The Lion in Winter Reviews

  • Jan 07, 2021

    A good time period drama, but it was dark and sad. Good cast. Saw it on TCM.

    A good time period drama, but it was dark and sad. Good cast. Saw it on TCM.

  • Dec 29, 2020

    Its all about the acting and the banter. The verbal interplay is practically is really well executed.

    Its all about the acting and the banter. The verbal interplay is practically is really well executed.

  • Dec 12, 2020

    The ultimate screen writer's story of inside turmoil, deception, secrets and lies as well as selfishness. I never felt that there was a protagonist because they all seemed power hungry and selfish. Incredible amount of work put into this story and the legendary dialogue.

    The ultimate screen writer's story of inside turmoil, deception, secrets and lies as well as selfishness. I never felt that there was a protagonist because they all seemed power hungry and selfish. Incredible amount of work put into this story and the legendary dialogue.

  • Jul 17, 2020

    I think everyone involved did some of their worst work. The script is also embarrassingly bad.

    I think everyone involved did some of their worst work. The script is also embarrassingly bad.

  • Jun 20, 2020

    It is almost impossible to tell the story of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine badly. It is almost impossible to believe the people portrayed in "Lion in Winter" actually existed. But the truth was actually more melodramatic and implausible portrayed. As most of the other comments mention, the film's near greatness if largely due to the interaction of Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn. But Henry's sons must be mentioned. Anthony Hopkins shines in his film debut playing Richard I as more than 2-dimensional English idol portrayed in countless other films. Nigel Terry plays John I in way never presented before, and knowing John's history it is easy to believe he was that mistrustful, insecure, churlish and attempting to be scheming but not quite smart enough to carry it off! Timothy Dalton as Phillip II of France is fun to watch- now cagey, now slightly wicked, now callow and occasionally creepy. However, what most reviews don't mention is how bonkers and dysfunctional this whole family was. This was one of the most powerful family in British history and ruled one of the greatest empires of Europe. Though the entire movie is based on a fictional Christmas gathering near the end of Henry I's life. But in the loud (nearly violent) arguments, witty banter & scheming is nearly the entire history of the dawn of the bloody Plantagenets. My only quibble with the film is showing Henry II and his family (rulers of England, some of Wales and Ireland, and half of France) living Monty Pythonesque squalor. Just one look at the modern renovation of Dover Castle to meticulously recreate it's appearance during the reign of Henry II reveals how grand and affluently they lived. Peter O'Toole's earlier portrayal of Henry II in "Becket" is a more authentic window to royal life in the late 12th century.

    It is almost impossible to tell the story of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine badly. It is almost impossible to believe the people portrayed in "Lion in Winter" actually existed. But the truth was actually more melodramatic and implausible portrayed. As most of the other comments mention, the film's near greatness if largely due to the interaction of Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn. But Henry's sons must be mentioned. Anthony Hopkins shines in his film debut playing Richard I as more than 2-dimensional English idol portrayed in countless other films. Nigel Terry plays John I in way never presented before, and knowing John's history it is easy to believe he was that mistrustful, insecure, churlish and attempting to be scheming but not quite smart enough to carry it off! Timothy Dalton as Phillip II of France is fun to watch- now cagey, now slightly wicked, now callow and occasionally creepy. However, what most reviews don't mention is how bonkers and dysfunctional this whole family was. This was one of the most powerful family in British history and ruled one of the greatest empires of Europe. Though the entire movie is based on a fictional Christmas gathering near the end of Henry I's life. But in the loud (nearly violent) arguments, witty banter & scheming is nearly the entire history of the dawn of the bloody Plantagenets. My only quibble with the film is showing Henry II and his family (rulers of England, some of Wales and Ireland, and half of France) living Monty Pythonesque squalor. Just one look at the modern renovation of Dover Castle to meticulously recreate it's appearance during the reign of Henry II reveals how grand and affluently they lived. Peter O'Toole's earlier portrayal of Henry II in "Becket" is a more authentic window to royal life in the late 12th century.

