The Private Life of Henry VIII

1933

The Private Life of Henry VIII

Critics Consensus

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 15

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,290
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Movie Info

Alexander Korda's look at the reign of England's oft-married monarch stars Charles Laughton as the title character.

Cast

Charles Laughton
as Henry VIII
Merle Oberon
as Anne Boleyn
Binnie Barnes
as Katherine Howard
Elsa Lanchester
as Anne of Cleves
Robert Donat
as Thomas Culpepper
Miles Mander
as Wriothesly
John Loder
as Peynell
Wendy Barrie
as Jane Seymour
Lady Tree
as Henry's Old Nurse
Everley Gregg
as Catherine Parr
William Austin
as Duke of Cleves
John Turnbull
as Hans Holbein
Frederick Culley
as Duke of Norfolk
Gibb McLaughlin
as French executioner
Sam Livesey
as English Executioner
Franklin Dyall
as Thomas Cromwell
Judy Kelly
as Lady Rochford
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Critic Reviews for The Private Life of Henry VIII

All Critics (15) | Fresh (15)

Audience Reviews for The Private Life of Henry VIII

  • Feb 11, 2014
    It is ironic that this was considered to be Laughton's star turn because it is probably one of the worst performances that I have seen him in. This Henry is the stereotyped one and not the one played with nuance. For that reason, this picture never grows to the extent that it could.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2013
    Henry VIII is an interesting historical character.His Private life is the most fascinating part about him. For these reasons I'm shocked that The Private Life of Henry VIII was as boring as it was. And this was after watching Wedding Rehearsal. I understand this was back in the 1930s, but I would've wished for the film to be more risky. It was just a regular historical movie that one would watch ten minutes of in a history class. The scenery worked well, but nothing this film could do was enough to draw me in. Charles Laughton was a perfect Henry VIII to be fair, and despite only seeing a couple of his works, his becoming a favorite actor of the era.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Oct 11, 2012
    Henry VIII, a gigantic, gloating personality, marries multiple women and wrestles members of his court all while chewing on a turkey leg. Charles Laughton is exactly how I imagined Henry VIII when I look at Hans Holbein's famous portrait of the Tudor monarch and when I read about Henry in history books. His larger-than-life personality and gloating arrogance chew the scenery, just as I imagined the real Henry to be. He's garrulous and captivating, and Laughton plays him perfectly. I realize that the title is <i>The Private Life of Henry VIII</i> with an emphasis on the word private, but I can't say that the relationships Henry has with his six wives are given much attention. After all, the film begins with the execution of Anne Boleyn, so we miss Katherine of Aragon entirely and the infidelity that gave rise to Henry's break with Rome. The Reformation, the civil war with Scotland, and Henry's military victory in France all go by the wayside, and the film suffers for it. Overall, I love the character Laughton creates, but I only wish the film had included more of the events perpetrated by this fascinating historical figure.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 17, 2011
    A stunning portrayal of Henry VIII is given by Charles Laughton who won an Oscar for his role, is the center of The Private Life of Henry VIII. The film is a tongue in cheek display of the private life of the British King and being so, is often very humorous and yet still quite serious as people lose their lives fairly often. Once we are introduced to King Henry VIII we are told of his first wife who isn't seen because she was "too respectable to be included", and then we dive into his second marriage or I should say the end of his second marriage. We then proceed through the other of his six wives and the resulting impact each has, not just on the King himself but the whole of the court and the country. This is a very captivating film that is simple yet effective and really established Charles Laughton's international stardom and jump started his prolific career. A wonderful British piece!
    Chris B Super Reviewer

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