2004 filming of a 19th-century film scene set in London
The term historical period drama (also historical drama, period drama, costume drama, and period piece) refers to a work set in a past time period, usually used in the context of film and television. It is an informal crossover term that can apply to several genres and is often heard in the context of historical fiction and romances, adventure films, and swashbucklers. A period piece may be set in a vague or general era such as the Middle Ages or a specific period such as the Roaring Twenties. A religious work can qualify as period drama but not as historical drama.
Some works attempt to accurately portray historical events or persons, to the degree that the available historical research and the length of the work will allow. These types of works are also known as docudrama, examples being Cinderella Man, Schindler's List, and Lincoln. Other works are fictionalized stories based on actual people or events, such as Braveheart and Les Misérables.