Netflix has really specialized in shows like Anne With An E, which was itself based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne Of Green Gables books. The series was one of Netflix’s top critically acclaimed historical series, but it was canceled after three seasons, leaving some fans disappointed. Though Anne’s story wouldn’t continue on the small screen, fans found comfort and similarities in other shows and movies like Anne with an E, including some that Anne references in the show. Anne With An E is unique in its sense of optimism, even if it is a lot grittier than the original story.

It’s also unique in its exploration of lesser-known aspects of Canadian history, introducing characters and storylines that aren’t included in the books. While it’s not the only empowering, female-led period drama that’s suitable for all ages, the problem is that period dramas are few and far between, especially ones that can match up to this series in terms of quality. However, looking back over the years and there are plenty of options in movies, streaming series, and shows like the inspirational Anne with an E to quench the thirst of anyone looking for a story in the distant past with great acting, smart love stories, and quirky characters always willing to deliver snark when pushed to the limit.



19 The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

Natalie Portman as Anne and Scarlett Johansson as Mary in The Other Boleyn Girl

Released in 2008, Natalie Portman starred as Anne Boleyn in this adaptation of the Philippa Gregory novel. However, the movie deals with her lesser-known sister, Mary Boleyn, played by Scarlett Johanssen. In the movie, King Henry VIII falls in love with Mary first before Anne pushes her way in. The movie shows how Anne was able to manipulate her way into power when she won over King Henry VIII, leading to the eventual birth of Elizabeth I. The movie shares a bit in common with shows like Annie With an E, as they are both period dramas with strong, young female leads trying to find their place in the world.

18 The Personal History Of David Copperfield (2020)

Dev Patel in The Personal History of David Copperfield

For anyone looking for a movie similar to shows like Anne with an A, but with a male lead, look no further than The Personal History of David Copperfield. Based on Charles Dickens’ tale, Dev Patel plays David Copperfield as he tells his story from childhood poverty to his rise and fall and everything in between. The movie received critical acclaim as it told the story of David’s rise from rags to riches, before suffering countless setbacks and losses but never giving up hope. This version of the story is witty and charming, and it offers a light and fun retelling of the classic story.

17 The Favourite (2018)

Olivia Colman sitting down in The Favourite

  • Available to rent on Prime Video & Apple TV

The Favourite is a dark comedy set within a period drama. In The Favourite, Olivia Colman turned in an Oscar-winning performance as Queen Anne, following the death of her husband. Much like shows like Anne with an E, the main storyline follows women who seek friendship, but gain distrust. The comedy in The Favourite comes from the war of wills between these two women. Rachel Weisz stars as her trusted confidant Lady Sarah, who attempts to rule the country through Anne. Emma Stone is Abigail, Sarah’s impoverished cousin who arrives looking for work and ends up trying to gain a place in high society by taking her cousin’s place by any means necessary.

16 Mary Shelley (2017)

Mary Shelley sitting in a graveyard

Mary Shelley was the author who wrote the horror novel, Frankenstein. In 2017, a historical drama arrived that told the story of Shelley’s life, including her writing the classic book. The movie is different from shows like Anne With an E, as it is gothic-inspired and pays homage to the dark tales that Shelley wrote, but the historical aspects have a familiar feel. Also appearing are real-life historical people like Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, John Polidori, and Claire Clairmont. When they are all stranded in a house, Lord Byron suggests a contest of writing a horror story, and Frankenstein was born.

15 Becoming Jane (2007)

Jane Austin and Tom Lefroy in Becoming Jane.

Another biographical period drama about a classical author arrived in 2007 with Anne Hathaway starring as Jane Austen in Becoming Jane. This is a Regency Era romance that shows how her personal life helped influence the stories she told, growing up as the daughter of a poor man, which prevents her from getting married. Much like shows like Anne With an E, this shows how a young woman’s determination can win people over and help her rise out of her status in life. While not always historically accurate, the movie did show how her own personal situation could have led to the story Austen told in Pride & Prejudice.

