Gosford Park (2001)
Downton Abbey undoubtedly had its origins in the arthouse hit Gosford Park, also written by Julian Fellowes, but directed by American Robert Altman. Altman, who died in 2006 at the age of 81, was known for putting together ensemble casts, but not for English comic murder mysteries set on wealthy country estates. Like the rest of the director’s work, this “comedy of manors” took on serious issues, like class, wealth and power. Gosford Park was Altman’s highest grossing film after M*A*S*H*.