What a gem of a film. It's the story of Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine in the later years of their life. Their union was a politically astute move, but also a passionate one and they produced eight offspring, including Richard the Lionheart and John. The film is set during the Christmas festivities, Eleanor has been imprisoned for 10 years in various castles, and Henry has let her out to enjoy the holidays. Much water has passed between these two, plotting, treason and infidelities. Henry is still trying to decide who to appoint as his heir, he wants John and Eleanor wants Richard. The chemistry between the two leads is palpable. The love, lust and hatred swirls around the stone walls as they bounce the fantastic lines off each other. It's a story of forgiveness, love, regret and revenge...and it's beautiful and truly heartbreaking. All the more so because apart from obvious artistic license, it is by and large, true. Haughty and heartbroken Hepburn, handsome and obstinate O'Toole were made for these roles. only objection is that they portray Prince John as a cretinous half-wit, which history tells us he was certainly not. Fantastic.
I enjoyed 'Becket' much better than this film, but Peter O'Toole gives his usual brilliant performanc (he must have done a lot of hard living between these two films; he looks a little worse for wear compared to the way he does in Becket). Lots of yelling out which gets a bit annoying, but overall a superior film.
A brilliant script. Such a pleasure to have a film with wit and ideas and so solidly directed. Most excellent performances.
This is my favorite movie of all time. Henry the Second locked up in a castle over Christmas with Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lion Heart , Bad Prince John and a few others. All of them are three faced and all of them plotting and scheming for power using every method available, sex, violence, deceit, bribery, entrapment, blackmail and love. The dialog is fast and witty, almost Shakespearian (with out the thee's and thou's). Pay attention and be rewarded with one of the finest movies ever made. (The T.V. series "The West Wing" quotes this movie a couple of times and I think its creator tried to copy The Lion in Winter's style of dialog
Even being aware of the story of the Norman warlords of England and France fighting over bits of territory for generations I was annoyed that the film plunges the viewer directly into an inexplicably violent and quarrelsome world with lots of shouting. It might have got better later, being based on a well-reputed stage play, but I didn't wait to see.
This was excruciating to sit through. Peter O'Toole's blustering acting style seems extraordinarily dated. Hepburn is Hepburn, an acquired taste as far as I am concerned, but her character is so vicious and glib that it wrenched my stomach to watch. This whole ordeal is not even historically accurate, so what is the point? It is like 'Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf' in 12th century garb. Very much of its era, and I am glad that era is long gone! The only point of enduring interest is Anthony Hopkins' early film performance.
Utterly superb! O'Toole, Hepburn, Hopkins
Sharp dialogue from outstanding performers, but a thoroughly dysfunctional family . Not enjoyable
A movie about another dysfunctional royal family but this one is set in 1138.
The continual plotting, treachery and machinations became tedious and difficult
to follow. They are all unplesant characters with the exception of the
unfortunate lovely mistress. A great soundtrack by John Barry.
The two giants Kathy & Richie give their greatest perfomance in
this historical saga. Kostumes vere superb too. Great enjoyment.
If you like period dramas and Katherine Hepburn as an actress, then you will enjoy this film.