7.6/10
1,244
18 user 2 critic

The Last King 

Charles II: The Power & the Passion (original title)
The chronicle of Charles II's time on the throne, his 10 year exile from Oliver Cromwell's England, and his triumphant return.
Reviews

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1  
2003  
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 4 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Elizabeth R (TV Mini-Series 1971)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

When Elizabeth Tudor comes to the throne, her (male) advisers know she has to marry. Doesn't she? Thus starts a decades-long political/ matrimonial game, during an age of high passions and high achievement.

Stars: Glenda Jackson, Ronald Hines, Robert Hardy
The Virgin Queen (TV Mini-Series 2005)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The Virgin Queen explores the full sweep of Elizabeth's life: from her days of fear as a potential victim of her sister's terror; through her great love affair with Robert Dudley; into her ... See full summary »

Stars: Anne-Marie Duff, Sienna Guillory, Ian Hart
Elizabeth I (TV Mini-Series 2005)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Miniseries about the the public and private lives of the later years of Queen Elizabeth I.

Stars: Helen Mirren, Hugh Dancy, Toby Jones
Gunpowder, Treason & Plot (TV Movie 2004)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Mini series depicting the turbulent and bloody reigns of Scottish monarchs Mary, Queen of Scots and her son King James VI of Scotland who became King James I of England and foiled the Gunpowder Plot.

Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Stars: Vulpe Adrian, Carmen Ungureanu, Clémence Poésy
The Devil's Whore (TV Mini-Series 2008)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Set between the years 1642 and 1660, "The Devil's Whore" charts the progress of the English Civil War through the eyes of the a 17 year old girl, the fictional Angelica Fanshawe.

Stars: Andrea Riseborough, Dominic West, Tom Goodman-Hill
Mrs Brown (1997)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Queen Victoria is deeply depressed after the death of her husband, disappearing from public. Her servant Brown, who adores her, through caress and admiration brings her back to life, but ... See full summary »

Director: John Madden
Stars: Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Geoffrey Palmer
The Shadow of the Tower (TV Mini-Series 1972)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A series of dramas by various writers recording the key events in the reign of Henry Tudor and his founding of the Tudor Dynasty

Stars: James Maxwell, Norma West, Hugh Sullivan
The Lost Prince (TV Movie 2003)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The true story of the British royal prince locked away because of having epilepsy.

Director: Stephen Poliakoff
Stars: Daniel Williams, Matthew James Thomas, Brock Everitt-Elwick
Lady Jane (1986)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The death of King Henry VIII throws his kingdom into chaos because of succession disputes. His weak son Edward, is on his deathbed. Anxious to keep England true to the Reformation, a ... See full summary »

Director: Trevor Nunn
Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Cary Elwes, John Wood
Henri 4 (2010)
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A wide-ranging, energetic period piece tracing the rise of the Protestant Henry of Navarre as he goes from battlefield warrior to France's beloved King Henri IV. Director Jo Baier's epic is... See full summary »

Director: Jo Baier
Stars: Julien Boisselier, Joachim Król, Andreas Schmidt
The Six Wives of Henry VIII (TV Mini-Series 1970)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A six-episode dramatization of Henry VIII's relationships with each of his six wives. Each episode is devoted to one wife, and is a complete play in itself.

Stars: Keith Michell, Anthony Quayle, Patrick Troughton
Zen (TV Mini-Series 2011)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Detective Aurelio Zen brings justice to modern-day Italy.

Stars: Rufus Sewell, Caterina Murino, Nathalie Rapti Gomez
Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Charles II (4 episodes, 2003)
...
...
 James, Duke of York (4 episodes, 2003)
...
 James, Duke of Monmouth (4 episodes, 2003)
...
 Catharine of Braganza (4 episodes, 2003)
...
 Lord Shaftesbury (4 episodes, 2003)
...
...
 Ormonde (3 episodes, 2003)
...
 Anne Hyde (3 episodes, 2003)
...
 Arlington (3 episodes, 2003)
Dorian Lough ...
 Clifford (3 episodes, 2003)
...
 Sir Edward Hyde (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 Captain (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 Queen Henrietta Maria (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 Rochester (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 Earl of Danby (2 episodes, 2003)
Nick Bagnall ...
 Hopkins (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 Louise de Kéroualle (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 MP #1 (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 William of Orange (2 episodes, 2003)
Edit

Storyline

The focus of King Charles II is his court, his squabbling family and his glamorous mistresses - from the high-born and promiscuous Barbara Villiers through folk heroine and sex symbol of the day Nell Gwynne to the French spy Louise de Keroualle. It is an original take on a historical period written by award-winning screenwriter Adrian Hodges, whose credits include David Copperfield and The Lost World, which penetrates to the heart of the charismatic monarch who was deeply traumatised by the execution of his father. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

charles ii | spy | sex | exile | execution | See All (154) »


