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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.

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
John Pearce
...
Celia Clemence
...
Katharine
...
Will Gates
...
Elias Finn
...
Ambrose
Mary MacLeod ...
Midwife
Mark Letheren ...
Daniel
Sandy McDade ...
Hannah
...
Eleanor
Willie Ross ...
Man with Visible Heart
...
...
Merivel's Father
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Storyline

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 <pwong@nt.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

2 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Restauración  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

ITL 144,050,000 (Italy) (16 May 1997)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ian McKellen and Robert Downey Jr. became friends during the shoot and McKellen was struck by Downey's talent and attitude compared to some of the British cast members. McKellen offered Downey a part in Richard III (1995), stating that casting an American actor would help fund the film. When the release of Restoration was delayed by 18 months owing to story concerns and re-shoots, Richard III was actually released in theaters before Restoration. See more »

Goofs

At a very early point in the film, the King says something along the lines of "....and these are your playmates." In the background is a horde of 17th-century ladies boating on the Achille Duchenne water parterre at Blenheim Palace. The palace was not built until the late 18th century, and the parterre was not designed until 1925. See more »

Quotes

[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.
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Connections

Referenced in Quills (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Hidden Gem!
2 May 2000 | by (Cardiff, Wales) – See all my reviews

Restoration is one of the great overlooked gems of the 1990's. This movie is beautifully shot and competently directed. It is based closely on the original novel, and also reminds me of some of the more juicy excerpts from Samuel Pepys Diary. The use of real historical locations in Britain is inspired, for instance, the Fire of London and Cheapside market scenes were shot at Caerphilly Castle, the 13th-century moat doubling for the 17th-century Thames! Robert Downey gives a highly respectable performance as Merivel (and has an excellent British accent), but Meg Ryan is totally mis-cast, seeming very lost in some scenes. Sam Niell, I think, is probably the best casting for a British Monarch since Alec Guiness as Charles the First in Cromwell, and Dudley Sutton as James the First in Orlando. One of the best performances, however, comes from David Thewlis in support. His moving scenes with Downey at Tretower Court steal the movie. I worked as an extra on the movie, and some scenes for Pierce Brosnan's 'Crusoe' were shot back to back on the Cheapside market set. That movie has still to be released. 'Restoration' was filmed during 1994, and was delayed for release amid rumours of re-shooting scenes with Meg Ryan, and probable cold feet after the box-office difficulties with 'The Red Letter'.

This movie has not been given the credits it truly deserves, and is an excellent illustration of Court life and marriage politics during the reign of Britain's sexiest Monarch!


35 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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