Back In My Day: 10 Most Expensive Period Piece Movies Of All Time (& How Much They Cost)

There’s something magical about watching a historical film and being transported back to a time period through beautifully designed costumes, superb acting, and unforgettable cinematography. Anyone who is a fan of films may have a few favored piece period films, whether it be a timeless romantic-dramas or gripping war films, piece period films do more than just educate people; they give them an experience.

From Titanic to Atonement, there are several historical films based on true events that can cost a pretty price to make due to the necessary requirements needed to make them. Which films cost the most to make? Here are the top 10 most expensive period piece movies of all time, ranked from good to best!

10 Once Upon A Time in America - $30 Million

In 1984, actors Robert DeNiro and James Woods portrayed David "Noodles" Aaronson and Maximilian "Max" Bercovicz in the epic crime-drama Once Upon A Time in America. Based on the novel The Hoods, the movie was set during the prohibition era and details the rise of Jewish crime gangs, led by Noodles and Max. It explores the two best friend's years of friendship while also dealing with the troubles of adolescence.

The original cut of the film was three hours and forty-nine minutes but it was trimmed further down to two hours and nineteen minutes. The shortened version was a critical flop in the box-office, and only garnered $5.3 million during it's run in theaters, which does not balance out the $30 million budget used to create the film.

9 Titanic - $200 Million

Arguably one of the most successful disaster and piece period film is James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster film, Titanic. The epic-romance film featured Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as ill-fated lovers, Jack Dawson and Rose Dewitt-Baker, who fall in love aboard the ship, the Titanic, before it's maiden voyage comes to an unfortunate end.

The movie was based on the actual account of the 1912 sinking of the Titanic boat and some characters in the film were based on actual historical figures. At the time, Titanic was the most expensive film ever made, the budget was $200 million. However, the movie was a financial and critical success, earning over $2 billion in the box-office, 14 Academy Award nominations, and at the time, was the highest-grossing film ever made.

8 The Other Boleyn Girl - $35 Million

Based on the novel of the same name, The Other Boleyn Girl, stars Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson as Anne and Mary Boleyn, both of whom were mistresses of King Henry VIII, played by Eric Bana, with the latter becoming his ill-fated wife.

The movie was based on true events, including the arrest and eventual beheading of Anne Boleyn, however most of the film was dramatized. The movie received mixed reviews as many critics felt it was a "soap opera", but was a box-office success, and had budget of $35 million.

7 Atonement - $30 Million

Another financially successful romantic-historical film, was the 2007 film, Atonement. Based on the 2001 novel of the same name, the movie takes place in 1935 and tells the story of two young lovers, played by James McAvoy and Keira Knightely, who are separated by a lie and an unresolved crime that effects them and those involved for six decades.

The film features several events that took place throughout history, including the Balham tube station bombing. Atonement received many accolades for it's cinematography and acting. Its box-office sales garnered over $120 million, leveling out its  budget of $30 million.

6 Sherlock Homes - $90 Million

This period mystery-action film, retells the life and adventure of everyone's favorite fictional private detective. Robert Downey Jr. donned a different suit for this role as he took on the titular character and Jude Law played the infamous Dr. Watson, his loyal sidekick.

The movie was directed by Guy Ritchie, and also starred Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, and Eddie Marsan. Sherlock Holmes had a budget of $90 million and was met with critical and commercial acclaim, grossing over $500 million at the box-office which led to a sequel being made in 2011 and a third film currently in the works.

5 Gangs of New York - $100 Million

Leonardo DiCaprio has starred in several period-piece films, but Gangs of New York was one in particular that helped solidify his status as an A-lister and well-sought after actor. Set in the late 1800's, the movie takes place Manhattan, New York and follows the the long-running feud between Catholics and Protestants leads to violence among those involved, including recently freed slaves and Irish immigrants.

The movie also starred Cameron Diaz and Daniel-Day Lewis, who was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. The film had a budget of $100 million, but box-office sales generated just about $90 million more than that.

4 Braveheart - $65-$70 Million

Mel Gibson played the historical figure, William Wallace, in the period-war film, Braevheart which was released in 1995. Wallace led the Scots in the First War of Scottish-Independence against King Edward I of England during the late 13th century.

Though the film was a success financially, having grossed over $200 million at the box-office, it did receive some criticism for its historical inaccuracies of Wallace's love life and title. Despite this controversy, the movie was still nominated for ten Academy Awards and is a fan-favorite by many movie fanatics.

3 Gone With The Wind - $3.85 Million

Considered to be an American classic, Gone with the Wind could be considered one of the golden films that peaked the film industries' interest in making period-piece films. Would there be a Titanic without Gone with the Wind? We'll never know! The movie takes place during the American Civil War and depicts the romance of two lovers, played by Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh who are torn apart by war and other romantic interests.

The film not only is culturally significantly important, it also is responsible for breaking racial barriers of the time. Actress Hattie McDaniel won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and became the first African-American to do so.

The movie had a budget of over $3 million during the time of shooting which, if adjusted for inflation today, would round up to around $695 million. Due to popularity, it grossed over $300 million (which rounds up to more than $5 billion today) in the box-office. These figures were further bolstered by re-releases, video sales, and more.

2 Marie Antoinette - $40 Million

Kirsten Dunst portrays Queen Marie Antoinette is this historical 2006 adaption. The film follows the young queen during her early years before becoming an important figure in the French Revolution.

The movie, directed by Sofia Coppola, also stars Molly Shannon, Rip Torn, and Rose Byrne. This isn't the first collaboration between Dunst and Coppola, the two have a similar work-friendship bond like Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. The movie did receive positive reviews, but it only grossed $60 million at the box-office against a budget of $40 million.

1 Shakespeare In Love - $25 Million

William Shakespeare's life and work will always be a subject of great debate and study for scholars and fans alike. The film, Shakespeare in Love, is an imaginary depiction of the great writer's life but was still a success financially and critically. Here, Joseph Fiennes portrays the young Shakespeare, who while working on his most iconic play, Romeo and Juliet, falls in love with Viola de Lesseps, played by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Though Viola is not real person, other several historical figures are represented throughout the film. The movie grossed $293 million in the box-office, which is quite impressive considering it's budget of $25 million.

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