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The Madness of King George PG-13 CC

(165) IMDb 7.3/10

The Madness of King George, Based on Alan Bennett's acclaimed play The Madness of George III, takes a dark-humored look at the mental decline of King George III of England. Taking place in 1788, the film's story begins three decades into George's reign, as the unstable king (Nigel Hawthorne) begins to show signs of increasing dementia, from violent fits of foul language to bouts of forgetfulness. The King's prime minister William Pitt (Julian Wadham) and his wife Queen Charlotte (Helen Mirren) are determined to protect the throne during this time of weakness, when many see it as an opportunity to overthrow the unpopular George, whom they blamed for the loss of the American colonies. Although doctors are brought in, their archaic treatments of the time prove of little value and therefore, in desperation, they turn to Dr. Willis (Ian Holm), a harsh, unconventional specialist whose unusual methods recall modern psychiatry. George experiences an unfamiliar anger and haughtiness as Willis struggles to break through to the mad king. Stressing the absurdity of the entire situation, Bennett's witty screenplay emphasizes dry humor over tragedy, even utilizing references to King Lear for comic effect.

Rupert Graves, Helen Mirren
1 hour, 51 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Nicholas Hytner
Starring Rupert Graves, Helen Mirren
Supporting actors Amanda Donohoe, Charlotte Curley, Peter Bride-Kirk, Eve Camden, Thomas Copeland, Joanna Hall, Cassandra Halliburton, Russell Martin, Natalie Palys, Rupert Everett, Julian Rhind-Tutt, David Leon, Martin Julier, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Calf, Matthew Lloyd Davies, Adrian Scarborough, Paul Corrigan
Studio MGM
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 14, 2001
Format: DVD
This is a marvelous period piece that deals with an intriguing subject: the apparently intermittent madness of King George III. Nigel Hawthorne brilliantly plays the role of the King, creating a benevolent personage, a sort of aristocratic populist, who is, at heart, a family man. Yet, he understands, all too well, his role as King. His Queen, a loving and caring wife, is played to perfection by Helen Mirren. Rupert Everett wonderfully plays the part of their eldest son, the indolent Prince of Wales.

The King begins his strange journey along the highway of dementia by shouting obscenities and behaving in a shockingly unseemly fashion towards his Queen's gorgeous lady-in-waiting, Lady Pembroke, played to ice maiden perfection by the always stunning Amanda Donohoe. He undergoes a total personality change. His doctor is mystified by these mental, as well as physical changes, which are broken up by moments of lucidity.

The Prince of Wales see this weakness in his father as an opportunity for him to make a bid for control of the crown, and he rallies a slew of supporters. The ensuing palace intrigues depict the gamesmanship in which the King's supporters involve themselves in order for the King not to lose his crown in addition to his wits. The only question is whether the King will succeed in recovering his wits in a timely enough fashion in order for them to prevail.

This is a wonderful film with a first class supporting cast. The production values and cinematography are also first rate, and the film won an Oscar in 1994 for its art direction. The film also addresses an issue that did, in fact, arise during the reign of King George III. It is now believed that the King may have suffered from a hereditary illness of the nervous system known as Porphyria. In any case, this is a brilliant, award caliber film that lovers of historical dramas and period pieces will, no doubt, enjoy. Bravo!
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on September 1, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
The year--1788. The loss of that place that must not be mentioned by England has gradually sent King George III down the slope to insanity, so some ministers say. His emotional rantings, rushing out in the early morning in bedclothes with his attendants in tow, and even an imagined flight from a flood causes tumult within the Royal household. Some actions in his "catalog of regal nonconformities" are harmless, as he plays cricket with a group of peasant children, and visits a farmer, admiring the pigs.
This causes a political struggle between the Whigs and Tories. Prince George, the future George IV, wants the take advantage of his father's deterioration to be named Regent, translation: "king in all but name and all the power, subject to Parliament... and certainly all the funds." He also wants his secret marriage Maria Fitzherbert, a Catholic widow, to be recognized in the open. In this, he has enlisted Charles James Fox, former foreign secretary under Rockingham and now an opposition leader who supports America to the point of saying, "If a few ramshackle colonists can send him packing why can't we?", Doctor Warner, and later, the Lord Chancellor, Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow. Supporting the king is William Pitt the Younger, prime minister (1783-1801), who advocates parliamentary procedure and insists that Parliament has the right to decide who should be regent and under what terms. Queen Charlotte and Lady Pembroke, the king's mistress, are also on the king's side, as is his new equerry, the eager and loyal Captain Greville. The political struggle is another type of madness, as it has torn at the fabric of the government that is the envy of all nations.
The king's contempt for doctors is shown when he rants at Dr.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Margaret P Harvey on February 6, 2002
Format: DVD
The Madness of King George is simply the best movie I have seen in many years. The first thing that attracted me to the movie was the costumes: they are impeccable. The set, costume, and makeup: there is no cause for complaints there and many, many reasons for praise. But the most remarkable thing about this movie is how well each actor fits his or her part, and the pace of this drama. First of all, the acting is wonderful, but this movie was also wonderfully casted. Nigel Hawthorne blew me away with his hilarious, deep and believable portrayal of George III. His madness was heartbreaking and painful for the audience and his sane George the Third was funny in such a way that you couldn't help but root for him. Rupert Everett was simply so detestable that by the end of the movie I couldn't watch any movie with him in it without feeling a little hostile. Helen Mirren is, as always, pitch perfect in her portrayal and absolutely beautiful as Queen Charlotte. The environment created by this wonderful ensemble cast makes the movie exciting and the kind of film that elicits a real emotional response. Who knew that you could feel suspense, pain, happiness and exhilaration from a costume drama about a dead king? As soon as you put this movie in your DVD player you will be hooked, entranced and entertained. If you are even a mild fan of historical dramas, give this movie a chance. It'll only take a few moments for you to love it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 2003
Format: DVD
This is a triumph of acting. Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren shine in this movie. While it has been criticised that Helen's German accent comes and goes, I think it was acceptable. Accents are just funny that way. And Mirren's acting makes up for it, especially in the "Do you think you are mad" scene after the Handel concert.
Ian Holm gives a superb performance as the determined little "mad doctor".
The costumes are stunning, the music (all Handel, George's favorite) gorgeous and brilliantly adapted, the story is bittersweet, at times painful, other times painfully funny! This movie is an underrated little gem.
Wish the DVD held more features such as behind the scenes or actors bios or something! It's seriously lacking in that department, but doesn't detract from a wonderful film!
Recommended for all Anglophiles.
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