14 The Duchess (2008)

Keira Knightly as Georgiana Cavendish in The Duchess

  • Streaming now on Prime Video & Paramount+

The Duchess follows the life of the Duchess of Devonshire, who led an eventful life in the eighteenth century. Her reputation preceded her, thanks to her awkward living circumstances. After falling in love with a politician and befriending her husband’s mistress, Georgiana becomes the laughingstock of the aristocracy. The Duke’s mistress moves into their mansion, and Georgiana’s popularity begins to decline as she must focus on her personal issues. Much like shows like Anne With an E, this is about a woman who has to fit in with a society that never fully embraces her.

13 The Queen’s Gambit (2020)

Beth and Benny in The Queen's Gambit

Though it’s only set in the 1960s, The Queen’s Gambit is very much rooted in its time period. Beth Harmon is, like Anne, an orphan. She learns to play chess at a young age, but she’s determined to master the game as soon as she can. Beth is adopted as a teenager, and her adoptive mother, Alma, helps her get into tournaments. Soon enough, Beth is touring the world, playing the best in the game – all of whom are men. She proves that her gender is irrelevant to the story of her success, which is reflected in the portrayal of her darkest moments, making it a perfect option for fans looking for shows like Anne with an E.

12 Marie Antoinette (2006)

Marie Antoinette And Her Ladies

  • Available to rent now on Prime Video & Apple TV

Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette is a colorful exploration of the young archduchess’s rise to power in France before the French Revolution. Though she’s not seen as a leader by her people, she’s also a misunderstood woman. The film focuses more on Marie Antoinette’s personality than the politics surrounding her reign. She’s still a teenager when she’s pushed into a life she’s not ready for, and she realizes far too late that she’s already left her youth behind. While taking place in a much more prestigious home, it shares much in common with shows like Anne With an E thanks to the young woman trying to fit in.

11 Enola Holmes (2020)

Millie Bobby Brown Enola Holmes

Like Anne, Enola Holmes is a young woman trying to make her own way in a man’s world. Of course, she doesn’t let this stop her. Also like Anne, she’s searching for her mother, though she’s not an orphan. Enola has quite the reputation, not least because her brother is none other than Sherlock Holmes. In her mother’s absence, Enola feels oppressed by her older brothers, so she leaves home to look for her. She gets into all sorts of adventures and even winds up tangled in the suffragette movement. Enola is definitely someone Anne would look up to – and vice versa. Fans can look forward to more in Enola Holmes 3.

10 Reign (2013-2017)

Queen Mary showing anger in Reign.

Reign is a dramatized retelling of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. Though most of Anne’s role models in shows like Anne With an E are female literary figures, female monarchs are also worthy of respect in shows like Anne with an E. From a young age, Mary grows up without any real family, but she finds her own version of it at the French court. Mary struggles to feel respected by the men in power around her, but she doesn’t need their approval to lead with authority.

9 Mary Queen Of Scots (2018)


  • Available to rent now on Prime Video & Apple TV

The 2018 film following Mary, Queen of Scots is a much darker, more serious, and more historically accurate retelling of Mary’s life. The film begins later in Mary’s life than Reign does, and in this version, Mary’s hair is red like Anne’s. Of course, the film takes certain liberties when it comes to historical accuracy, but it explores Mary’s life in Scotland, which Reign doesn’t have a chance to do. This may appeal to Anne fans who are interested in Anne’s discovery that she’s Scottish – this, and the feminist message at the heart of this female-led royal biopic.

8 Great Expectations (1946)

Pip and Estella in Great Expectations.

  • Streaming now on HBO Max & The Criterion Channel

Set in the 1860s, just before Anne’s time, Great Expectations is based on the novel by Charles Dickens. It follows Pip, a young boy at the start of the story, as he follows his dreams and comes of age. Like Anne, he’s living in hard times and must educate himself when he finds that his humble beginnings don’t provide him with the resources he needs to be successful. Along his journey, Pip meets many influential people, both good and bad, but doesn’t anticipate the consequences of his choices. It is a world where Anne would fit in.

