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The Lion in Winter (2003)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  23 May 2004 (USA)
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King Henry II (Patrick Stewart) keeps his wife, Eleanor (Glenn Close) locked away in the towers because of her frequent attempts to overthrow him. With Eleanor out of the way he can have ... See full summary »


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Title: The Lion in Winter (TV Movie 2003)

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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King Henry II (Patrick Stewart) keeps his wife, Eleanor (Glenn Close) locked away in the towers because of her frequent attempts to overthrow him. With Eleanor out of the way he can have his dalliances with his young mistress (Yuliya Vysotskaya). Needless to say the queen is not pleased, although she still has affection for the king. Working through her sons, she plots the king's demise and the rise of her second and preferred son, Richard (Andrew Howard), to the throne. The youngest son, John (Rafe Spall), an overweight buffoon and the only son holding his father's affection is the king's choice after the death of his first son, young Henry. But John is also overly eager for power and is willing to plot his father's demise with middle brother, Geoffrey (John Light) and the young king of France, Phillip (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Geoffrey, of course sees his younger brother's weakness and sees that route as his path to power. Obviously political and court intrigue ensues. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


All of Britain and half of France were his kingdom. But there was one thing Henry II would never control . . . His Family. (DVD) See more »


Drama | History | Romance | War


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Release Date:

23 May 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Leão no Inverno  »

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Did You Know?


Patrick Stewart also played Henry's son, Richard the Lionheart, in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). See more »


Henry breaks the ice on his water basin in order to wash, but the room is warm enough that no one's breath frosts the air. See more »


King Henry II: Now listen to me boy...
Philip: [holds up a finger to stop him] I am a king, I am no man's boy!
See more »


Version of The Lion in Winter (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

I couldn't turn it off
16 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've never seen the original ALIW with Hepburn, so I wasn't able to make comparisons there. I did see a stage version, years ago at my old university, so I was familiar with the plot and characters.

Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close have wonderful chemistry. I freely admit that I could watch Stewart sit on a chair and read from the phone book, but he makes an absolutely commanding Henry II. Close is alternately domineering and fragile, but always riveting. Their separate scenes are elegant, but they shine most when they play off of each other; Henry and Eleanor have a fascinating dynamic, and the interaction between husband and wife is dazzling.

I was less enamored with the performances of the three English princes. Andrew Howard's Richard was done well enough, particularly the scenes where he was portraying softer emotions. John Light's Geoffrey didn't seem quite right to me, but that may not be his own fault; the actor who played Geoffrey in the stage version I saw was a friend of mine, so my opinion of the character will forever be biased. Rafe Spall's John was utterly appalling -- but he was supposed to be, so does the fact that I absolutely loathed him mean he was brilliant?

Yuliya Vysotskaya was a luminous Alais. She has a splendid range and presence, and I wish she would do more acting projects that would let her be seen in the U.S. She has a charming ethereal quality when the script calls for it, yet can be equally hard as needed.

For me, though, the best performance was that of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, who I found utterly captivating as King Philip of France. He steals every scene in which he appears, and gives the young King just the right balance of anger, slyness, contemplation, and humor. (And let's be honest, he's not really hard on the eyes either.)

On the whole, I couldn't bring myself to stop watching the movie until it was over, and it's definitely one I would be happy to watch again.

19 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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