  • Feb 25, 2020

    Hepburn's movies are either a hit or a pass for me. She's either incredibly annoying or endearingly charming. This was a pass, w/ way too much dialogue that reminded me of some plays I don't like such as Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolfe. A movie where u can't stand any of the characters, who make their own lives dreadful and partake in drama and misery for fun. The characters constantly are manipulating each other and lying. Not much happens at all by the end of this film, except exhausting u with their many schemes/plots that never take off. Ugh what a bore.

    Hepburn's movies are either a hit or a pass for me. She's either incredibly annoying or endearingly charming. This was a pass, w/ way too much dialogue that reminded me of some plays I don't like such as Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolfe. A movie where u can't stand any of the characters, who make their own lives dreadful and partake in drama and misery for fun. The characters constantly are manipulating each other and lying. Not much happens at all by the end of this film, except exhausting u with their many schemes/plots that never take off. Ugh what a bore.

  • Jun 19, 2019

    This feels like a spiritual successor to A Man for All Seasons (1966) in that it's a long, ponderous, boring British period drama in which great actors give wretched performances. I really disliked this film if you can't already tell as I found it to be absolutely tedious and it didn't even satisfy the requirements of a traditional costume drama because it's themes are not weighty or meaningful and the whole thing is a soap opera episode dressed up as prestige cinema. I can see why this film was director Anthony Harvey's only real hit because he doesn't manage to make the film feel like it's not a filmed play and draws the worst out of his talented cast. If you want to see a great period drama watch The Bostonians (1984), it's an underrated gem. The imprisoned Eleanor of Aquitane, Katharine Hepburn, is allowed out of her cell on Christmas day to visit her philandering husband King Henry II, Peter O'Toole, as they try to decide which of their sons will become King. Henry favors the lovable but unintelligent John, Nigel Terry, while Eleanor sides with the manipulative and secretly homosexual Richard, Anthony Hopkins, which causes a lot of conflict as the announcement is yet to be made. Complicating things further is the fact that Eleanor and Henry still have feelings for each other even as he wants to annul their marriage to marry his young mistress Alais, Jane Merrow. Richard's lover King Philip II of France, Timothy Dalton, attempts to manipulate the situation and the brothers all eventually turn against their father but the film has a melancholy ending that suggests better times are ahead. The biggest sin that the film commits is thinking that it is actually saying something. All of the verbose, flowery language that the actors spout as though it's the most important thing in the world serves as a sort of smokescreen to just how empty the film really is. The most exciting parts of the film came when Richard's homosexuality was revealed and his secret lover turned against him and when John almost killed his son but these are all plotlines handled with more grace and sensitivity in real soap operas like The Bold and the Beautiful. I didn't feel the passion and often felt like we spent heaps of time with situations that were fun for a few minutes but when dragged out just seemed ridiculous. If you want some trashy fun this isn't the film that will give it to you because it stretches out the camp for too long to be truly entertaining. The performances are also shameful as Hepburn, O'Toole and Hopkins all disappoint me with performances reminiscent of Robert Shaw in A Man for All Seasons. In short, they are all pretty awful. In each scene they seem to be competing against one another to see who can chomp on the scenery more aggressively, this is not pleasant to watch. Hepburn is wonderful in The Philadelphia Story (1940), O'Toole is at his best in Venus (2006) and Hopkins is at his repressed British best in The Remains of the Day (1993). I would suggest you watch all of the films before you venture to watch this film that allows them all to indulge their worst habits as actors with Hepburn's irritating accent only becoming stronger as the film progresses and O'Toole relying too much on his eyes. I find it laughable that this film received a Best Picture nomination in 1968 over 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and it's representative of all that was wrong with the Academy's tastes. They value the names attached to the film more than the quality of the film itself and it's sad to see people who have done much better work in other films be rewarded for this tripe. If I were Barbra Streisand I would be offended that somebody had equated her spirited, entertaining performance in Funny Girl (1968) to Hepburn's awfulness in this shameful picture. People deserve better from historical period dramas and it's a shame that this film is one of the most famous examples of the genre when it's such a poor representation of what can be brilliant when done right.

