The Flix List: 15 favorite period drama heroes – Part II

Welcome to Part II of the list. As I said in the intro of Part I, this post is a collaboration with my Twitter pal and fellow period drama enthusiast Paula G. Now here are the other seven great romantic heroes that make us swoon, and please vote for your fave at the end of the post!

9.  Edmund Bertram – Mansfield Park

PaulaThe Edmund I thought of first is Jonny Lee Miller in the 1999 production, but the character is not one of my favorites. I find him to be the most solemn of Austen’s male main characters and a bit of a hypocrite. The impression I get from the book is that he only gets together with Fanny Price because every other girl around has been shown to be completely immoral. Things aren’t much better in the film…I remember Sir Thomas ripping her down for not marrying ne’er-do-well Henry Crawford…and Edmund sitting there reading a book. She looks to him for help, but he just shrugs and goes back to reading.

RuthEdmund may not be fashionable like Darcy, but I picked him because he’s a naturally compassionate person, right from the start he befriended the poor and lonely Fanny Price. Yes perhaps there are times I wish he would stand by Fanny more, but still, he’s the only person in the Bertram’s household who truly loves and respects Fanny for who she is, even if he’s slow to admits that he is actually in love with her.

Most romantic scene: When Edmund and Fanny rides together in a carriage from her parents’ house back to Mansfield Park. They’ve missed each other so much but neither could express their feelings. One time their hands touch lightly and Edmund slowly envelopes hers with his… Fanny’s expression of inner tumult is priceless.

10. Edmond Dantès – The Count of Monte Cristo

Ruth Paula told me the only time she saw this movie was to look for Henry Cavill. I don’t blame her, Henry is one gorgeous creature even from such a young age. But it’s James Caviezel as the main protagonist whom I fell for when I saw this movie years ago. What Edmond goes through in this Alexandre Dumas’ story is heart-wrenching… the merchant sailor who’s about to marry his fiancée Mercédès but is betrayed by his friend Fernand, which sends him to prison for 13 years.

Yes, Monte Cristo is more of a revenge tale, but I feel that Edmond’s undying love for Mercédès deserves a place on the list. The moments of them frolicking on the beach in the opening scenes is definitely romantic. I also love the part when she recognizes him when he starts twirling his hair at his lavish party and then she shows him the rope ring he once gave him… it’s a beautiful and touching scene. Caviezel has such a regal presence as a count, especially the moment Edmond emerges from the hot air balloon with his cape flowing about in the wind…    b

11. Edward Ferrars – Sense & Sensibility

PaulaI fell hard for Hugh Grant’s big blue eyes, floppy hair and cute stammer in this role. i just remember the heartbreaking and sometimes funny awkwardness between he and Elinor throughout the film, particularly in the scene where Elinor plays hostess to Lucy Steele and Edward pops in to say “hi.” Everyone present knows what’s going on and no one can talk about it. Edward and Elinor are so perfect for each other but everyone & everything gets in the way until the very last. Most romantic scene: Any scene in which Edward helps Elinor with Margaret… he yanks Elinor around quite a bit but it seems like he’s got to be a good guy deep down.

Ruth I love the character of Edward more so than the actor who portrays him, but I agree with Paula that Grant’s awkwardness with his signature stammering manner is quite endearing. But when I saw the 2008 BBC adaptation, I became quite smitten with Dan Stevens’ portrayal. He plays Edward with more confidence and playfulness but still has the warmhearted affection towards Elinor. I adore the ‘beating carpet’ scene where they first met and his longing look when the Dashwood family moves to the cottage. But the juiciest scene has got to be the chopping-wood-whilst-soaking-wet-in-the-rain scene and Elinor comes to visit him. “I enjoy a bit of a sweat. A man can relieve his feelings…” he says. Well I’m sure Elinor quite enjoyed, um, watching him, too 😀

12. George Emerson – A Room with a View

PaulaA rebel and a sweetheart, unconventional George sweeps uptight Lucy off her feet. Again, we see a couple who are perfect for each other but not completely sanctioned by society. Most romantic scene: George and Lucy run across each other in a field in Italy and… well, that kissing scene is certainly one of the movie’s most memorable moments.

Ruth – Well, I haven’t read the E.M. Forsters’ novel the movie’s based on but I presume George is a whole lot more interesting than the way Julian Sands portrayed him in the movie. As I said in my review, I actually thought he just isn’t compelling enough in the role (sorry Paula!), it’s Daniel Day-Lewis as the goody two-shoes Cecil who steals the show.

