The Lion in Winter
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The year is 1183. Like many a modern-day politician, Britain's King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) finds it occasionally useful to take his wife out of mothballs and parade her before the public. Henry's Queen Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn), long exiled to a faraway castle, is "invited" to join Henry and their three sons for a family reunion. In this way, Henry hopes to maintain a stronghold on his Empire and to prevent the balance of power from shifting to Eleanor or to one of his sons: Richard the Lion-Hearted (Anthony Hopkins in his movie debut), Prince Geoffrey (John Castle),… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Henry and Eleanor are reduced to a TV-sized version of the sovereigns next door, their epic struggle shrunk to sitcom squabbles."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Director Anthony Harvey opened up Goldman's play into authentic spaces far from any proscenium, and remained faithful to an energetic drama propelled by its performances and dialogue."
‑ Mark Bourne,
"While the script and the performances are simply dazzling, it is notable, too, for the screen debuts of Timothy Dalton and a combustible Anthony Hopkins."
‑ Adrian Turner, Radio Times
"It's stagey and mannered, but it still feels sleek and modern."
‑ , Total Film
"A trashy, gossipy, anachronistic marital drama, about the royal squabbles of Henry II and exiled wife, is well-acted by Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn, who won a third Oscar for her wicked scheming; watch for Anthony Hopkins in his screen debut"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"James Goldman's screenplay, so chic and sophisticated to the ears of suburbanites, is chock-full of the worst kind of sophomoric fiddling with what Goldman takes to be genuine highfalutin lingo."
‑ Don Druker, Chicago Reader
"Harvey's direction is intelligent enough, though the reduction of power struggles to fits of personal pique -- where the fate of nations hangs in the balance -- becomes a little irritating. Enjoyable for its two lead performances, however."
‑ Rod McShane, Time Out
"O'Toole holds his own with the magnificent Hepburn in a witty, literate, and inventive script."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Intelligently produced historical drama."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A must-see for perhaps the most scathing verbal pyrotechnics ever committed to film."
‑ Martin Scribbs, Low IQ Canadian
"An intense, fierce, personal drama put across by outstanding performances of Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"...outdoorsy and fun, full of the kind of plotting and action people used to go to just plain movies for."
‑ Renata Adler, New York Times
"A must-see."
‑ , Film4
"Peter O'TOole and Katharine Hepburn are superb as the bickering, yet loving Henry II and his meddling wife Eleanor of Aquitaine."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"You'll either love or reject the idea of history as sitcom; either way, the lead performances are hard to deny."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
More reviews for The Lion in Winter on Rotten Tomatoes

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