Katharine Hepburn delivers an amazing (Variety), OscarĀ(r)-winning* performance 'that must be seen to be believed (Boxoffice) in this dazzling (Los Angeles Times) all-star film that is not to be missed. Behind the gr... more »eat stone walls of an English castle, the world's most powerful empire is in crisis. Three sons struggle to win their father's favoras well as his crown. King Henry II (Peter O'toole) and his queen, Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn), engage ina battle of royal wits that pits elder son Richard (Anthony Hopkins) against his brothers, while the cunning King Philip of France (Timothy Dalton) takes advantage of the internal fracturing in his bid to destroy their kingdom. *1968: Actress« less
A classic but a bit too slow for me. I used 120X FF during most of the movie. This was action before the CGI where they spent hundreds of thousands or millions on sets and costumes.
Ellen M. (EllenMargaret) from SMACKOVER, AR Reviewed on 4/7/2015...
This is an interesting movie and if you read the other reviews, I agree that yes, it's very cleverly written and very well acted. However, if you're looking for action, adventure, and romance, it's a yawner. I tried my best to watch it twice and fell asleep both times. If you want to listen to a dysfunctional royal family snarking at each other inside a dreary medieval castle, that's mainly what it is. Sorry, I couldn't make it to the end.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Impeccably written and acted, this is a movie for the ages
namepeace | Nashville, TN United States | 01/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, this movie is a period piece. But this movie, adapted from a wonderful play,is at the end of the day a powerful tale of an acutely dysfunctional family. Set during the Christmas season in 12th century England, this story is powerfully scripted and superbly acted by everyone. Peter O'Toole gives his tour de force performance as Henry II, a world-weary monarch intent on maintaining supremacy and establishing his legacy. Katherine Hepburn, in what is the among the finest movie performances I have ever seen, plays his deadly foil (and oh yes, estranged wife) Queen Eleanor of Acquitaine, who is determined to thwart his plans. The issue: which of their surviving children will inherit the throne of England, and marry Alais, the sister of the King of France? The pawns in this game are Alais and the English Princes, Richard the Lionhearted (Anthony Hopkins), John (Nigel Terry of Excalibur fame), and Geoffrey. Then of course, there is the wild card, the teenage French monarch, Philip (Timothy Dalton).In this movie you have all of the themes of familial dysfunction: the vitriol and wistfulness of an estranged couple, the frustrations of the "model" eldest child, the resentment of the neglected middle child, the eccentricities of the overindulged youngest child, a May-December affair triggered by a mid-life crisis, holiday depression, and it goes on and on. This movie is so adept at exploring these topics that it makes "American Beauty" (a good film in its own right) seem almost sophomoric.What makes this movie stand out is the writing. There is no other movie this side of "The Godfather" that has contained such enjoyable dialogue and character development. The dialogue in this movie is outstanding ("It's not the power I feel deprived of, it's the mention that I miss"; "Give me a little peace/A little? Why so modest? How about eternal peace? Now there's a thought.")I doubt there will ever be another movie that will be so skillful in weaving together historical material, political intrigue, and slice-of-life issues into so seamlessly. This is one of my 10 favorite movies. Please rent it, and if you can find it, buy it."
FXO | New York, NY | 06/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Could not resist adding my praise for such a superior motion picture. Set in a violent, unstable time of frequent wars and unrelenting political machinations, "The Lion In Winter" captures a vivid 12th Century reality. A story set in the latter part of the reign of England's Henry II (Peter O'Toole), it explores the convoluted dynamics of royal family politics and medieval intrigue. Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn), Henry's Queen, is released from her confinement in an English castle to join Henry at the Christmas court in France (at this time, Henry ruled large parts of modern France as well as England). Eleanor was confined due to her support of Henry's sons in their uprising against him. Henry does not want a reoccurence. Their sons included Richard, the Lion-Hearted (Anthony Hopkins) and the Magna Carta's King John, who are also at the Christmas court. A truly amazing cast of characters are propelled by magnificent performances and just about the best written dialogue ever put on film. Miss Hepburn's Eleanor won her an Academy Award for best actress. A terrific accompaniment to the movie is Alison Weir's recent book "Eleanor Of Aquitaine". Eleanor was the wife of two kings, the mother of three kings, the great-grandmother of two saints and lived through two Crusades. A fascinating woman, she lived into her 80s, outliving eight of her ten children. Henry succeeded in building and holding together an empire that stretched from Scotland to the south of France."
