We recognize that a lot of you would rather watch a film than read a book (sigh), so here is a short list of rather amazing films you may find inspiring for Victoriana.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Directed by Francis Ford Copola
Not quite what the title says, but still a great film for atmosphere, sets and costumes - some of the accents are quite special too. There are plenty of versions of this classic story; however this version (being a lot costlier) does have a lot more period detail.

Broken Blossoms

In this classic silent film a Limestone chinaman befriends an abused lower class girl with tragic consequences. The bigotry of the characters is presented with horrifying detail, as much as the sensitive moments will have you in tears. Lillian Gish's performance is both harrowing and incredible in equal measure. You'll never see silent films in the same way again.

Charge of the Light Brigade

A 1968 film depicting the tragedy at Balaclava during the Crimean war. A rather good film.

Daniel Dreonda

This film version of George Elliot's book is worth seeing just as an adaptation of the novel. However, the costumes for it are extremely well done and excellent for Victoriana's slightly advanced fashion timeline.

First Men on the Moon

This film is loosely based on the HG Wells classic. It is an enjoyable film in its own right, but hardly faithful to the book.

From Hell

Johnny Depp stars as Inspector Abberline in this excellent and atmospheric film based on the Jack the Ripper murders and the royal links attributed to the case. The movie lacks just about all of Moore's investigation into the Masonic magic and power, but as a Jack the Ripper movie it isn't too bad.

The Illusionist

While verging on Edwardian, this film is still appropriate for Victoriana. After all, what if the magic was all real? Apart from the stylish magic shown this film also points out the vast gulf between the classes.

Jack the Ripper (Thames TV version)

Made for British TV, stars Michael Caine. A mini-series of film length episodes, this is an excellent Victorian genre 'docudrama' — watch it!

Jekyll & Hyde (Thames TV version)

After the success of Jack the ripper, Thames TV did Dr. Jekyll as a follow up single film. Also starring Michael Caine with Cheryl Ladd. Again costume, set, everything is spot on - including the English actors English accents.

Kind Hearts and Coronets

While again a little out of the period, this film is a wonderful primer on extreme social mobility. Alec Guinness plays the entire D'Ascoyne family brilliantly as Dennis Price spends the film killing off the relatives who stand between him and the family title.


This silent film by Fritz Lang is a masterwork of science fiction as well as cinema. Much of the original print is lost and destroyed, but there is still enough of this amazing film to be worth watching. While the science fiction element is outside the purview of Victoriana, the film is a strong metaphor for the potential horror of mass industrialization. The difference in the lives of the rich and the poor is also excellent material for the class struggle in Victoriana.

The Prestige

Another Edwardian film, but we will forgive the date for the brilliant combination of science and magic. Two stage magicians fight for revenge using illusion and a lack of morality. A terrifying study of what revenge, hate and obsession can drive people to do.

Prisoner of Zenda

Many cinema versions, many TV versions. The recommended version is the Peter Sellers comedy version. Mr. Sellers provides the acting for a majority of roles.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

Russian ballerinas and Loch Ness monsters await Sherlock in this underrated film.


Well, not exactly Victorian, but still Victoriana. The production design for the film version of Neil Gaiman's story has a very Victorian feel. The mixture of magic, heroes and adventure makes this a fabulous source for Victoriana.


Okay, so plenty of people hate this film and it isn't quite the right period (1911 Edwardian not 1867 Victorian) but it is worth the power of technology and empire is very Victoriana as are the deep social restrictions.

Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith

Two dramatizations by the BBC of Sarah Waters excellent books. Not exactly the right period (a little early) but very close indeed. The costume may be a little out, but the attitudes are very much the same.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

This film is based on the first three of Lemony Snicket's books. Not pure Victoriana but close enough. Also a surprisingly good film, despite the fact Jim Carrey is in it.

Van Helsing

A spin off from the Dracula legend starring Hugh Jackman as The big H. The CGI is everywhere, the rope swinging scenes are ridiculous, but for character, costume, setting and gadget ideas it's still a good resource.

Victoria's Empire

A BBC series where Victoria Wood travels the various far flung reaches of what used to be the British Empire. An entertaining look at the stories from the places that were 'civilized' by the weapons and economic power of the era. Useful historical detail for people not usually too interested in historical detail.

Without a Clue

A hilarious Holmes spoof, with Michael Caine as a blundering Sherlock, and with Watson as the brains of the outfit away from the publicity.

Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear

A classic piece of Spielberg excellence. 'Nuff said.


Michael Caine (again) stars in a classic cinema retelling of the battle at Rorke's Drift. If you've never seen it you obviously never stayed in on a Bank Holiday (or you were watching "The Sound of Music' in which case — shame on you!)