13. Henry Tilney – Northanger Abbey

PaulaMy favorite portrayal is by JJ Feild [sic] in the 2007 ITV version. He and Felicity Jones have so much chemistry that seemingly straightforward dialogue is rendered suggestive by the way they look at each other. The novel is generally considered to be one of Jane Austen’s “lesser works” — can there be such a thing? — because it was written first and isn’t as polished as, say, Pride & Prejudice. And the author herself admits that Catherine Morland is no heroine. But it’s still really fun. Most romantic scene: Henry shows up at the Morland house and asks if Catherine can show him the way to the Allens’ — which is within sight.

Ruth – I only saw bits and pieces of this adaptation but Feild seems to have that mischievous nature that makes him fun to watch. I’m not as intrigued by the story compared to other Austen’s literary works though.
… –

14. The Captain – La Veuve de Saint-Pierre (The Widow of St. Pierre)

PaulaHe’s a handsome man of action who loves his wife enough to let her try to rehabilitate a murderer. In their house! Public scorn means nothing, as long as his wife is happy. Unfortunately for all concerned, going against the established norm has consequences, but throughout, Daniel Auteuil makes devotion sexy. The film is based on actual events on Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, the French islands off the coast of northeastern Canada. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it.

Most romantic scene: Before all hell breaks loose, the Captain & his wife only have eyes for each other at a stuffy tea party.

15. Heathcliff – Wuthering Heights

PaulaHardy once said on a talk show that he’s the go-to guy for “nutters” and although he has played his share, there’s no better example than his Heathcliff, just for sheer adherence to the book. I’ve always found the character repellent and Hardy is appropriately psychopathic for a guy who kills his wife’s dog. But somehow he makes you feel some sympathy for him, which is more than anyone else has ever done. I don’t know when Hardy got together with Charlotte Riley, who plays Cathy so excellently, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened on this set.

RuthRomantic heroes doesn’t get any more dark and brooding like Heathcliff, and which the term crazy love is absolutely fitting. It’s even harder to root for Emily Brontë’s hero as he makes even her sister Charlotte’s Rochester seems like a levelheaded guy! I have only seen the Timothy Dalton’s version so I can’t say his is my favorite rendition, but he certainly conveyed the all-consuming passion Heathcliff has towards Cathy, it proves that ‘to die for love’ that’s romanticized by lovestruck individuals aren’t always beautiful, they can be haunting and down right tragic. Still, it’s the stuff classic romance are made of. I’m still looking forward to Laurence Olivier’s and Ralph Fiennes’ version as I’m not too keen on the actress who plays Cathy in the 1970 adaptation. Most romantic scene: When Heathcliff is reunited with Cathy again after running off for several years and the two are making out on the grass, professing their love to each other even though Cathy’s now married to someone else.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the list, now please take the time to vote for your favorite period drama hero, you can also enter one that’s not on our list. Do you agree with our picks? If not, let it be heard in the comments.

62 thoughts on “The Flix List: 15 favorite period drama heroes – Part II

  1. Paula: I agree with you 100% about Edmund Bertram. I have to admit that Mansfield Park was possibly my least favorite of the Austen novels, and it had a lot to do with what seemed to be Edmund’s settling at the end. And SO spineless. That said, the Edmund in the 1999 movie is slightly better. Too bad he didn’t look like Henry Crawford, though. Yowza.

      1. I haven’t read the novels but I really like JLM’s portrayal of Edmund… he has his ‘blunders’ as he says, but his affection for Fannie is genuine. But Alessandro Nivola as Henry Crawford… yowza indeed!! 😀 He definitely stole scenes in that movie.

        Sam + Paula, if we ever make a list of period drama villains, he definitely would make my top 3 🙂

          1. Oh if we’re basing it on the ones we hate the most, yeah she’d be #1 on my list, too. But Henry Crawford is one of those charming ‘villain’ we can’t help being seduced by, kind of like Willoughby.

  2. Paula

    re: S & S…To be fair, i’ve not seen the 2008 version. it’s difficult to imagine anybody doing better than the 1995 one. i will say Dan Stevens looks more the age i pictured Edward to be in the book. it’s in the queue LOL

    1. I thought so too, Paula, especially the script as it’s so brilliant. As for Hugh, well I think since they’ve cast Emma Thompson as Elinor they have to find someone closer to her age as Edward. I think the actors in the 2008 version is more age appropriate and Dan Stevens is very swoon-worthy 😀

        1. Ahahaha… once in a while you guys need to get in touch w/ your romantic side… come on, admit it, you have it in you, Vince 🙂

  3. PrairieGirl

    If you’re a fan of romantic period dramas, Middlemarch is a must. The 1994 Masterpiece Theater production of George Eliot’s novel spans seven episodes and is well worth the watch, and so is The Mayor of Casterbridge (2003 TV mini series). Both acheive an 8.0 on IMDb.

