A historical drama (also period drama, period piece or just period) is a dramatic work set in a past time period, usually used in the context of film and television, which presents historical events and characters with varying degrees of fictional elements such as creative dialogue or fictional scenes which aim to compress separate events or illustrate a broader factual narrative. The biographical film is a type of historical drama which generally focuses on a single individual or well-defined group. Historical dramas can include romances, adventure films, and swashbucklers.
Historical drama can be differentiated from historical fiction, which generally present fictional characters and events against a backdrop of historical events. 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, or the recent past.