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The Lion in Winter

4.7 out of 5 stars 505 customer reviews

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(Jun 19, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Katharine Hepburn delivers an amazing (Variety), OscarÂ(r)-winning* performance 'that must be seen to be believed (Boxoffice) in this dazzling (Los Angeles Times) all-star film that is not to be missed. Behind the great stone walls of an English castle, the world's most powerful empire is in crisis. Three sons struggle to win their father's favoras well as his crown. King Henry II (Peter O'toole) and his queen, Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn), engage ina battle of royal wits that pits elder son Richard (Anthony Hopkins) against his brothers, while the cunning King Philip of France (Timothy Dalton) takes advantage of the internal fracturing in his bid to destroy their kingdom. *1968: Actress

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins, John Castle, Nigel Terry
  • Directors: Anthony Harvey
  • Writers: James Goldman
  • Producers: Jane C. Nusbaum, Joseph E. Levine, Martin Poll
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2001
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (505 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056HEA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,719 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Lion in Winter" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Yes, this movie is a period piece. But this movie, adapted from a wonderful play,is at the end of the day a powerful tale of an acutely dysfunctional family. Set during the Christmas season in 12th century England, this story is powerfully scripted and superbly acted by everyone. Peter O'Toole gives his tour de force performance as Henry II, a world-weary monarch intent on maintaining supremacy and establishing his legacy. Katherine Hepburn, in what is the among the finest movie performances I have ever seen, plays his deadly foil (and oh yes, estranged wife) Queen Eleanor of Acquitaine, who is determined to thwart his plans. The issue: which of their surviving children will inherit the throne of England, and marry Alais, the sister of the King of France? The pawns in this game are Alais and the English Princes, Richard the Lionhearted (Anthony Hopkins), John (Nigel Terry of Excalibur fame), and Geoffrey. Then of course, there is the wild card, the teenage French monarch, Philip (Timothy Dalton).
In this movie you have all of the themes of familial dysfunction: the vitriol and wistfulness of an estranged couple, the frustrations of the "model" eldest child, the resentment of the neglected middle child, the eccentricities of the overindulged youngest child, a May-December affair triggered by a mid-life crisis, holiday depression, and it goes on and on. This movie is so adept at exploring these topics that it makes "American Beauty" (a good film in its own right) seem almost sophomoric.
What makes this movie stand out is the writing. There is no other movie this side of "The Godfather" that has contained such enjoyable dialogue and character development.
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8 Comments 232 of 240 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
How much do I love "The Lion in Winter"? Let's just say that if man and DVD union were legal in the state of Nevada, I'd rush over to the new Hooter's Casino Chapel and get a quickie marriage to it. We'd live happily for a time and rear three supremely ungrateful children--the oldest of which would bear a striking resemblance to Hannibal Lecter. Someday, though, I know a Deluxe version DVD is going to come out with lots of great features. I'm going to need to upgrade! But instead of just throwing my old copy of "The Lion In Winter" away, I'd banish it to someplace where I wouldn't have to look at it anymore. Occasionally, though, I'd feel nostalgic--especially around the holidays--I'd cart it out to spend time with the family.

Seriously, "The Lion in Winter" is my favorite movie of all time. This is a brilliant film adaptation of a brilliant play, and I cherish it as perhaps the most literate film ever made! The screenplay won a well deserved Oscar, for this movie soars on its dialogue. It is merciless, gut-wrenching, hysterical, powerful and wickedly intelligent entertainment. The verbal bloodbaths, the vicious head games, the intentional cruelty--never has a Christmas been so entertaining. Don't be put off by the pedigree of talent involved with this film. It is not a staid, dignified chamber piece, NO! It is all out family warfare. It is also bitterly funny and uncompromising to the end.

Katherine Hepburn gives her finest performance in an Oscar winning role, and not to overstate it--but I think its one of the greatest film performances ever. Really. Peter O'Toole is dynamic and engaging, and every member of the cast is in fine form.
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3 Comments 79 of 80 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By FXO on June 2, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Could not resist adding my praise for such a superior motion picture. Set in a violent, unstable time of frequent wars and unrelenting political machinations, "The Lion In Winter" captures a vivid 12th Century reality. A story set in the latter part of the reign of England's Henry II (Peter O'Toole), it explores the convoluted dynamics of royal family politics and medieval intrigue. Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn), Henry's Queen, is released from her confinement in an English castle to join Henry at the Christmas court in France (at this time, Henry ruled large parts of modern France as well as England). Eleanor was confined due to her support of Henry's sons in their uprising against him. Henry does not want a reoccurence. Their sons included Richard, the Lion-Hearted (Anthony Hopkins) and the Magna Carta's King John, who are also at the Christmas court. A truly amazing cast of characters are propelled by magnificent performances and just about the best written dialogue ever put on film. Miss Hepburn's Eleanor won her an Academy Award for best actress. A terrific accompaniment to the movie is Alison Weir's recent book "Eleanor Of Aquitaine". Eleanor was the wife of two kings, the mother of three kings, the great-grandmother of two saints and lived through two Crusades. A fascinating woman, she lived into her 80s, outliving eight of her ten children. Henry succeeded in building and holding together an empire that stretched from Scotland to the south of France.
4 Comments 113 of 119 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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1 disc or 2?
It is one disc. The only special features are a theatrical trailer, and a director's commentary (which I haven't listened to yet).
Nov 7, 2013 by John Smith |  See all 2 posts
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