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Henry VIII (2003)

TV Movie  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  12 October 2003 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,735 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 3 critic

Two-part TV series documenting the stormy 38-year reign of King Henry VIII.



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Title: Henry VIII (TV Movie 2003)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sid Mitchell ...
Thomas Lockyer ...
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Tall Servant
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Two-part TV series documenting the stormy 38-year reign of King Henry VIII.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Heads Will Roll


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 October 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Enrique VIII  »

Box Office


£6,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This is the Third time that Helena Bonham Carter has played a queen of England. The first time was as Lady Jane Grey in Lady Jane (1986). Lady Jane was the queen after Henry VIII's son Edward VI by his third wife Jane Seymour, and before Henry VIII's daughter Mary I by his first wife Catherine of Aragon. She has also played Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth in The King's Speech (2010). Elizabeth was Queen Consort to King George VI and mother to Queen Elizabeth II. See more »


Immediately preceding the scene (interior) where the Pope is seen writing his refusal to divorce Henry VIII from Catherine of Aragon, there is a panoramic view of the Vatican (with St. Peter's basilica), implying that the Pope was in Rome/the Vatican at the time.DIn fact, the Pope was at Orvieto at the time, and it was there, in the Papal palace, where he wrote and signed this particular document. See more »


Katherine of Aragon: What did I do to upset you, that a maid of mine should turn against me like this?
Anne Boleyn: You failed to give England an heir.
Katherine of Aragon: And that upsets you so?
Anne Boleyn: What upsets the King, upsets me.
Katherine of Aragon: Let me tell you this. You want me to lie before God, and admit my first marriage was consummated? Well, it was not. You want me to retire, and withdraw my daughter's claim as sole rightful heir to the throne? Well, I shall not. Not in a thousand years. Not if you rack me within an inch of my life. So, I hope you have the ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Helena Bonham Carter receives second-billing in both parts despite Anne Boleyn getting the chop in the first part. Her contribution in part 2 is the pre-title reprise and flashbacks all already shown in part 1. See more »


Referenced in Creating the Ultimate Beowulf (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Good, but not great
20 October 2003 | by (England) – See all my reviews

Well this is just another telling of the story of England's most famous monarch, and to be very honest, it was OK, but it's been done better before.

It did have numerous strong points. Firstly, some of the wives came across particularly well. Helena Bonham Carter gave perhaps the best Anne Boleyn to date (it would be a battle with Dame Dorothy Tutin for the title), sticking to what is known about the real woman, whilst still giving a very moving performance. Katherine Parr, however brief her appearance may have been, was another winner in this production, as this is the first time her character has been accurately and well portrayed.

The acting was very good overall, but Ray Winstone stuck out a little as the King. The rest of the cast were in Tudor mode, poshing it up and giving it their all, whilst he stuck to his usual cockney gangster style. However, this aside, he did portray the King well and was the first Henry VIII to date to show any form of remorse or concern following the execution of Anne Boleyn.

However there were short falls. The single biggest problem was that it was all too glamourised - did we really need to see the executioner hold up Anne Boleyn's severed head? Did they really need to alter history and have the Queens beheaded before baying crowds, just for that dramatic effect?

There were also some questionable interpretations of history. The Duke of Norfolk's role in Catherine Howard's downfall has been altered completely here (again, all done for thrills). Some scenes were very badly juxta-posed

  • to any viewer unfamiliar with the history behind this story, the film

would give them the impression Jane Seymour had died after been punched in the face and thrown on the floor by her violent husband.

Just as some wives came across well, the rest came across very badly. Katherine of Aragon, rather than the respected and virtuous woman history paints a picture of, is an incessant whinge here - there's nothing likeable at all in her. Anne of Cleves appears twice, but doesn't utter a word in either scene, so she doesn't come across at all. Jane Seymour was wooden - the portrayal of her arouses no feelings whatsoever.

To summarise, it's all very glitsy and modern. The story is mistold in many key places. The only thing that really makes this worth watching is the star performance from Helena Bonham Carter. If you really want to see this story well told, invest some time and patience in watching the complete 1970 TV series 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII'.

22 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
anne of cleves? catherine parr? mouse_with_an_afro_5
Should the story of Henry and his wives be made into a Hollywood Movie? Dolly_Wildstar
Cockney king? ra001h7938
Best Line In Henry VIII? Dolly_Wildstar
Same exact script as The Other Boleyn Girl... o.0 wubawubas
Did this ever air in the US?? give_peace_a_chance7
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