    1. Would you suggest Middlemarch if Roof isn’t in it? 😉 J/K… I’m sure the story is great, ahah.

      Yes, I definitely need to see Mayor of Casterbridge w/ James Purefoy, especially since you said he’s got lots of screen time. I wish he had a bigger role in Mansfield Park as well.

      1. PrairieGirl

        Oh, shoot, I thought I could sneak one past you, but you are too sharp! Yes, I would still recommend MM, but I may not have seen it if Ruf wasn’t in it, shame on me. I didn’t know James Purefoy when I saw Mansfield Park, so may have to see it again. And boy, is there ever a great clip of him in Beau Brummell that I saw this weekend to add to my “special” clip collection… you know which one I mean ;-O

        1. Oh no no no, I’m quite well-versed w/ Roof’s filmography so you won’t be able to get that kind of thing past me 😀

          Yes James played Edmund’s wild brother Tom. He’s really good in his brief scenes, just not enough screen time. Oh yeah I know exactly what you mean you naughty girl!

  4. And again no Willoghby… 😦 I guess he is not technically a “hero”…just bloody hot!
    Have you seen “The Forsyte Saga”? Its a British mini-series that I am OBSESSED with. There are two parts. I can’t recommend it enough!

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  6. This blog is in danger of being overrun by men in period costume, Ruth. I can’t move for frilly cuffs and neck scarves. 😉

    Great list, though, illustrating some shocking holes in my viewing.

    1. Overrun? Come on, Rich, I hardly ever indulge in my girly side on this blog 😀 Yes, you should try to view some of these, you’d be surprised that you might actually enjoy them.

  7. I never heard most of these names…

    BTW I am going to add your blog in my friends list..Will you add my movie blog in your friends list. So that we will get mutual link exchange which leads to good page rank.

    Take care n Cheers.

  8. Lanner

    It’s The Captain all the way for me. Handsome,devoted,quick witted, chivalrous,kind and considerate, yet fierce and courageous when required,also he looks incredibly dashing when riding his black stallion.
    And judging by that short sex scene,he’s also a passionate lover.

    It does help that he’s played by Daniel Auteuil,who is my favourite actor of all time.

    Think I’ll go and watch Widow of St Pierre now. I never get tired of that movie,even though I always end up in floods of tears when Jean/The Captain is executed.

    1. Paula

      dang somebody else knows who he is! excellent taste…you just made my day. i find the ending to be so overwhelmingly sad, i’ve only seen it all the way through twice.

      1. Lanner

        The ending always gets to me,no matter how often I watch it. I’m probably on my eighth viewing now.

        I must admit that Neel’s death doesn’t affect me all that much,but The Captain’s death,is truly tragic imho. He was sent to his death because the officials feared and resented him, because he had the love of his wife,and the respect of the people,in short,because he was everything they weren’t. He didn’t die because of some wrong he committed,so for me,Neel’s death pales in comparison.

        The scene where The Captain tells his wife that he has to return to Paris, to be court martialled, requires several Kleenex too.
        They both know that he’ll most likely be executed,but neither can quite bring themselves to say so to the other,but the way they look at each other,and her embrace and frantic kisses say it all.

        Not to mention The Captain’s last ride on his horse,and him galloping proudly in to the harbour,knowing he’s going to his doom,but determined to do his duty as an officer in spite of that,and to face his fate with his head held high,is very moving.

        I’ll shutup now,as I’m beginning to sound like the obsessed fangirl that I am,but it’s wonderful to hear that there are others who appreciate that film. It should be much better known.It deserves a wider audience.

        1. Paula

          I agree completely, you have said it all I think. it got some award nominations at the time but yeah, it should be on at least a few of those lists that get made.

    1. Mwahahaha!! Well clearly I need to update this post, it’s like over 3 years old!! So maybe we should do something like this? I mean, does GoT count as a period drama? I mean, a medieval drama IS technically the same category, no? But in all seriousness, we should think of something to collaborate on. Even if it’s simply a post about our British crushes [SOL] 😉

      1. Yes we have to think of something! I haven’t seen all the period drama you gals mentioned, but I have seen a good amount. Probably more than the average person. Top british crushes, actors, moments from movies or tv… hmmmm. Moments that made us SOL?

        1. Oooh I like the idea of Movie/TV Moments that made us SOL, sounds fun!! That way we can also talk about our crushes too, ahah. Hit two birds w/ one stone right?

