation owner and his kept mistress. Fighting her family’s wishes, society’s rules and rampant racism. she rejects the traditions of an arranged marriage and sets out on a journey fraught with danger and forbidden desires. This inspiring true story of heroism and love illuminates the extraordinary life of Henriette Dalille, the first African-American Saint.

Starring Vanessa Williams, Gil Bellows, Karen Williams, Lisa Bronwyn Moore, David La Haye, Cynda Williams, Diahann Carroll, Stacy Keach.

Rated PG-13 and Dove “Family-Approved” for ages 12+.

Cyrano De Bergerac (1950)

Set in seventeenth-century Paris: Poet, romantic and sword fighter Cyrano de Bergerac loves the beautiful Roxane, but although he is proud enough of his bulbous proboscis that he regularly duels those who dare mock it, he fears she could never love a man with such an enormous nose. When he learns that she loves the handsome guardsman Christian, Cyrano provides the tongue-tied young man with the words of love and devotion he wishes he could say to Roxanne himself.

José Ferrer received the Academy Award for Best Actor for his starring performance as Cyrano de Bergerac, the charismatic swordsman-poet with the absurd nose and “crowned with the white plume freedom”. This film adaptation directed by Michael Gordon of the 1897 French Alexandrine verse drama by Edmond Rostand, uses poet Brian Hooker’s 1923 English blank verse translation as the basis for its screenplay.

Starring Jose Ferrer, Mala Powers, William Prince.

Not rated.

The Little Princess (1939)

A poor but proud girl searches army hospitals for her father, reported dead in the Boer War: Shirley Temple’s first Technicolor feature, The Little Princess was inspired by the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Set in turn-of-the-century England, the film finds Temple being enrolled in a boarding school by her wealthy widowed father (Ian Hunter), who must head off to fight in the Boer War. At first, Temple is treated like royalty and while her behavior couldn’t be more down to earth, but this preferential treatment foments resentment. When her father is reported killed in the war, circumstances are severely altered.

Starring Shirley Temple, Richard Greene, Anita Louise, Ian Hunter, Cesar Romero.

Rated G

Jamaica Inn (1939)

Set in the Georgian era in Cornwall in 1819. After the death of her mother, young Mary (Maureen O’Hara) travels to the Cornish coast seeking her Aunt Patience (Marie Ney). Stranded on a windswept, isolated road, Mary meets Humphrey Pengallan (Charles Laughton), who kindly escorts her to the Jamaica Inn. There, Mary meets her aunt and bullying uncle, Merlyn Joss (Leslie Banks) — who secretly leads a band of pirates that pilfers the goods from wrecked ships. Suspicious, Mary turns to Pengallan for help, only to discover another dark secret.

Based on the classic novel by Daphne du Maurier.

Not rated.

The Last Time I saw Paris (1954)

Set during the Second World War era. A writer recalls his turbulent marriage to an expatriate heiress.

Richard Brooks directed this adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald story.

Starring Elizabeth Taylor as Helen Ellswirth, Van Johnson as Charles Wills, Walter Pidgeon as James Ellswirth, Donna Reed as Marion Ellswirth, Eva Gabor as Lorraine Quarl, Kurt Kasznar as Maurice, George Dolenz as Claude Matine, Roger Moore as Paul, Sandy Descher as Vicki, Celia Lovsky as Mama, Peter Leeds as Barney, John Doucette as Campbell and Odette Myrtil as Singer.

Not rated.

The Strange Woman (1946)

Isaiah (Gene Lockhart), a 19th-century businessman, has his eye on the beautiful and very young Jenny (Hedy Lamarr). Finally of age, she accepts his marriage proposal, but their love affair quickly turns sour. Ephraim (Louis Hayward), Isaiah’s college-age son, comes for a visit, immediately striking up a chemistry with Jenny. She promises marriage — if he murders his father first. But Jenny also swoons for John (George Sanders), the fiancé of her best friend, Meg (Hillary Brooke).

This classic film noir movie is set in 1824.

Starring Hedy Lamarr, George Sanders, Louis Hayward.

Not rated.

Honeydripper (2007)

Faced with mounting debts and stiff competition from a rival nightclub and its newfangled jukebox, small-town Alabama club owner Tyrone Purvis and his partner Maceo book rhythm-and-blues star Guitar Sam to save their failing venue, the Honeydripper. But when Sam doesn’t show up on the appointed day, Tyrone must resort to increasingly desperate measures in his struggle to secure a last-minute replacement and keep the Honeydripper from closing its doors. – Roger Ebert

Set in 1950 in Alabama and directed by John Sayles.

Starring Danny Glover, LisaGay Hamilton, Yaya DaCosta, Charles S. Dutton, Vondie Curtis-Hall.

Rated PG-13

A Farewell to Arms (1932) 

An American serving in World War I falls for a spirited nurse: Frederic Henry (Gary Cooper), an American driving ambulances for the Italian Army during World War I, falls for British Red Cross nurse Catherine Barkley (Helen Hayes), to the displeasure of jealous commanding officer Major Rinaldi (Adolphe Menjou), who transfers Catherine to a different hospital out of spite. But after Frederic is injured on the battlefield, he is evacuated to Catherine’s new hospital in Milan, and the star-crossed lovers begin their romance anew.

Adapted from the Ernest Hemingway 1929 novel of the same name and directed by Frank Borzage.

Not rated.

Angel and the Bad Man (1947) 

Set in the 19th-century in the American frontier, Angel and the Bad Man is a bad-boy and good-girl romance story. It may be a western, but ultimately this is a feel-good movie and a study in pacifism and doing the right thing.

Quirt Evans (John Wayne), a cowboy on the run, is injured when his horse stumbles near a Quaker family’s land. The family takes him in as he regains his health, and he falls for their young daughter, Penelope (Gail Russell). As Quirt falls deeper in love and becomes accustomed to the family’s peaceful ways, his violent past starts to catch up to him. Eventually he is forced to decide whether it is worth letting go of his turbulent former life for his future with Penelope. Also in the cast is Harry Carey Sr., Bruce Cabot, Irene Rich and Lee Dixon.

Rated PG.

Jane Eyre (1934)

Jane Eyre is an orphan who was raised by her aunt until she came to Thornfield Hall as governess to the young ward of Edward Rochester. But Jane is attracted by the intelligent and energetic Sir Rochester, a man of almost twice her age. But just when Sir Rochester seems to pay attention to her, he invites the beautiful and wealthy Blanche Ingram to stay at his house.

Set in the Victorian era and based on the 1847 novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, this is the first Jane Eyre adaptation to use sound.

Starring Virginia Bruce as Jane Eyre and Colin Clive as Edward Rochester.

Not rated.

Want to stream more full period dramas online for free? Then head on over to the Willow and Thatch YouTube Channel – it’s always on, and always period!


3 Comments on Watch 10 Period Dramas Free Online

  1. Rhoda
    November 17, 2021 at 12:11 am (1 year ago)

    Love the little princess.❤️❤️

  2. Mary Ann Albert
    November 20, 2016 at 9:59 am (6 years ago)

    Wonderful website

  3. Howforwardsale
    November 19, 2016 at 2:32 pm (6 years ago)

    Thank you for the gifts. I’m especially interested in the Strange Woman (1946).


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