1183 A.D.: King Henry II's three sons all want to inherit the throne, but he won't commit to a choice. They and his wife variously plot to force him.

Director:

Anthony Harvey

Writers:

James Goldman (screenplay), James Goldman (play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter O'Toole ... Henry II
Katharine Hepburn ... Eleanor of Aquitaine
Anthony Hopkins ... Richard
John Castle ... Geoffrey
Nigel Terry ... John
Timothy Dalton ... Philip II
Jane Merrow ... Alais
Nigel Stock ... William Marshal
Kenneth Ives Kenneth Ives ... Queen Eleanor's Guard
O.Z. Whitehead ... Bishop of Durham
Fran Stafford Fran Stafford ... Lady in Waiting
Ella More Ella More ... Lady in Waiting
Kenneth Griffith ... Strolling Player
Henry Woolf ... Strolling Player
Karol Hagar Karol Hagar ... Strolling Player
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Storyline

It's Christmas 1183, and King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) is planning to announce his successor to the throne. The jockeying for the crown, though, is complex. Henry has three sons and wants his boy Prince John (Nigel Terry) to take over. Henry's wife, Queen Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn), has other ideas. She believes their son Prince Richard (Sir Anthony Hopkins) should be King. As the family and various schemers gather for the holiday, each tries to make the indecisive King choose his or her option. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"The Lion in Winter" is about love and hate between a man and a woman and their sons. It's also about politics, vengeance, greed and ambition. It other words it's about life. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While close-ups of Prince Richard (Sir Anthony Hopkins) in his jousting costume were being filmed, the horse was spooked and bolted. Hopkins fell off and broke his arm. Filming the scene with his sword raised above his jousting opponent was very difficult, due to this. See more »

Goofs

Henry refers to the royal sons in the wine cellar as aging with the royal port. Although acidic Portuguese wines were introduced into England in the 12th Century, port wine was introduced there 500 years later. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Henry II: Come for me!
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Alternate Versions

A 70mm version was released in Australia in 1969, and in the UK in 1973. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Chase Australia: Episode #2.81 (2016) See more »

User Reviews

 
More TRUE than a factual documentary could accomplish
7 December 2002 | by mazonisSee all my reviews

It's been eight years since I first saw this movie, and it is still my personal live-action gold standard (Lilo & Stitch being my animated film gold-standard). It combines drama, tragedy, razor-sharp comedy, great performances, and the best dialogue that has ever been spoken on film, period.

I found this movie quite by accident--I was a sixteen-year-old with a Katharine Hepburn fixation. She mesmerized me; I wanted to BE her--smart, beautiful, sexy, and unwilling and unable to take anything off of anybody (except for Spencer Tracy, but that's another story). Honestly, I had no idea that there really had been such a person as Eleanor until I saw this movie. After watching my heroine portray her, I was determined to find out, though...so I have Katharine Hepburn to thank for my discovery of a new personal hero, and for my passion for medieval history.

It is true that this movie is not 100% factually accurate, not only because movie making dictates tinkering with history to create an interesting film, but also because, unfortunately, not too much is known about Eleanor herself. In the middle ages, women, even powerful, intriguing women like Eleanor, were not considered "important" enough to merit full biographical treatment. Most of Eleanor's history is recorded in the context of her sons and husbands. A good deal of this history was written by her detractors--people who disliked or disapproved of her for one reason or another. The simple explanation is that they felt that as a woman, she overstepped the bounds of what was considered "acceptable behavior" for a woman of the period.

That being said, this movie is 100% spiritually accurate. It perfectly captures the intrigue, the complexity of emotions and relationships, and tone of the age and the situation at hand. Though the sharp and witty dialogue is often considered a historical anachronism, this is not strictly true. Contrary to popular belief, people WERE educated in the middle ages, even women, if they were fortunate enough to be brought up in noble households, as Eleanor was. She was a brilliant woman, raised in a household where poetry and intelligent conversation were staples (her grandfather, after all, was one of the first troubadours). Henry was an intellectual powerhouse as well--he was a voracious reader who was often caught reading in church instead of paying attention to the sermons! It is unthinkable that these two minds would have produced stupid children, and the notion that the entire family should have only spoken in grunts and simple phrases is equally ludicrous.

Though not historically accurate, as other reviewers have noted, the strength of this movie lies in it's perfect portrayal of some of the most fascinating and complex personalities in recorded history. Henry, Eleanor, Richard, et al., make today's political and royal figures seem like low-rent bumbling hucksters.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 October 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lion in Winter See more »

Filming Locations:

Wales, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,339, 18 December 2016

Gross USA:

$18,177

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,177
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Haworth Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (70 mm)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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