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 March 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Last King  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (4 parts)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Shirley Henderson's elaborate hairstyle for Catherine's arrival initially took two hours to create. See more »

Goofs

Just before the sequence concerning the smallpox epidemic, we get a brief look at The King's upper right arm and can clearly see a smallpox vaccination scar. See more »

Quotes

King Charles II: As you intend on poetry, Rochester, why not provide it yourself?
Rochester: A short epigram in your honour then, Your Majesty.
[pause]
Rochester: "We have a pretty, witty King, Whose word no man relies on. Who never said a foolish thing, Nor ever did a wise one"
King Charles II: Be just, Rochester. The wise words are my own, the deeds are my ministers'.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of 'Charles II' (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Exciting, Intelligent, And Unexpectedly Moving Story of the Merry Monarch
17 September 2007 | by (Troy, NY) – See all my reviews

Charles II was the most unique king in English History. At the dawn of democracy, his father was executed by Puritan reformers in a great Civil War, and as a result young Charles had a misspent youth like that of any common criminal -- years on the run, a price on his head, living in taverns with low companions and learning to beg and borrow from other kings. Learning to disguise his emotions and trust in no-one, yet also learning to enjoy pleasure as the one sure comfort in life.

Rufus Sewell does an amazing job playing this complex, bitter, loving man, forever both sad and playful, the most notorious yet somehow most mysterious English king. The story covers all of his reign, from 1660 to 1685, and shows not only his relationships with his subjects, counselors, and family, but with the many passionate, demanding, and thoroughly bewitching royal mistresses who filled his days with glamor and amusement and his nights with excitement and pleasure. They range from the wickedly uninhibited, scheming and unscrupulous Barbara Villiers, to the cheerful, fun-loving Nell Gwynn, to the sweet and childlike Louise DeKeroualle. Last but not least, there is the king's own lawful wife, Catherine of Braganza, an extraordinarily resilient and caring woman who changes over the years from being a pitiful foreign outsider at the English court to being a beloved and respected companion of the king.

I have been reading about these fascinating historical personalities for years, and I have to say that by and large the movie captures all of them perfectly. There were moments so right they took my breath away -- the stupid, bigoted Duke of York flying into a religious tirade at the worst possible moment, for example. Or the weak-willed, feeble young Duke of Monmouth, Charles' doomed bastard son, being coaxed into the arms of Barbara Villiers one moment, and into treasonous plots the next, the handsome royal bastard no more than a fly caught in a web of pleasure and power. Or even the very brief scene of Charles' gentle and warm-hearted sister, trapped in a loveless marriage to a French nobleman, being consoled by the greatest king of all -- Louis XIV.

Of course, there were some interpretations I didn't like so much. Diana Rigg was wonderful as the king's fiery French mother, Henrietta Marie, but I think the writers exaggerate her vindictive, bitter attitude, and ignore her loyalty to her husband and son. In real life Henrietta Marie was not just a harpy shrieking for vengeance. She adored her son and took a very indulgent view of his pleasures at court. In her last years, the real Henrietta Marie was more likely to be found playing cards or going on shopping sprees or even indulging in love affairs with much younger men, rather than screaming for more executions and blood.

By the same token, the stunningly beautiful Melanie Thierry turns in an adorable performance as Madame Louise, Charles' passionate and very enthusiastic young French mistress. The real Louise was every bit as innocent and eager to bed King Charles as the film suggests. However young she was, however, Louise was no fool. She didn't need any coaching from the queen on how to look after the king. She made him so comfortable that she remained the favorite mistress until the day he died. Far from being a flighty scatterbrain, she was probably the most sensible and intelligent of the royal mistresses.

The film version ignores all this entirely, showing Louise as a clueless blonde with the mentality of a six year old. The real Louise was dark, with lustrous black hair and a pleasingly rounded figure that grew increasingly plump across the years. But it's most unlikely that Queen Catherine ever had to sit her down and lecture her on the right way to mother Charles. More likely it was the other way around, for the queen herself always referred to Louise as a "kind friend" and in fact often used to go to Louise for comfort and advice when she was feeling low and dejected in her later years.

In the last few years many saw Louise as almost something of a queen in her own right, able to dispense great wisdom while making the careers of many statesmen. When Charles was dying, she was the one who held his hand to the end (while Queen Catherine was rubbing his feet) and she also made sure he had a priest to confess to, since in his heart he had always been a loyal Catholic. It's a shame none of Louise's deeper shrewdness and strength comes across in the final segment of the film.

Yet on so many levels this movie is a masterpiece. THE POWER AND THE PASSSION tells the amazing true story of England's King Charles II with flair and style.


15 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?