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The exiled royal physician to King Charles II devotes himself to helping Londoners suffering from the plague, and in the process falls in love with an equally poor woman.



(novel), (screenplay)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Pearce
Celia Clemence
Will Gates
Elias Finn
Mary MacLeod ...
Mark Letheren ...
Willie Ross ...
Man with Visible Heart
Merivel's Father


An aspiring young physician, Robert Merivel found himself in the service of King Charles II and saves the life of a spaniel dear to the King. Merivel joins the King's court and lives the high life provided to someone of his position. Merivel is ordered to marry one of the King's mistresses in order to divert the suspicions of another one of his mistresses. He is given one order by the king and that is not to fall in love. The situation worsens when Merivel finds himself in love with his new wife. Eventually, the King finds out and relieves Merivel of his position and wealth. His fall from grace leaves Merivel where he first started. And through his travels and reunions with an old friend, he rediscovers his love for true medicine and what it really means to be a physician. Written by P. Wong <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In a world of seduction and power, temptation has its price.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

2 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Restauración  »

Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)


$4,100,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Composer James Newton Howard's main theme is based on a music from The Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell. See more »


When Merivel leaves the Fire of London, he is floating down the River Thames. He is, apparently, discovered 15 miles from Bidnold, which is in Suffolk (unreachable from the Thames) See more »


[first lines]
Opening Title Card: In 1660 Charles II was restored to the English Throne ending 11 years of Oliver Cromwell's bleak Puritan rule. Thus began the age of Restoration. It was an era of scientific discovery, artistic exploration and luxurious sensuality.
Opening Title Card: It was also a time of natural disasters and archaic medical practices. Science was pitted against superstition. This is the story of one man's journey through the light and dark of those times.
See more »


Referenced in Game K N B: Episode dated 3 March 2007 (2007) See more »


From John Playford's 'The English Dancing Master', First Edition (1651)
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User Reviews

To this film's detractors:
20 April 2006 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

I'm not sure we saw the same movie and I'm puzzled.

This is a tremendously rich, emotional film, very true to Rose Tremain's novel, and just wonderful.

The casting is divine, and I thought Meg Ryan was fine as Catherine.

Charles II is my favorite English monarch and Sam Neill portrayed him just as I pictured him.

Robert Downey was Marivel to a T, as was David Thewliss as Pierce.

The costumes and scenery were magnificent -- from the palace to the countryside and back -- and those fabulous Spaniels running through the palace and environs was just how I'd pictured England's most enlightened monarch's place to be!

How anyone can find this movie to be anything less than a gem is beyond me.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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