          Btw, have u seen Toby as Jay Gatsby? You surely have seen at least one version of The Great Gatsby. Well, he played Gatsby in the 1990 TV movie w/ Mira Sorvino. Ooooh my, he’s sooo swoon-worthy, waaaaay better than Leo, and his American accent is so spot on. Ok now you’ve got my Toby-itis raging again [uh-oh]

          1. Oh no!! It is raging again and I always bring it out of you. Bad Melissa!! For me it’s like second hand smoke, the Tobyitis affects me without even knowing it.

            No I haven’t seen that version! I have seen the Robert Redford and Leo versions only. I will have to look for it do you know where I could find it? I love the Gatsby story so I would give it a whirl.

            Ok let me start thinking of some SOL moments! We will def need Jane Eyre, Toby version, some Mansfield Park, some Downton, oh the list goes on.

            1. It’s ok Queen Mel, as I’ve said, it doesn’t take much to get it ragging uncontrollably 😛 Sorry I give you second hand Toby-itis, it could be worse than nicotine!!

              Oooh you MUST give it a watch, even if it’s just for Toby!! Paul Rudd is not bad as Nick Caraway, but I wish we got a different Daisy. It’s available on youtube, here’s a clip I also have the dvd and I’d be happy to lend it to you, I do that all the time via mail! 😀

              Ok sounds good!! Let’s do a top 20, each of us have 10, maybe in two parts?

              1. Ok I will give it a watch. I have so much to watch right now! Help!!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHA if only I could stay home for a week and get super caught up.

                Yes this second hand Toby-itis is so strong that I to wear a patch to stay healthy and free from it. lol

                Sounds like a good idea! Let me think of some and we’ll put it together. Yay!

              2. If you actually watch that movie then that is it the disease has taken over your body. LOL I am seriously laughing right now. I wonder who else out there has seen that movie!

                2 parts sounds good! Should we center the SOL around period pieces only or no?

                1. Ahah well I think that *disease* has become so part of me, I doubt I could get rid of it! I mean I’ve been a fan of Dame Maggie for years so now w/ Toby, it’s like another dose of infection, SOL!

                  Hmmm, I don’t know… I mean, is there enough period pieces to choose from? How about we try it and if we can’t find enough scenes then we can open it to contemporary stuff too 😀

                    1. Very wise Queen Mel! Ok then, I’ll think of something and maybe we’ll touch base in like a week or so and see what we’ve got? Ooooh, this is SO exciting!! [doing a little dance] 😀

    1. Hi Aschwin! WOW, this was done four years ago and you’re the first person who noticed #10 is missing. Clearly our readers weren’t paying attention 😉 Well we’d have to rectify this at some point. In any case, any thoughts about the others listed here? What’s YOUR favorite?

  9. I am always keen for outstanding dialogs and decent wit from either character.

    For the hero part there are indeed many whom I can relate and identify with. So, that is hard to pick a favorite.

    Jonny Lee Miller in his role as Knightley in Emma is quite entertaining and thought provocative.

    In my eyes Edmund Carter, played by Philip Glenister in Cranford is a hero too even when he is not the main character.

    1. Hello again Aschwin! Yes, the dialog in these period dramas are great, that’s one of the reasons I love watching them. I like Miller as Knightley and also as Edmund in Mansfield Park. I haven’t seen Cranford for some reason, I need to rectify that! I definitely will fix this post and add #10, so thanks for bringing that to our attention 😀

      1. awesselius

        You will find Cranford and Return to Cranford worth watching. Great storylines, great characters, lots of humour and wit too.

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  11. Mansfield Park always seems to get such a bad rap. It’s actually one of my favorite Austen novels. I think it’s just highly misunderstood lol. Edward Rochester will always be my fav period drama hero, however 🙂

    1. I actually love Mansfield Park, esp. the 1999 film version w/ Frances O’Connor. Yes it’s a bit risque adaptation but I love the acting, dialog, visual and music, it’s just a gorgeous movie to watch. But yes, hard to beat Mr. Rochester, the quintessential brooding, Byronic hero. I mean, that bedroom scene after the fire [be still my heart] 😉

      1. I really like the one from 1999 as well even though it’s a huge departure from the novel. It does seem like a lot of people give that particular Austen novel a hard time though. I’ve heard a lot of people say they found Fanny weak and boring. I guess I just saw her differently. She has a quiet strength imo. I just wish someone would make a movie adaption that actually did the novel justice! I saw the one from the 80s, and while it’s more accurate than the ’99 one, it was soooo dull lol. I wonder who would be a good actress to play Fanny?

  12. Pingback: Valentine Special: Spotlight on 14 Favorite Movie Couples – FlixChatter Film Blog

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