28 thoughts on “Top 5 Cheesy Frock Flicks I Have Secretly Loved

  1. What about Start the Revolution Without Me? Donald Sutherland stating ‘And I shall be Queen’.

  2. Original Sin, adding to list
    Bad Girls, check
    Far and Away, ugh

    Um, I had the same Annie dress… and proudly wore it in … 1st/2nd grade? Can’t remember precisely. And OMG YES! Annie is still awesome. I start tearing up when she’s singing that Baby song in the orphanage or Tomorrow. The cast is incredible!

    Ever After, another cheesy though well costumed (if you can ignore the mixing of countries and decades) movie that I love because Dougray Scott! And also Drew Barrymore can generate awesome chemistry with literally a sack of mulch and make a good movie. And the script and other actors are pretty darn good, despite the cheese.

  3. I was totally gonna say Far and Away! I think I taped it off cable because I remember watching it dozens of times. Yeah, it’s the cheesiest of cheese, but it did push me into wanting to do historic sewing!

  4. I tried to watch Far and away twice, but never made it further and away from the middle…ugghhh :( Annie was recently in the TV, but couldn’t interest me more to watch 10-15 mins. Al the others are big black holes, but would love to watch Original sin, beacause of the costumes, not Antonio, no, not me :D

  5. lol I’ve seen all of those. And a thumbs up on Ever After. I was a teen in the 70s when there were lots of made for tv movies, quite a few historical and all cheesy. Pretty sure i liked most of them.

  6. Ever After came out when I was 12, and it was like The Godfather for young girls. No one would take you seriously if you hadn’t seen it, and everyone would ostracize you if you didn’t like it.
    Because Ever After is some quality shit. In conclusion, Angelica Huston.

  7. Oh god. Ever After. I still love it. Elizabeth (1995-ish?) – my first 16th century exposure. I even know better now and I still love it. And Titanic. Love those evening gowns.

  8. My guilty pleasures are tv shows. First up is Hawkeye,(1994-5) a French and Indian War era adventure series starring Linda Carter, Rodney Grant, and Lee Horsley. The costuming was typical tv quality. It captured the feel of the era but would not win any awards for historical accuracy. Aside from some cheesy comic relief and a villain you want to hiss at, the show was surprisingly intelligent and thoughtful. What had me hooked was how sensitively it explored American Indian and white settler relations, the character development of Linda Carter’s character, and the great chemistry between her and Horsley. It’s well worth catching on dvd.

    The other is When Calls the Heart. I’ve been told that it is basically the Canadian equivalent of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (which I’ve never seen), but with a teacher and a Mountie instead of a doctor and mountain man. The costuming ranges from not horrible at the beginning of the series, to “OMG, I’ve seen better costumes in high school productions” a few years into it. The poor costumers must be working with hardly any budget. Seriously, the “turn of the century” costumes in some scenes with the main character’s wealthy family in particular are utterly cringe worthy The day wear looks like evening gowns cast off by Dynasty or thrift shop finds. :( Still, I keep watching for the strong women characters and overall good-natured tone of it.

    1. Oh God, ‘Dr Quinn’… I was so in love with Joe Lando, I can’t even tell you. (The last time I saw him was in JAG- still HAWT, even as a bad guy)
      ‘Bad Girls’- yep- mindless fun, but my all-time favourite western, regardless of historical or costume merit has to be ‘Tombstone’.
      As far as classics go; Ancient World: ’10 Commandments’ & ‘Quo Vadis’- I adored Leo Genn, I wasn’t a fan of Robert Taylor but thought Deborah Kerr lovely & Ustinov was a scene stealer (in this & ‘Spartacus’) – I know real 16th c bodices were supposed to be flat as a board, & the stories scarcely hit historical reality, but ‘Young Bess’ & especially ‘Diane’ are where my love was- the Gene Kelly/ Lana Turner/ Vincent Price ‘3 Musketeers’ & (don’t judge, please) ‘Lady & the Highwayman’ (oh, dear God, Hugh Grant’s mullet…) for 17th c- at least the Lana Turner one had a genuine piece of Nightmare Fuel that was intended as such; that scene with her eyes made her look absolutely demonic… And, 18th c, what else but ‘Scaramouche’? Stewart Granger was the classic crush for me- & him & Mel Ferrer fighting over Janet Leigh…

      In Australia, the ’80’s/ ’90’s were questionably ‘good’ for a breadth of costume dramas, that I has a history-loving child was happy to soak up anything I could get my hands on [it might have had something to do with the fact that I practically live ‘out the back of Burke’ {actually, it was central western Queensland} & other than a little music, I had little exposure to modern pop culture ’til we moved back into town]; ‘ANZACs’, ‘The Man From Snowy River’, its’ sequel (even I, ignorant child that I was, recognised Sigrid Thornton & other women were wearing pure ’80’s perms) & the semi-sequel series that went 4 seasons, ‘Far & Away’ because, I loved Nicole Kidman- the costumes were pretty good to my eye, & ‘Tales of The South Seas’ (which had a Toby Stevens/ Ian Glenn lookalike, I was convinced of it).
      Oh, I dare you to look at ‘ROAR’ starring a pre-Hollywood Heath Ledger- it’s supposed to be set in pre-Roman Britain (allegedly) – not giving anything else away….