"Fragile I am not; affection is a pressure I can bear."
mr_nasty | 04/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Without a doubt, if you are a lover of history and intrigue, then this video will be worth its weight in gold to you. Kate Hepburn and Peter O'Toole both should have won Oscars hands down (unfortunately, Cliff Robertson beat O'Toole, and Hepburn had to share her Oscar with Babs in Funny Girl). Hepburn is the definitive Eleanor of Aquitaine - a handsome, regal queen who is as devious, witty, and intelligent as her perfectly matched husband, Henry II, king of England, played to the absolute hilt by Peter O'Toole (his mannerisms and voice in this film recall Brian Blessed, pitching his voice to the balcony and gesturing broadly). Just to hear the Great Kate speak this dialogue is a treat for fans of the play ("Henry, I have a confession to make . . I don't much like our children."); and fans of British actors will enjoy seeing Anthony Hopkins as Richard and Timothy Dalton as Philip, king of France. I, for one, instantly developed a crush on the young actress who plays Alais, Jane Merrow (one wonders why she didn't make more films). Some may also recognize John Castle as Geoffrey; he also appeared almost 10 years later as Postumous in the BBC production of "I, Claudius". A story that, much like a soap opera, will keep you riveted until the very end (even if you know your history and you already know what's going to happen); I for one got a kick out of hearing certain characters seemingly pour their hearts out, only to see them five minutes later come clean and say it was merely an act. The dialogue is witty and yet extremely literate - the only drawback for me, personally, is that supposedly this film is the favorite of Sylvester Stallone (groan) - that in and of itself makes me ashamed to say that I find it a flawless, entertaining, imaginative look at the court of Henry II."
Marry Me, "Lion In Winter"--Be My Queen
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 10/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How much do I love "The Lion in Winter"? Let's just say that if man and DVD union were legal in the state of Nevada, I'd rush over to the new Hooter's Casino Chapel and get a quickie marriage to it. We'd live happily for a time and rear three supremely ungrateful children--the oldest of which would bear a striking resemblance to Hannibal Lecter. Someday, though, I know a Deluxe version DVD is going to come out with lots of great features. I'm going to need to upgrade! But instead of just throwing my old copy of "The Lion In Winter" away, I'd banish it to someplace where I wouldn't have to look at it anymore. Occasionally, though, I'd feel nostalgic--especially around the holidays--I'd cart it out to spend time with the family.
Seriously, "The Lion in Winter" is my favorite movie of all time. This is a brilliant film adaptation of a brilliant play, and I cherish it as perhaps the most literate film ever made! The screenplay won a well deserved Oscar, for this movie soars on its dialogue. It is merciless, gut-wrenching, hysterical, powerful and wickedly intelligent entertainment. The verbal bloodbaths, the vicious head games, the intentional cruelty--never has a Christmas been so entertaining. Don't be put off by the pedigree of talent involved with this film. It is not a staid, dignified chamber piece, NO! It is all out family warfare. It is also bitterly funny and uncompromising to the end.
Katherine Hepburn gives her finest performance in an Oscar winning role, and not to overstate it--but I think its one of the greatest film performances ever. Really. Peter O'Toole is dynamic and engaging, and every member of the cast is in fine form. It's especially interesting to see a young Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton, complete with shocking (by 1968 standards) references to homosexuality. Sadly, it's John Castle, as neglected middle child Geoffrey, who often gets overlooked in reviews of this film. Geoffrey, the child who no one claims, is easily the most worthy and most intelligent--yet his cry for attention manifests itself as cold-hearted manipulation. Middle child syndrome has never been so diabolically on point.
Through the years, I have made everyone I know watch this film. It is surprisingly contemporary. We see similar examples of family dysfunction every day in film and TV. But they aren't usually Royals, and they aren't as psychologically challenging. This is GRAND, FUNNY entertainment--and if you fashion yourself sophisticated and literate, this is a perfect movie. Even if you just like popcorn movies, you can enjoy this as extreme comedy.
Perfection.... KGHarris, 10/06. "
A classic historical drama of the ages
historyone | Republic of Texas, USA | 05/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a History Major specializing in the Medieval Period of Europe (500-1450AD)and was recommended this classic film to see by a History Professor. WOW! I was supremely impressed by not only the outstanding acting by the immortal Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'toole but also the accuracy of the drama portrayed. The political infighting between Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II of England is brilliantly presented as well as the supporting cast of Richard The Lionheart (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and King Phillipe of France (Timothy Dalton). The range of emotion is shown from humor, which is biting, to dispair shown superbly by both O'Toole and Hepburn. From the first scene to the last, this movie will keep the viewer rivoted. I can't recommend this film highly enough. The musical score by John Barry is fantastic as well. The Lion In Winter is well worth 5 stars and more."