The Crown Season 4: 8 Movies And Shows To Watch If You Like The Show's 1980s Setting

Emma Corrin on The Crown

I don't know if I'm the only one like this, but whenever finishing a show or a movie that really grabs my attention, I try to find titles that either expand upon those stories or focus on something entirely different during the same period of time. Upon completing The Crown Season 4, I wanted to know about other movies and shows that either touched on the royal family, Margaret Thatcher, or society in general during the turbulent time that was the 1980s.

This shouldn't come as a surprise, but there are a ton of movies and television programs from over the years that dive into the subject matter briefly or extensively discussed over the course of the Netflix drama's fourth season. And as much as I would love to watch every single documentary about the Falklands War, Thatcherism, or the Irish Republican Army, there's not enough time in the day. That being said, I've put together a list of suggested titles for anyone who likes The Crown's 1980's setting.

Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady (Netflix)

Gillian Anderson's portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is one of the most incredible performances in all of The Crown Season 4, and will surely be talked about for years to come. If you enjoyed the leader of the Conservative Party's rise and fall from the top of English government, then the 2011 biographical drama The Iron Lady, and Meryl Streep's turn as the first female Prime Minister in the country's history, cannot be missed. Focusing on Thatcher during her 11-year residence at 10 Downing Street, the Academy Award-winning biopic dives into major incidents like the Falklands War, the Poll Tax, and other elements of the direction Thatcher and her party took the nation during the 1980s.

Stream it on Netflix.

The cast of This Is England '86

This Is England '86 (Amazon)

Back in 2006, Shane Meadows released one of the most startling yet beautifully crafted films of the early 21st Century with This is England, which centered around Shuan (Thomas Turgoose), a 12-year-old boy trying to find his place in society after his father's death in the Falklands War. The 2010 limited series This Is England '86 picks up with Shaun and his group of friends four years after the group was split by the actions of nationalistic skinhead Combo (Stephen Graham). If you enjoyed the episode titled "Fagan" in The Crown Season 4 and its depiction of life outside royal circles, then This Is England '86, with its setting in the middle of Thatcher's control, is perfect in every way.

Stream it on Amazon.

Diana, Princess of Wales in Diana: In Her Own Words

Diana: In Her Own Words (Netflix)

Diana Spencer, the future Princess of Wales, was introduced as a major part of the story in The Crown Season 4, where we witnessed the beginning of her marriage to Prince Charles and as the union quickly began to fall apart under the weight of internal and external forces. The 2017 documentary Diana: In Her Own Words, which features footage of the late princess played over audio taken from conversations with a vocal coach in the early 1990s, tells the story of the icon's early life as well as her rocky relationship with the royal family in the early days of her marriage. Many of the moments from The Crown seem to come directly from the footage and revelations featured in the Channel 4 documentary, making for a great way to see the life that inspired the art.

Stream it on Netflix.

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys on The Americans

The Americans (Amazon)

The FX spy thriller The Americans doesn't have much to do with the royal family or British politics in the 1980s (there is an episode where Keri Russell's Elizabeth and Matthew Rhys' Philip plant a bug before a meeting attended by Margaret Thatcher), but it does show one of the best depictions of life in the 1980s and the effects of the Cold War. Set between 1981 and 1987, The Americans' six seasons serve as a great look at the decade that was the 1980s and how global politics became wrapped up in one of the most heated times in modern history.

Stream it on Amazon.

Michael Fassbender in Hunger

Hunger (The Criterion Channel)

The Irish Republican Army, though not mentioned a whole lot throughout The Crown Season 4, takes up a fair portion of the season's opener with the assassination of Charles Dance's Lord Mountbatten. Years before he won an Academy Award for producing 12 Years a Slave (also nominated for best director), Steve McQueen wrote and directed Hunger, a 2008 drama about Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender), the leader of 1981 hunger strike carried out by prisoners protesting the removal of the special category status which had treated IRA prisoners as prisoners of war with special privileges. This tense, bleak, yet inspirational story about someone willing to die for their cause shows the other side of the brief IRA story in The Crown.

Stream it on The Criterion Channel.

Rent it on Amazon.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana in The Royal House of Windsor

The Royal House Of Windsor (Netflix)

The 2017 docuseries The Royal House of Windsor explores the entire the story of the current royal family dating back to the King George V's decision to rebrand the family name during World War I due to anti-German sentiments. There are two episodes ("Shadow of a King" and "Fire, Feud, and Fury") near the end of the series that deals with the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, making it a perfect watch for anyone wanting more historical context for everything we watched in The Crown Season 4. It also has great information on everything leading up to that point, which shouldn't be missed if you want to see as much of the story as possible.

Stream it on Netflix.

Tim Roth in Made in Britain

Made In Britain (Amazon)

In 1982, Tim Roth made his acting debut in David Leland's television movie Made in Britain, in which he played Trevor, a teenage racist skinhead living in the working class England in the heart of Margaret Thatcher's ironclad hold of Parliament. Throughout the movie, Trevor is presented as a young, misguided, and downright terrible youth living in a world that refuses to understand him and the other way around. The rise of the skinhead is one thing that didn't end up in The Crown Season 4, but would prove to be a crucial element of British life in the '80s as seen here in other titles released over the years. And while most (Made in Britain included) are hard to sit through due to the subject matter, they do shed light on shifts in British society during the latter part of the 20th Century.

Stream it on Amazon.

Michael Sheen and Helen Mirren in The Queen

The Queen (Netflix)

The final entry on this list, The Queen, doesn't take place in the 1980s like most of the titles here and The Crown Season 4, but with its connections to showrunner Peter Morgan (he earned an Oscar nomination for writing the script) as well as the direction the Netflix drama will be taking in its final two seasons, make it a must-watch moving forward. Set shortly after the death of Princes Diana in 1997, The Queen follows Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren in an Oscar-winning performance) as she deals with the fallout of the tragic passing as well as the place of the royal family in modern society.

Stream it on Netflix.

Those are just some of the movies and shows to check out after completing The Crown Season 4. If you felt something was left off this list, sound off in the comments and let us know.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.