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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?


Its two Oscar nominations and wins (Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design) were up against, among other nominees, Richard III (1995) - which also featured Ian McKellen and Robert Downey Jr. in its cast. See more »


A player at three-card monte reports speaks of being "even Steven". The earliest known records of both the game and the phrase are in the 19th century. 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 »


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

Analysis aside, this film moved me.
13 December 2000 | by (Fayetteville, AR) – See all my reviews

Fortunately, I do not judge a film merely by its technical excellence. Other reviews seemed to overemphasize the limited script, miscasting, lack of focus, etc, that this movie supposedly represents. All of it may be true, and certainly if the movie did not reach me, I too, would come up with a barrelful of sophisticated reasons why it didn't work.

The problem is, it moved me. It touched my heart in just the right way, and left me once again, with a longing have known everyone who ever lived, suffered and died.

Ah, the human condition!

The first half of the film was slow, and seemed to be searching for itself. But from the time Robert entered into the home for the insane, it became engrossing. I thought the story of the "Lost Valley" was poignant and worth the whole movie. All that came before was necessary background for all that came after.

So...not extraordinary, not outstanding, but quietly satisfying and definitely memorable. A little gem -selected with care- to share with those you love.

45 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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