A historical period drama is a work of art set in, or reminiscent of, an earlier time period. The term is usually used in the context of film and television. It is an informal crossover term that can apply to several genres but is most often heard in the context of historical dramas and romances, adventure films, and swashbucklers. The implication is that the audience is attracted as much by the lavish costumes as by the content. In the performing arts, a period piece is a work set in a particular era. This informal term covers all countries, all periods and all genres. It may be as long and general as the medieval era or as limited as one decade—the Roaring Twenties, for example.
Historical drama film stories are based upon historical events and famous people. Some historical dramas are docudramas, which attempt an accurate portrayal of a historical event or biography, to the degree that the available historical research will allow. Other historical dramas are fictionalized tales that are based on an actual person and their deeds, such as Braveheart (1995), which is loosely based on the 13th-century knight William Wallace's fight for Scotland's independence.