      I have a love for 1870’s bustle-gowns that I can’t begin to explain, so I LOVED ‘Original Sin’ & the likely dodgy ‘Scarlett’ before it – ‘Cutthroat Island”s a guilty pleasure, but I happily listened to CinematicExcrement take a giant dump on it, ’cause… man, Geena Davis’ accent really was all over the place, wasn’t it?
      ’99’s ‘Cleopatra’, because I love Timothy Dalton’s Caesar, & I still have a special place in my heart for Billy Zane (the one & probably only ever ‘Phantom’), though the guy ‘Ahenobarbus’ was closer to the historical Antony, than either he or Purefoy.
      On ‘The Phantom’, I also have ‘The Shadow’ with Alec Baldwin- I don’t know how accurate the costumes were to the ’20’s/ ’30’s (?) & some of the dialogue is a bit naff, but I saw a replica of that Purba Dagger at our local gun shop, & the guy was nice enough to let me hold it. Am I tragic enough?

  9. For all those films I can only say God bless Theoni V. Aldredge, Jane Anderson, Donna Zakowska, Joanna Johnston and Susie DeSanto.

    1. I loved the 1990s The Secret Garden. I not sure it qualifies as a “guilty pleasure” however. I just looked it up and discovered that there is a U.S. made recent version which might well qualify however.

      1. Now that I’m older and more aware of how disability representation gets screwed over in movies, I can’t enjoy it as much. Hence guilty pleasure.

  10. I don’t really think of it as a costume movie because “ye vaguely olde timely frilly dress look” does not equate to historical costume, but we used to watch chitty chitty Bang Bang a lot when the kids were young, and just thinking of it is enough to trigger those ear worms.

    Most of my teenage guilty pleasures, (with the embarrassing exception of Gone with the Wind but Scarlett O’Hara was a compelling character) were television. Our choices were limited, living in a rural area with only ABC, (Australian Broadcasting Corp’) and the local commercial so not too much harm could be done and it was just before the wonderous invention of the VHS, but top of my list is “Little House in the Prairie”. the only other series I really enjoyed while knowing it was a bit cheesy was an Australian production, Against the Wind about first (European) settlement.

    Season’s Greetings All

  11. Far And Away is actually a well done,charismatic, engaging movie. Here in Italy, we get a dubbed version, so there’s no problem with Cruise’s accent or acting. Also, the story is a strong point, I guess they adapted much of the script here in Italy, so the whole plot seems cohesive and the way characters interact believable.

    That being said, My fave Cheesy costume movie is Heath Ledger’s Casanova, because I just love the rare period movies actually filmed in Venice ( rather than the fake soundstage most use).

  12. Man, I’m old. BR (before recording), I used to watch all the Nelson Eddy and Jeanette Macdonald films when they showed up on afternoon TV. (after school). Can’t find them any more– no Turner Classic Movie access. Naughty Marietta comes to mind. Another of my faves is Calamity Jane with Doris Day. All cheesy, all delightful.

    1. I used to cut high school in the ‘70s to stay home and watch old movies, especially during “Jeanette MacDonald Week” on our local UHF station. Indian Love Song (bonus hot baby Jimmy Stewart as a desperado in his first movie role) was a fave.

  13. I have such amazingly wondercful memories about Annie. There was some extremely unlikely confluence of events on the scale of a once a millenium planetary alignment when my grandmother and my sister, and our female cousins all happened to be in New York when my grandmother’s sister and her granddaughters all went to see the movie in Radio City Music Hall. Then we sang annoyingly the whole day while the old ladies quietly drank their scotches and soda.

  14. Kendra, I’ll see your 1st-day-of-school Annie dress and raise you my best Gunne Sax imitation of a Little House on the Prairie dress, complete with bonnet made for me by my mother and a little shawl, all worn for my 3rd grade school picture… also in 1983 ;)

    …and Little House on the Prairie is still my guilty pleasure, soapy and cheesy all in one

  15. Oh, and Summer Magic with Haley Mills… actually says at the beginning of the movie “Time: Rag” beautiful costumes and hair that I knew even at the time were not entirely accurate

  16. A russian fairytale On-drakon (He’s A Dragon) is my pure, unadultered guilty pleasure. Plus Angelica movies. Everyone here in Slovakia loves Angelica movies, even though they are cheesy and bad and latter instalments suffer from severe sequelitis (There were 5 of those! 5! Many series don’t even survive the third one!), so they are even cheesier and worse.

  17. Scarlett! I remember waiting for those episodes on TV. It was on the same evenings as my piano lessons and both me and my Russian piano teacher would rush home after the class to see the new Scarlett episode on the telly… Also Finnish “historical” romantic films (such as Kaivopuiston Kaunis Regina, Rosvo-Roope, Kulkurin Valssi) from the 30s and 40s. I loooved those when I was in primary school and they’re still kind of nostalgic and charmingly twee :)

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