It's Christmas 1183, and King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) is planning to announce his successor to the throne. The jockeying for the crown, though, is complex. Henry has three sons and wants his boy Prince John (Nigel Terry) to take over. Henry's wife, Queen Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn), has other ideas. She believes their son Prince Richard (Sir Anthony Hopkins) should be King. As the family and various schemers gather for the holiday, each tries to make the indecisive King choose his or her option.Written by
Henry kept Christmas Court in 1183 at Le Mans (where he was born) with John, not at Chinon. The big family Christmas gathering depicted in the film took place in 1184 at Windsor: Henry was joined by Eleanor; their daughter Matilda with her husband and children; Richard; and John. See more »
Extraordinary battle of wits and verbal warfare between O'Toole and Hepburn
This excellent costume drama with box office success is set in Christmas 1183 . The medieval monarch Henry II Plantagent (Peter O'Toole which played again in Becket) encounters surrounded by astute and mean relatives who wish ambitious rewards . The king pretends announce his heir and invites his estranged wife Eleanor of Aquitaine (awesome Katharine Hepburn which took her third , she is the only movie star to win four Academy Awards) imprisoned by conspiracy . Eleanor married first to Louis VII , King of France , and subsequently Eleanor's marriage to Henry II , King of England . There also comes their throughly dislikeable sons and king Philip II of France (Timothy Dalton , screen debut . Everybody confronts wits over succession to the British throne and much else , including a game of verbal chess . The heir election between three sons , Richard (Anthony Hopkins , screen debut) , Geoffrey (John Castle) and John (Nigel Terry's first film role) will cause intrigues , hateful , blackmail and psychological manipulation . In spite of possession a kingdom spread all England and great portion France , there's one thing that Henry never can to control, his rebel family .
This film is a rich pageant of fun for drama enthusiastic and history lovers . This is a magnificent film inspired on real events and writings by James Goldman adapted from his own play , which deservedly won an Oscar . Superb drama with top-notch performances , duo starring gives triumphant characterizations . Fantastic and evocative musical score fitting to medieval times by John Barry with Academy Award included . Sensational production design shot on location and with an impressive castle ; furthermore , an atmospheric cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth , reflecting splendidly Middle Age . The tale was marvellously directed by Anthony Harvey at his best film , but after this , he strayed into the critical , though not commercial hits . Remade recently for television in inferior version by Andrei Konchalovsky with Patrick Stewart (Henry II) and Glenn Close (Eleanor of Aquitaine).
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