6.2/10
2,918
39 user 13 critic

To Kill a King (2003)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 2003 (USA)
Trailer
1:39 | Trailer
A recounting of the relationship between General Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, as they try to cope with the consequences of deposing King Charles I.

Director:

Mike Barker

Writer:

Jenny Mayhew
Reviews
3 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Roth ... Oliver Cromwell
Dougray Scott ... Sir Thomas Fairfax
Olivia Williams ... Lady Anne Fairfax
James Bolam ... Denzil Holles
Corin Redgrave ... Lord de Vere
Finbar Lynch ... Cousin Henry
Julian Rhind-Tutt ... James
Adrian Scarborough ... Sergeant Joyce
Jeremy Swift ... Earl of Whitby
Rupert Everett ... King Charles I
Steven Webb ... Boy at Naseby
Jake Nightingale Jake Nightingale ... Colonel Pride
Leonard Woodcock ... Young Royalist prisoner
Thomas Arnold ... Messenger at Naseby
Sam Spruell ... King's guard
Learn more

More Like This 

Cromwell (1970)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Oliver Cromwell can no longer tolerate King Charles' policies, and the self-interest of the ruling class, and leads a civil war to install Parliament as the ultimate ruler of England.

Director: Ken Hughes
Stars: Richard Harris, Alec Guinness, Robert Morley
Action | Adventure | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The life and battles of James I, King of Aragon (a.k.a. King Conqueror), the most renowned of the Spanish medieval kings of Aragon (1213-1276), who added the Kingdom of Valencia, the ... See full summary »

Director: José Antonio Escrivá
Stars: Tim Roth, Thomas Kretschmann, Asier Etxeandia
Amazing Grace (2006)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The idealist William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd) maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade.

Director: Michael Apted
Stars: Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon
Fields of Gold (TV Movie 2002)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A two-part conspiracy thriller about an eager young photographer and a bitter tabloid hacker who are sent to investigate mysterious deaths at a cottage hospital.

Director: Bill Anderson
Stars: Anna Friel, Phil Davis, Max Beesley
Vatel (2000)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Vatel is in charge of the reception to the king Louis XIV. With the prince's political ambitions at stake, its essential to please him. But when he falls in love with the king's lover, passion and duty seem to contradict each other.

Director: Roland Joffé
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A fairytale thriller film set one night in a 1390's London theatre where all is not what it seems.

Director: Susan Luciani
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Lindsay Duncan, Jim Carter
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

In the mid-18th Century, as England and France battle over control of Canada, an epic romance between a peasant woman and a trapper unfurls.

Director: Jean Beaudin
Stars: Noémie Godin-Vigneau, David La Haye, Juliette Gosselin
Backsliding (1992)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

While in prison, Jack had two momentous experiences: he got religion, and met the woman who would become his wife. He and Alison are devoted to the idea of staying in God's good graces, so ... See full summary »

Director: Simon Target
Stars: Tim Roth, Jim Holt, Odile Le Clezio
Strayed (2003)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Emmanuelle Béart stars as a widowed schoolteacher who flees Nazi-occupied Paris with her children. A teenaged boy comes to their rescue by leading them into the forest -- their best shot at survival.

Director: André Téchiné
Stars: Emmanuelle Béart, Gaspard Ulliel, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet
Cromwell (2008)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A serial killer finds an angelic escape from madness in the distorted love of an exotic dancer. Her only demand? Exterminate her brutal companion.

Director: Jonathan Anderson
Stars: Archie Cromwell, Eleonora Barna, David Colucci
Hawking (TV Movie 2004)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A drama documenting the life and work of the theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking who, despite being diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, has galvanized the ... See full summary »

Director: Philip Martin
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Brandon, Tom Hodgkins
Third Star (2010)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

James and his three closest lifelong friends go on an ill-advised trip to the stunning coastal area of Barafundle Bay in West Wales. What follows is a touching and comical adventure dealing with friendship, heroism and love.

