The Lion in Winter - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Lion in Winter Reviews

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July 24, 2014
More plotting and betrayal than Game of Thrones, somehow.
½ March 13, 2014
Good acting and intelligible story, but just too much back and forth between characters' states of mind. At a certain point the performances can't even make those bipolar shifts believable. And they're not believable even for a dysfunctional family. Nonetheless there's plenty of memorable dialogue and the movie keeps you wondering rooting and admiring the old lion played by Peter O'Toole.
March 5, 2014
Talk about a Dysfunctional Family, these Monarchs Hate each other in this Must See Movie, if you Love History, as I do.This All Star Cast each holds their own in this True Story of Greed & Power at it'd "Fighting Dirty" Best.
February 25, 2014
Wow just brilliant! Can't believe I've never seen this before. Amazing acting and script! Top notch all the way!
Super Reviewer
½ February 16, 2014
wonderful war of words among masters.
February 15, 2014
Dazzling dialogue and the greatest performance in both O'Toole's and Hepburn's careers make this movie a classic. The complexity of the character's and their relationships is the product of wonderful writing.Anthony Harvey catches the emotion like no other in his wonderful direction and John Barry's riveting score.
February 13, 2014
The Lion in Winter attracted me solely on the basis of Peter O'Toole's acting talents, and essentially that is what kept me entertained all the way through.

The Lion in Winter had a Shakespearian feel to it, yet it transcended many of the usual story issues by having a fine touch of charming humour to go with it as it unveils its story about King Henry II and his challenges in life. It's like Shakespeare, but it has 3 elements that elevate it above Shakespearian cinema. One is that it has humour which is more obvious without having to research it for hours on end to find one joke, and yet the humour is subtle and effective. Another is that it's written in a comprehendible language with a strong script. And thirdly is that it doesn't completely suck. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I hate Shakespeare. But I didn't hate The Lion in Winter as it took the good elements of Shakespearian cinema and left the bad, save from a lot of talking and a rather slow pace.
The production design in The Lion in Winter is spot on as it makes the plot thoroughly convincing of the story's timeframe and setting, as do the costumes.
And the cinematography is just excellent as it constantly manages to keep everything in perspective without too much movement or editing. Plus the locations The Lion in Winter is shot on prove beneficial.
The Lion in Winter receives thoroughly strong direction from Anthony Harvey, and under it the cast all manage to succeed and make an impact.

Peter O'Toole is incredibly ferociously strong in The Lion in Winter and it's undoubtably one of his greatest performances. The power in his performance is laden with the kind of strength that Shakespearian actors could only dream about, because Peter O'Toole is so fierce and so powerful without going over the top that his intimidation as an actor has honestly never been stronger than it is in The Lion in Winter. His performance is so dominating that it's ridiculous that he wouldn't win the Academy Award for Best Actor, just as it is ridiculous that he was nominated for 8 in his lifetime without ever winning. Nevertheless he gives the greatest performance of the film and makes The Lion in Winter an unforgettable experience.
I'd say that Katharine Hepburn gives one of her finest performances, but considering that practically every performance of hers is one of her best, it's safe to say that her performance in The Lion in Winter is terrific. She uses her same talented charisma as an actress and skill for confident line delivery that she always uses to charm audiences into giving her four Academy Awards, with The Lion in Winter being the third of them. Her chemistry with Peter O'Toole was also exceptional, since there was a real marital spirit to what they were conveying, and her character development as she gradually made more of an impact standing up to King Henry II as the story went on.

Anthony Hopkins also gives one of the best supporting performances from early on in his career. He shows off the same dramatic passion and character dedication that would later win him an Academy Award and earn him such a respectful reputation. His charisma is strong and his talent at creating chemistry with other actors is rich. Anthony Hopkins is great to see working under Peter O'Toole as they are two of cinema's most celebrated male actors, and seeing them in the same film is quite the experience.
Timothy Dalton supplies some strong talents from earlier on in his film career as well, and John Castle and Nigel Terry also did a fine job.