    This feels like a spiritual successor to A Man for All Seasons (1966) in that it's a long, ponderous, boring British period drama in which great actors give wretched performances. I really disliked this film if you can't already tell as I found it to be absolutely tedious and it didn't even satisfy the requirements of a traditional costume drama because it's themes are not weighty or meaningful and the whole thing is a soap opera episode dressed up as prestige cinema. I can see why this film was director Anthony Harvey's only real hit because he doesn't manage to make the film feel like it's not a filmed play and draws the worst out of his talented cast. If you want to see a great period drama watch The Bostonians (1984), it's an underrated gem. The imprisoned Eleanor of Aquitane, Katharine Hepburn, is allowed out of her cell on Christmas day to visit her philandering husband King Henry II, Peter O'Toole, as they try to decide which of their sons will become King. Henry favors the lovable but unintelligent John, Nigel Terry, while Eleanor sides with the manipulative and secretly homosexual Richard, Anthony Hopkins, which causes a lot of conflict as the announcement is yet to be made. Complicating things further is the fact that Eleanor and Henry still have feelings for each other even as he wants to annul their marriage to marry his young mistress Alais, Jane Merrow. Richard's lover King Philip II of France, Timothy Dalton, attempts to manipulate the situation and the brothers all eventually turn against their father but the film has a melancholy ending that suggests better times are ahead. The biggest sin that the film commits is thinking that it is actually saying something. All of the verbose, flowery language that the actors spout as though it's the most important thing in the world serves as a sort of smokescreen to just how empty the film really is. The most exciting parts of the film came when Richard's homosexuality was revealed and his secret lover turned against him and when John almost killed his son but these are all plotlines handled with more grace and sensitivity in real soap operas like The Bold and the Beautiful. I didn't feel the passion and often felt like we spent heaps of time with situations that were fun for a few minutes but when dragged out just seemed ridiculous. If you want some trashy fun this isn't the film that will give it to you because it stretches out the camp for too long to be truly entertaining. The performances are also shameful as Hepburn, O'Toole and Hopkins all disappoint me with performances reminiscent of Robert Shaw in A Man for All Seasons. In short, they are all pretty awful. In each scene they seem to be competing against one another to see who can chomp on the scenery more aggressively, this is not pleasant to watch. Hepburn is wonderful in The Philadelphia Story (1940), O'Toole is at his best in Venus (2006) and Hopkins is at his repressed British best in The Remains of the Day (1993). I would suggest you watch all of the films before you venture to watch this film that allows them all to indulge their worst habits as actors with Hepburn's irritating accent only becoming stronger as the film progresses and O'Toole relying too much on his eyes. I find it laughable that this film received a Best Picture nomination in 1968 over 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and it's representative of all that was wrong with the Academy's tastes. They value the names attached to the film more than the quality of the film itself and it's sad to see people who have done much better work in other films be rewarded for this tripe. If I were Barbra Streisand I would be offended that somebody had equated her spirited, entertaining performance in Funny Girl (1968) to Hepburn's awfulness in this shameful picture. People deserve better from historical period dramas and it's a shame that this film is one of the most famous examples of the genre when it's such a poor representation of what can be brilliant when done right.

  • May 27, 2019

    Surely 5 * ....its everything smart, shocking, & funny in the dialogue department that Game of Thrones isn't. And there's no daft dragon! Less is more every time, if you loved 'I Cladius' you will love this. Eleanor of Aquataine to her estranged husband Henry II ....and when you die which is regrettable but necessary you can't think Richard is going to wait for your grotesque to grow . Henry II ...You wouldn't let him do that ! Eleanor....let him I would push him through the nursery door!

    Surely 5 * ....its everything smart, shocking, & funny in the dialogue department that Game of Thrones isn't. And there's no daft dragon! Less is more every time, if you loved 'I Cladius' you will love this. Eleanor of Aquataine to her estranged husband Henry II ....and when you die which is regrettable but necessary you can't think Richard is going to wait for your grotesque to grow . Henry II ...You wouldn't let him do that ! Eleanor....let him I would push him through the nursery door!

  • Apr 03, 2019

    A humorous and witty take on Henry II with excellent acting all around.

    A humorous and witty take on Henry II with excellent acting all around.

  • Feb 09, 2019

    Superb and while O'Toole and Hepburn steal the show, young Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton were destined for stardom after these performances.

    Superb and while O'Toole and Hepburn steal the show, young Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton were destined for stardom after these performances.