7 Emma. (2020)

Anya Taylor-Joy in her critically-acclaimed film Emma

  • Streaming now on Peacock+

The 2020 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma brings a lot of vibrancy and color to the screen. Austen is one of Anne’s favorite authors in shows like Anne With an E, and she would likely appreciate the comedic melodrama of Emma Woodhouse’s personal affairs. Set in the lush green hills of Regency-era England, the colorful costumes, eventful balls, and gossiping women will appeal to those who liked shows like Anne With An E. Emma is a self-proclaimed matchmaker – for anyone but herself. However, she’s so wrapped up in other people’s affairs that she doesn’t see the potential for romance in her own life.

6 Dickinson (2019-2021)

Nobody (Fraser) and Emily walk together in Dickinson

  • Streaming now on Apple TV.

Dickinson is a modern, comedic take on the troubled life of poet Emily Dickinson. The incongruous combination of the spunky, modern soundtrack and period-style costumes, settings, and set design makes for a fun viewing experience that allows viewers an insight into the mind of Emily Dickinson, a great example of shows like Anne with an E. Anne loves poetry, especially by female poets, but unfortunately, Dickinson remained largely undiscovered during her lifetime because of the constraints set upon her by society and her family.

5 Atonement (2007)

Saoirse Ronan looking at something in Atonement

Anne is often guilty of acting recklessly, then spending a long time regretting her actions. This is the premise of the film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s Atonement, in which a young girl makes a grave mistake that she will rue for the rest of her life. Briony is the younger sister of Cecelia, and she has a passion for inventing stories – much like Anne. Cecelia shares a secret romance with Robbie, the family’s groundsman. Out of bitterness and innocent uncertainty, Briony falsely accuses him of a terrible crime, which puts an abrupt end to his relationship with Cecelia until their paths cross again during WWII.

4 Little Women (1994/2019)

The March sisters on the beach in Little Women

  • Streaming now on Starz (2019) and to rent on Apple TV & Prime Video (1994)

Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women has been adapted many times since its publication in 1868, but two of the most well-known adaptations include Gillian Armstrong’s 1994 film and Greta Gerwig’s 2019 version. Both are respectable adaptations and remain true to the original story. The coming-of-age story follows the March sisters as they go through formative experiences and figure out who they want to be as they become women. The story is optimistic and full of youthful wonder, just like shows like Anne With An E.

3 Jane Eyre (2006/2011)

Jane Eyre looking out the window

  • Streaming now on DirecTV (2011) and Hulu (2006)

Anne loves to read whenever she can get the chance in Anne With an E, and one of her favorite books is Jane Eyre. She read the gothic novel in the orphanage and frequently quotes the governess’s wise thoughts. Jane Eyre goes to work at a mansion owned by Edward Rochester, a mysterious and wealthy man. Jane falls in love with him, but everything changes when she discovers that he has a dark secret. For fans of shows like Anne With an E, these are movies that show fans what Anne loved so much in her own life.

2 Pride & Prejudice (1995/2005)

Matthew Macfadyen as Mr Darcy in Pride & Prejudice

  • Streaming now on Hulu (1995) and BritBox (2005)

One of the other books Anne frequently references is Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice. Elizabeth Bennett was an early champion of the feminist movement in literature, defying society’s expectations of what a woman should do with her life. Mrs. Bennett wishes for all of her daughters to marry well (rich) and marry swiftly (as young as possible). When Kitty marries too hastily, the entire family’s reputation is threatened, putting Jane’s sensible courtship at risk. Meanwhile, Elizabeth isn’t sure what to make of the seemingly snarky and arrogant Mr. Darcy.

1 Anne Of Green Gables (1985)

Megan Fellows from Anne of Green Gables looking up at the sky in wonder.

  • Not available for streaming

If there’s any period drama that fans of shows like Anne With An E need to see, it’s the Kevin Sullivan adaptation of Anne Of Green Gables. It’s truer to the books than the Netflix series, focusing more on Anne’s sense of wonder for the world, her friendship with Diana, and her relationship with Gilbert. The movie includes more characters from the books that the series doesn’t have room for and still manages to empower viewers through Anne’s self-driven character arc. This was a template for many shows like Anne with an E that came later.

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