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The Madness of King George (1994)

When King George III goes mad, his Lieutenants try to adjust the rules to run the country without his participation.


Nicholas Hytner


Alan Bennett (play), Alan Bennett (screenplay)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Rupert Graves ... Greville
Helen Mirren ... Queen Charlotte
Amanda Donohoe ... Lady Pembroke
Charlotte Curley Charlotte Curley ... Amelia
Peter Bride-Kirk Peter Bride-Kirk ... Royal Children
Eve Camden Eve Camden ... Royal Child
Thomas Copeland Thomas Copeland ... Royal Child
Joanna Hall Joanna Hall ... Royal Child
Cassandra Halliburton Cassandra Halliburton ... Royal Child
Russell Martin Russell Martin ... Royal Child
Natalie Palys Natalie Palys ... Royal Child
Rupert Everett ... Prince of Wales
Julian Rhind-Tutt ... Duke of York
David Leon David Leon ... Footman
Martin Julier Martin Julier ... Footman


Aging King George III of England is exhibiting signs of madness, a problem little understood in 1788. As the monarch alternates between bouts of confusion and near-violent outbursts of temper, his hapless doctors attempt the ineffectual cures of the day. Meanwhile, Queen Charlotte and Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger attempt to prevent the king's political enemies, led by the Prince of Wales, from usurping the throne. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


His Majesty was all powerful and all knowing. But he wasn't quite all there.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

28 December 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La folie du roi George See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS (8 channels)| Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Rupert Everett and Dame Helen Mirren played characters who were blood relatives; Everett as King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II in A Royal Night Out (2015); Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, daughter of King George VI in The Queen (2006). See more »


During all of the live musical performances (most notably during the George Frideric Handel Water Music performance that the King attends) the instruments are tuned to the modern tuning of A=440Hz instead of the lower pitched A=415Hz that 18th century instruments were tuned to. See more »


Greville: No, I... I cannot do it ma'am. Besides, if Her Majesty sees him, he-he-he-he still utters such improprieties.
Lady Pembroke: About what?
Greville: About... uh... about you madam.
Lady Pembroke: Tell me.
Greville: I cannot say.
Lady Pembroke: What is it His Majesty dreams of doing, Mr.Greville, hmm? Is it this?
Greville: Please madam.
Lady Pembroke: This?
Greville: Ooh!
Lady Pembroke: Or this?
See more »


Water Music
Music by George Frideric Handel
Heard at the concert the king attends
See more »

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User Reviews

Will be Hawthorne's epitaph
6 January 2002 | by Britlaw1See all my reviews

I originally saw this on stage at the Royal National Theatre in 1992 and then I saw it in the cinema when released as a film. I read a biography of the King recently and the death of Sir Nigel Hawthorne over Christmas prompted me to have another look at this.

I'm still bowled over and this will always be one of my top ten films, Hawthorne was never better and this will stand as the best of his legacy of fine performances.

His portrayal of the King is painfully accurate and largely historically correct in a superb script by Alan Bennett. The King was well educated but not particularly bright and Hawthorne brings his preremptory manner out so well. The scene where the King cross examines the Prime Minister about a minor appointment tells you more than you need to know of the sane man in two minutes.

The descent into madness is subtle at first, and might just be eccentricty but then gets worse and the Government are appalled at how they might lose control to the Opposition if there is a regency declared. The machinations become immense as so much hangs on the King's sanity.

Meanwhile treatment goes ahead and in a superb scene Hytner parodies the Coronation service when the King is strapped to a chair and gagged to Handel's 'Zadok the Priest'. In the Coronation service this music has since 1727 been used when the monarch is ceremonially led to St Edward's chair and is enthroned at the precise moment the choir comes in on the music.

However, the King recovers, though he had separate bouts of subsequent illness before totally losing it (though by then to Alzheimers) in 1811, though he was to live until 1820.

Hawthorne was robbed of an Oscar here in my view. Scriptwriter Bennett, one of our best living playwrights, has a small part as an MP.

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