The Madness of King George (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  28 December 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 11,634 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 39 critic

A meditation on power and the metaphor of the body of state, based on the real episode of dementia experienced by George III [now suspected a victim of porphyria, a blood disorder]. As he ... See full summary »



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlotte Curley ...
Peter Bride-Kirk ...
Royal Child
Eve Camden ...
Royal Child
Thomas Copeland ...
Royal Child
Joanna Hall ...
Royal Child
Cassandra Halliburton ...
Royal Child
Russell Martin ...
Royal Child
Natalie Palys ...
Royal Child
David Leon ...
Martin Julier ...


A meditation on power and the metaphor of the body of state, based on the real episode of dementia experienced by George III [now suspected a victim of porphyria, a blood disorder]. As he loses his senses, he becomes both more alive and more politically marginalized; neither effect desirable to his lieutenants, who jimmy the rules to avoid a challenge to regal authority, raising the question of who is really in charge. Written by Dan Hartung <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


His Majesty was all powerful and all knowing. But he wasn't quite all there.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

28 December 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La folie du roi George  »

Box Office


$15,238,994 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(8 channels)|



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One bit of business that failed to survive the transition from stage to film: Pitt's drinking. While in the film George III briefly mentions Pitt's drinking habits to his wife, on stage, as Alan Bennett puts it, "Pitt takes a swig from a hip flask, such a regular feature of his behaviour it is not noted in the stage directions." (The historical Pitt was considered a heavy drinker even by eighteenth-century standards, especially as he got older; modern biographers agree that his alcohol intake probably contributed to his early death.) See more »


The servant Fortnum states that he is leaving royal service to open a provisioner's shop in Piccadilly ("a step up from emptying piss-pots"), a comical allusion to the Fortnum & Mason's establishment. The film takes place in 1788, 81 years after F&M was founded in 1707. In fact, the company's co-founder's grandson entered royal service in 1761, which led to an expansion of the company's business. See more »


Baker: [shown the King's discoloured urine, evidence of his porphyria] Medicine, young man, is a *science*! It consists of *observation*! Whether a man's water is blue is neither here nor there.
See more »


Referenced in Just a Minute: Episode #3.2 (1995) See more »


Zadok the Priest
Music by George Frideric Handel (as G H Handel)
See more »

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User Reviews

A great fun story full of colourful characters and performances
27 February 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Already upset by the loss of America to independence, King George III of England's position is made more difficult by the onset of an illness that causes him to act wildly and babble uncontrollably. While the Prime Minister places him in the hands of Dr Willis to keep him in power, The Prince of Wales and the leader of the opposition both plan to replace the king with the prince by way of a parliamentary bill.

Based on the great little play that is historically based, this film went down very well with the awards season since it is very English and well acted. The plot is well written, I'm not sure if it is totally accurate but it is surely based on facts even if it has been coloured for artistic and entertainment reasons. The film embraces both the internal workings of the royal family and the politics of parliament really well; again, it may not be totally true but it is colourful, dissenting and enjoyably. The film is involving but yet still manages to be enjoyable and funny. It is a great story and it is lavishly brought to the big screen in this great production.

The sets and costumes are really good and establish the period and setting of the story very well, but it is the performances that really make it work. Hawthorne is wonderfully cast and delivers a great performance in the lead

  • both as the cruel monarch or the madman. He is totally believable all

the way and never lets his performance become comical or silly even when it is amusing in delivery. Mirren and Donohoe both have less to do but make impacts in their scenes. Everett, Holm, Wadham and Graves support the film to great effect, their performances are colourful, impacting and very enjoyable.

Overall, historical films will quite often be viewed as lifeless, dull and overlong. Here this film goes against all those old clichés and is lively, colourful and enjoyable. The rich sets and costumes add value to some great performances in an engaging story that is very enjoyable.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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