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The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933)

King Henry VIII marries five more times after his divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon.



(story and dialogue) (as Lajos Biro), (story and dialogue) | 1 more credit »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Franklin Dyall ...
Laurence Hanray ...
Archbishop Cranmer (as Lawrence Hanray)
William Austin ...
Cornell (as Claude Allister)
Gibb McLaughlin ...
The French Executioner (as Gibb Mc.Laughlin)
Sam Livesey ...
The English Executioner
Everley Gregg ...


This movie tells the story of King Henry VIII and the last five of his six wives. Set almost entirely within the royal castle, it begins just before the death of his second wife (Anne Boleyn) and ends just after his sixth wedding (to Catherine or Katherine Parr). Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


HE GAVE HIS WIVES A PAIN IN THE NECK And did his necking with an axe. Henry, the Eighth Wonder of the World! And this picture...the wonder of all time! See more »


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Release Date:

21 September 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Privatleben Heinrichs VIII.  »

Box Office


£60,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After meeting Merle Oberon when she came to Hollywood, Rouben Mamoulian remarked about her role, " I don't think in the history of the theater or the movies, has such a small part made such a great impression." See more »


Whilst accurately showing Anne Boleyn's execution by a specially requested swordsman from France, rather than an ax, the film shows the fixing of a block to the scaffold. A block is not used in decapitations by sword. See more »


Anne Boleyn: Isn't it a pity to lose a head like this? Still, they will easily find a nickname for me: among the Queens of England, I shall be "Anne sans tête." That means "Anne who lost her head."
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Henry VIII had six wives. Catherine of Aragon was the first; but her story is of no particular interest - she was a respectable woman-so Henry divorced her. He then married Anne Boleyn. This marriage also was a failure-but not for the same reason. See more »


Referenced in The Public Life of Henry the Ninth (1935) See more »

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User Reviews

Don't forget Elsa Lanchester
31 January 2003 | by (Prince George, British Columbia) – See all my reviews

All the comments I have read about this movie have focussed on Charles Laughton and though he gives a performance that makes this film worth seeing on that basis alone, I was more struck by Elsa Lanchester and daresay that she even managed to usurp him in their scenes together. Her performance as Anne of Cleves is one that is memorably eccentric, as she plays her with a kind of flakey caginess that is funny, fascinating and original. She is also quite striking to watch and I am thankful that Bride of Frankenstein has given her a degree of cinematic immortality that might otherwise have been denied her. Returning to this film though, it is highly entertaining, though its abrupt mood shifts leave the viewer with an inconsistent impression about Henry VIII and his volatile personality, but, then again, perhaps that was the point: to show just how inconsistent a man he was in his thoughts and desires.

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