MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 1,724 this week

King John (1984)
"The Life and Death of King John" (original title)

TV Movie  -   -  24 November 1984 (UK)
7.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 63 users  
Reviews: 7 user

King John does whatever it takes to keep himself on the throne of England, making enemies of the pope, France, and his nephew along the way.

Director:

Writer:

(play)
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

Venice Film Festival

See the latest from the 2014 Venice Film Festival


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 1946 titles
created 15 Sep 2011
 
a list of 620 titles
created 17 May 2012
 
a list of 2372 titles
created 20 May 2012
 
a list of 65 titles
created 18 Dec 2012
 
a list of 72 titles
created 9 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "King John" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: King John (TV Movie 1984)

King John (TV Movie 1984) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of King John.

User Polls

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Richard III (1995)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The classic Shakespearean play about a murderously scheming king staged in an alternative fascist England setting.

Director: Richard Loncraine
Stars: Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent
Richard III (1955)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Shakespeare's powerful tale of the wicked deformed king and his conquests, both on the battlefield and in the boudoir.

Director: Laurence Olivier
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Cedric Hardwicke, Nicholas Hannen
The Hollow Crown (TV Mini-Series 2012)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A mini-series of adaptations of Shakespeare's history plays: Richard II, Henry IV Parts One and Two, and Henry V.

Stars: Simon Russell Beale, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Georgeson
Black Books (2000–2004)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Bernard Black runs his own bookshop even though he doesn't much like people who buy books and hates having customers. Next door to Bernard's shop is the Nifty Gifty gift shop run by Fran, ... See full summary »

Stars: Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Tamsin Greig
Antony & Cleopatra (TV Movie 1981)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Octavius Caesar (later renamed Augustus Caesar, son of the murdered Julius Caesar), Marc Antony, and Lepidus form the triumvirate, the three rulers of the Roman Empire. Antony, though ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Miller
Stars: John Paul, Jonathan Adams, Jane Lapotaire
King John (TV Movie 2013)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Ted Wass
Stars: John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Peña, Andrea Savage
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: Jane Howell
Stars: Peter Aldwyn, John Alford, Sean Bartley
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
William Whymper ...
Mary Morris ...
...
...
...
...
...
Philip - the Bastard
...
...
Mike Lewin ...
Charles Kay ...
Jonathan Coy ...
Lewis, the Dauphin
Luc Owen ...
Arthur - Duke of Britaine
...
Edit

Storyline

King John does whatever it takes to keep himself on the throne of England, making enemies of the pope, France, and his nephew along the way.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

24 November 1984 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: The Life and Death of King John  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Version of König Johann (1971) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Mad world, mad kings, mad composition
23 November 2009 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Based on the earlier anonymous play The Troublesome Raigne of King John published in 1591 and secondarily, on the 1587 edition of Holinshed's Chronicles, William Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John (King John) is not an objective historical statement but a poetic comment on the monarchy and the moral issues it confronts. Both plays are derived form a 1538 drama by John Bale titled King Johan, one of the earliest English plays. Chronologically the first in the sequence of history plays, King John was listed by Francis Meres among Shakespeare's works in 1598 but did not appear in print until the First Folio in 1623. Though Troublesome Reign and King John are similar, one is hard pressed to find any traditional scholars willing to acknowledge that the latter King John was Shakespeare's reworking of an earlier play that he authored.

King John ruled from 1199 to his death in 1216 and is mainly remembered for having sealed the Magna Carta limiting royal powers, though that is not mentioned in the play. The work deals with the reign of King John who ascended the throne after the death of his brother Richard I known as Richard, the Lion-Hearted at a time when England had to deal with both internal disputes and French invasions sanctioned by the pope. When King John is visited by an emissary from France, demanding that he hand his throne over to his nephew Arthur whom the French King Philip believes is the rightful heir, war is threatened and is bargained over for the remainder of the play.

As depicted in the BBC-Time-Life version from 1984, King John, as portrayed by Leonard Rossiter, is weak, conniving, and thoroughly disreputable while the two strongest characters are women, Eleanor of Aquitane (Mary Morris) and Constance (Claire Bloom). A rallying point for the English cause, however, is the invented character of Philip (Richard) Faulconbridge (George Costigan), the illegitimate son of Richard I whose identity as the "bastard" is trumpeted throughout the play. His soliloquy at the end of Act II beginning "Mad world, mad kings, mad composition" is the best known speech in the play and Costigan's performance is full of energy and aliveness.

Also notable is a speech by Faulconbridge after John and the French conclude a less than noble treaty to the effect that commodity is the bias of the world. At the end, Faulconbridge becomes the true hero, the royal bastard who saves the day. King John underscores Shakespeare's preoccupation with issues of legitimacy, bastardy, and succession and one wonders what the source of the author's anxiety and hopes in this area may have been. The play argues that bastardy is a virtuous condition, and should be no barrier to the crown. He (the bastard) is a loyal subject, not a usurper and the suggestion is clear that Queen Elizabeth's successor should be named and should be a natural heir, an occurrence thwarted by the power ambitions of Robert Cecil.


4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss King John (1984) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?