So The Lion in Winter is an incredibly well acted and visually strong story which has most of the good Shakespearian cinematic elements and few of the bad ones.
January 23, 2014
Brilliant acting! Hepburn at her best!
½ January 12, 2014
Wow. It's been a while since I've seen a film acted so superbly by everyone involved. How Peter O'Toole lost the Oscar to Cliff "Original Uncle Ben" Robertson is beyond me. He's an imposing force of nature here. At least Katharine Hepburn wasn't robbed, earning her 3rd Oscar (and 2nd in a row!). Watching the 2 of them banter back and forth is an absolute delight. The scorn and vile remarks that drip from each tongue just spit acid and hate, yet you see how there's something there that keeps them from truly destroying each other. Also shocking is just how funny some of the dialogue is here, especially from a film that's nearly 45yrs old. Add to that Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton in their first major screen roles, and you've got a spectacular cast who are all on fine form. What shocks me most about this, is that John Castle, as middle son Geoffrey didn't end up a bigger star. His scheming and sly behaviour and demeanor are just a blast to watch. You think you had a bad Christmas with the family recently? Ask Henry II how his was. Essential for anyone who says they are a film buff, or who actually likes great acting.
December 28, 2013
"The Lion in Winter" has a fantastic cast headlined by the immortal Peter O'Toole as King Henry II, Katharine Hepburn plays his wife Eleanor, and Anthony Hopkins (his film debut) as Richard, one of Henry's three sons. Henry is fifty and all three want to inherit his throne, they all including his creepy wife devour each other on Christmas. I couldn't help thinking of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" while viewing this film, it can be considered a lesser, unintentional response to Mike Nichols' work. With the exception of one dialogue, this is one of the most unpredictable films I've seen; it's a war of words, a family drama set in a kingdom. Peter O'Toole shines most brightly; the scene where he is with King Philip II of France to discuss matters is not only the best of the movie, but showcases O'Toole's monstrous acting prowess to its peak and further. I don't think I really understood the point and intentions of its characters, the plot consists of a twist after a twist; it was really hard for me to distinguish humor from seriousness, so I think it's flawed. Maybe it's a better film than I am giving credit for, but then I am reminded of specific scenes where dramatic dialogues feel empty, sometimes I am put off by it, it seems like a frail exercise in who can say the most cleverly insulting sentence to another. I can't put this film all together in my head, and maybe this was the intention, I did enjoy it very much. It's an actor's delight.
November 30, 2013
Super Reviewer
November 26, 2013
Peter O'Toole breathes life into Henry II. The intrigue around the palace is worthy of an entire season of Game of Thrones. This story is real although one suspects that Henry II was less of a lion than O'Toole.
½ October 12, 2013
Interesting for historical reasons and the performances were very good but a difficult watch if you don't like Katerine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole, like me. It is like a medievil soap opera and can get a bit tedious. I watched this as it is Johnny Rottens favorite film, a tad surprising.
October 2, 2013
Some may find this movie to be pointless, but overall it's a great character study and voices feelings many of us have but never make known. I'm not sure of the accuracy concerning Prince Richard in this story, but it's a subject that the makers of this movie should have been careful with, especially if the allegation in untrue.
September 26, 2013
One of my favorite movies of all time. Katharine Hepburn is superb.
August 15, 2013
Peter O'Toole's second outing playing Henry II (after Becket). The film's origins as a stage play show through, but in a positive way, with powerful dialogue making up for the fairly static stagings. O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn are outstanding as the embattled King and the estranged Queen Eleanor and there is also strong support from Anthony Hopkins as a less than lionhearted future Richard Coeur De Lion and Timothy Dalton as his venal former lover, Phillip II of France.
August 5, 2013
Depicting the story of the haunting late years of Henry II, The Lion in Winter features brilliant confrontations between Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins and the remaining cast. Despite the historical inaccuracy of the film, the bloody origin and aftermath are all facts easily forgotten nowadays, especially for the non-British people who know few about history. Despite the excellent performance from the cast, the confrontation, provocation and revelation are just too tiresome and unbearable to watch and recall.
July 10, 2013
One of Hepburn's Finest..Must See ..Twice....
June 30, 2013
I was aware of Katharine Hepburn's legend but to see her at work is a whole other thing. This goes in my ultimate top of stellar performances. Her layers of subtelty makes modern acting seem plastic by comparison. Bigger than nature, she sowmehow never falls into overplaying, shes just godly. In terms of intrigue this story is also completely crazy. Crossing, double and triples that would make Shakespeare look like a nice politician. The slow pace of it makes it poetic and bucolic, and endlessly tragic. Its like a th
eater but nothing is static.
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