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The Lion in Winter (1968)

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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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Won 3 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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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 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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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 October 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lion in Winter 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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Anthony Hopkins' debut in a full-length theatrical movie (he made his debut in the forty minute long Red, White and Zero (1967)). When young Hopkins expressed anxiety about his performance compared to such established names as Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn, Hepburn allegedly advised him, "Don't act. Leave that to me; I act all over the place. You don't need to act. You've got a good face, you've got a good voice, you've got a big body. Watch Spencer Tracy, watch the real American actors that never act, they just do it. Just show up and speak the lines." Hopkins later regarded this as the best acting advice he had ever been given. See more »

Goofs

After John goes out of the room, Eleanor stands up and talks to Geoffrey gesticulating with her right hand about her neck. Next shot her right hand is lower, about her belly. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Henry II: Come for me!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
THE film of 1968!
20 December 2002 | by gerry-russell-139See all my reviews

What were those Academy fools thinking?! They ignore a powerhouse performance by Peter O'Toole and trounce Anthony Harvey's inspiring direction! But the final indignity was in giving the best picture award to an over-praised, undeserving, insignificant musical called OLIVER! If they had a least half a brain in their heads they could've given to FUNNY GIRL but they only shoot themselves in the foot when the deserving go unrecognized. It only goes to show the Academy's just jealous. The script and Kate's performance at least were given the royal treatment but it still leaves bitter resentment when Cliff Roberston, one of Hollywood's most less-than-adequate actors cops the best actor away from O'Toole... possibly Hollywood's most underrated, not to mention unrecognized actors of the highest caliber. Hepburn's Eleanor of Aquitaine had witty lines, quiet but still present anger and fire underneath the surface but O'Toole as Henry II gave the more powerful performance... an aesthetic that echoed Taylor and Burton for WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? only Taylor was the gutsy performer and Burton doled out the cut-lows and the intellect. To coin a phrase from the British... "he (O'Toole) was bloody robbed!"

The story is set in Britain, 1183. Henry II is on the throne and has ten years earlier imprisoned his wife Eleanor of Acquitaine after co-conspirating a civil war against him. She and their three sons (Richard, the eldest, a brave warrior on the battlefield, whom Eleanor wants to succeed Henry as king; Geoffrey, the quietly vicious, unappreciated middle son of whom neither of them love with a plot for every occurrence and John, the piggish, dirty, thieving brat is their youngest whom Henry for some unknown reason wants on the throne) are all requested to appear at their palace of Chinon for the Christmas holidays. Also invited is young King Philip II of France whose elder sister Alais is the treasured and much-loved mistress to Henry. Philip wishes to have Alais mearried off to one of Henry's sons (preferably Richard) in order to form an alliance between England and France made between Henry and Philip's father, the late King Louis. But meanwhile, Philip is also plotting with all three boys and Eleanor to tear Henry's kingdom apart. Eleanor is merely in on it to get back at Henry for loving Alais (whom she had raised as a surrogate daughter) and the late Rosmund, an old rival of Eleanor's whom Henry replaced her with.

This film has it all: infidelity, betrayal, family dysfunction and a script that crackles with venom, wit and plot-twisting motivation. See it if only for O'Toole and Hepburn's first-rate performances.


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