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
For the greatest authenticity, the actors and actresses wore their costumes as long as possible before shooting a scene, so that they looked soiled and frayed. Although costume designer Margaret Furse preferred dark clothes, Katharine Hepburn talked her into brighter colors for Eleanor, who she reasoned had been to the Middle East, and would have owned many vividly colored articles. See more »
In the scene involving Philip's first negotiation with Henry, the goblet that Katharine Hepburn is holding switches hands in two consecutive shots. See more »
Extraordinary battle of wits and verbal warfare between O'Toole and Hepburn
This excellent costume drama with box office success is set in Christmas 1183 . The medieval monarch Henry II Plantagent (Peter O'Toole which played again in Becket) encounters surrounded by astute and mean relatives who wish ambitious rewards . The king pretends announce his heir and invites his estranged wife Eleanor of Aquitaine (awesome Katharine Hepburn which took her third , she is the only movie star to win four Academy Awards) imprisoned by conspiracy . Eleanor married first to Louis VII , King of France , and subsequently Eleanor's marriage to Henry II , King of England . There also comes their throughly dislikeable sons and king Philip II of France (Timothy Dalton , screen debut . Everybody confronts wits over succession to the British throne and much else , including a game of verbal chess . The heir election between three sons , Richard (Anthony Hopkins , screen debut) , Geoffrey (John Castle) and John (Nigel Terry's first film role) will cause intrigues , hateful , blackmail and psychological manipulation . In spite of possession a kingdom spread all England and great portion France , there's one thing that Henry never can to control, his rebel family .
This film is a rich pageant of fun for drama enthusiastic and history lovers . This is a magnificent film inspired on real events and writings by James Goldman adapted from his own play , which deservedly won an Oscar . Superb drama with top-notch performances , duo starring gives triumphant characterizations . Fantastic and evocative musical score fitting to medieval times by John Barry with Academy Award included . Sensational production design shot on location and with an impressive castle ; furthermore , an atmospheric cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth , reflecting splendidly Middle Age . The tale was marvellously directed by Anthony Harvey at his best film , but after this , he strayed into the critical , though not commercial hits . Remade recently for television in inferior version by Andrei Konchalovsky with Patrick Stewart (Henry II) and Glenn Close (Eleanor of Aquitaine).
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