38 user 2 critic

The Lion in Winter (2003)

King Henry II meets with Eleanor of Aquitaine at Christmastide 1183 to choose one of his sons as his successor.


Andrey Konchalovskiy (as Andrei Konchalovsky)


James Goldman (play), James Goldman (teleplay)

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Glenn Close ... Eleanor
Andrew Howard ... Richard
Antal Konrád Antal Konrád ... Toastmaster
John Light ... Geoffrey
Soma Marko Soma Marko ... Young John
Jonathan Rhys Meyers ... Phillip
Rafe Spall ... John
Patrick Stewart ... Henry
Yuliya Vysotskaya ... Alais
Clive Wood ... William Marshall


King Henry II (Sir Patrick Stewart) keeps his wife, Eleanor (Glenn Close) locked away in the towers because of her frequent attempts to overthrow him. With Eleanor out of the way, he can have his dalliances with his young mistress (Yuliya Vysotskaya). Needless to say, the Queen is not pleased, although she still has affection for the King. Working through her sons, she plots the King's demise and the rise of her second and preferred son, Richard (Andrew Howard), to the throne. The youngest son, John (Rafe Spall), an overweight buffoon, and the only son holding his father's affection, is the King's choice after the death of his first son, young Henry. But John is also overly eager for power, and is willing to plot his father's demise with middle brother, Geoffrey (John Light) and the young King of France, Phillip (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Geoffrey, of course sees his younger brother's weakness and sees that route as his path to power.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


All of Britain and half of France were his kingdom. But there was one thing Henry II would never control . . . His Family. (DVD) See more »


Drama | History | Romance | War


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Release Date:

23 May 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lion in Winter See more »

Filming Locations:

Budapest, Hungary See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sir Patrick Stewart played Henry's son, Richard the Lionheart, in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). See more »


Eleanor refers to syphilis in one of her speeches, an impossibility in 1183 England. Syphilis was not named such until 1530 by Hieronymus Fracastorius. Regardless of whether Europe even had the disease prior to 1200, it could not have been known by that name to the Queen. See more »


Geoffrey: I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We're a knowledgeable family.
See more »


Version of The Lion in Winter (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

this lion is a loser
23 May 2004 | by m_whiteSee all my reviews

Why did these people have to go to Hungary to make this film? The whole thing appears to have been shot in some studio with leftover sets and costumes from some episode of the original Star Trek where they were transported back to medieval times. Everything looks like its made of styrofoam. Hey, they even put a dog in it to make it look gritty and realistic.

I do love Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close, and so I can only conclude that the director made them act the way they did. Neither of them has any teeth! Stewart snarls now and then, but nobody's *really* too worried about him. His Henry is ho-hum, OK, nothing to write home about, but what went wrong with Glenn Close? Her reading of this role is just weird. There are lines she delivers that just don't make sense when coupled with her face or tone. KH communicated all these subtle shifts with a lift of an eyebrow; Eleanor was agile as a cat, but GC emotes so promiscuously, you'd think Dr. Phil was behind a tapestry. Her Eleanor is schizy, and has nobody fooled. That odor of desperation is just wrong for this character. It feels like she combined Fatal Attraction with Mel Gibson's Hamlet's Gertrude to come up with this Eleanor. Wrong. I can't think of a role with more meat for a good actress to bite into. Why so far off the mark? Oh well.

The other players are not memorable enough for me to recall; they all played everything on one note.

If I was going to bother remaking a classic movie like this, I would have put the effort into it to use an appropriate location in France, get the costumes right, and give the actors some intelligent direction.

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