Director: Hattie Dalton
Stars: Tom Burke, Benedict Cumberbatch, JJ Feild

Photos

Edit

Storyline

A recounting of the relationship between General Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, as they try to cope with the consequences of deposing King Charles I.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It takes a traitor and a hero... See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Rupert Everett agreed to play King Charles I only if he got to play the trial scene. See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence, Fairfax shoots the sword out of the hand of Cromwell's assassin with a flintlock pistol at about 30 yards range. Such pistols had no rifling at that period and were incapable of nowhere near such accuracy, even in the hands of an expert. To shoot at that range Fairfax would have been more likely to have hit the assassin. Also the bullet struck sparks from the sword hilt when it hit. This is impossible as the bullet would have been a soft lead ball and incapable of creating a spark. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sir Thomas Fairfax: I now believe that all crowns corrupt those who wear them.
See more »

User Reviews

 
Read Antonia Fraser instead
2 March 2004 | by Jonathan DoreSee all my reviews

It's amazing that, three decades after Antonia Fraser's great biography of Cromwell ("Cromwell: Our Chief of Men", 1973; out in a new edition, 2002), the old clichés and inaccuracies about him - ultimately derived from the post-Restoration character assassination satirized in "1066 and All That" - are still being as enthusiastically retailed as they are in this film.

That the dominant image of Cromwell is going to be of Ollie the psychopath is telegraphed in advance by the casting of Tim Roth to play him. Why people think this man can act has always been a mystery to me, but ever since "Reservoir Dogs" he has become so identified with the image of a psychopath that his mere presence is a sign that irrational violence is coming up soon. Right at the beginning of the film we are smacked over the head with this characterization when, before we have heard Cromwell speak a word, we see him barely being restrained from murdering a defenceless man. Later he organizes the torture and then murder of a prisoner, randomly shoots a street vendor in the leg, and ordains a painful execution for a would-be assassin in a fit of uncontrolled rage.

On the other hand, he loves his old mate Fairfax, spends hours writing up a proper constitutional settlement to give ordinary people the right to a fair trial, and shows an almost Woody-Allenesque unconfidence in his abilities as a military commander (comically, since even his enemies conceded his military genius). All these positive character traits are presumably thrown into the mix in order to give the semblance of roundedness, depth, or complexity to the characterization. The trouble is that the combination makes this Cromwell not complex, but simply incoherent. One cannot suspend disbelief in him. That's why, in this case, to say "it's a movie, not history" is not an answer to the criticism. It's precisely because it doesn't make sense as history that it doesn't work as a movie either.

The film is also notable for perpetuating the great Royalist lie that Charles I's death warrant was signed by the regicides before the verdict had been announced - indeed, before the trial had even begun. The document was certainly drawn up in advance (the defendant's guilt being as much a matter of public record as Goering's at Nuremberg), but there is no evidence that it was *signed* beforehand; on such a serious matter it's extremely unlikely the regicides would have opened themselves to the accusation of not observing the proper legal process (see the excellent page about the death warrant that I give the address for in the message boards). From the point of view of film-making, though, the most striking thing is how it totally squandered the dramatic opportunity of the trial itself - which took three days, incidentally, not, as it's presented here, three minutes, with people shouting "guilty" before any evidence has even been presented. As an opportunity to probe Charles's psychology, as he was presented with evidence of the damage his actions had caused, it was completely wasted.

Rupert Everett plays Charles brilliantly, and in the context of a better film it's a performance that would surely have drawn more of the plaudits that it deserves. His mixture of regal dignity, seductiveness, arrogance, and overweening self-belief make a compelling portrait (being true to life, these contradictions, unlike those assigned to Cromwell, actually make a coherent whole). Throughout all his conversations with his captors, his fundamental inability to accord their grievances the slightest legitimacy clearly illustrates how frustrating and ultimately fruitless the attempt to negotiate with him must have been, and why the conflict could only end with his death. Dougray Scott also brings gravitas and pathos to his role of Fairfax, and he sustains the tension of his conflicting loyalties well - even if that tension is historically bogus. As actors, he and Everett deserve to have been in a better film.

While Americans work the comparatively narrow seam of their history so intensively, it's a great shame that the Brits don't make more of some of the incomparably dramatic moments in their own. An even greater shame that, when they occasionally get the chance, it's fluffed with a script of such silliness and banality as this.


64 of 81 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 39 user reviews »

Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A királyt megölni... See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$14,300,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$567,471
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed