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The Lion In Winter [VHS]

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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
  • Language: English
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: 4 Front
  • VHS Release Date: 17 July 2000
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004TT4Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 208,067 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

In the south of France, 1183, Henry II (Peter O'Toole) summons his family to a Christmas conference. His sons all have designs on his crown, whilst the presence of the King's mistress (Jane Merrow) adds spice to his exchanges with his wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn). Hepburn won an Oscar for her performance, and the film also gained statuettes for Best Screenplay and Music.

From Amazon.co.uk

In this 12th-century version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Henry II of England (Peter O'Toole) and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn), meet on Christmas Eve to discuss the future of the throne. These two are having slight marital problems, as she is kept in captivity most of the year for raising a rebellion against him, and he flaunts his young mistress. Then there are the problems raised by their three treacherous and traitorous sons. James Goldman won an Oscar for the brilliant screenplay, based on his Broadway play. It is a tad wordy, as the action is kept to a minimum, but those words are sharp as daggers. The humour is wicked and black and delivered with very dry, dead-on precision. Sparks fly and the screen sizzles whenever Hepburn and O'Toole tango, which is often. Both were nominated for Academy Awards for their vigorous performances. (She won, he didn't.) There is also an infamous homoerotic exchange between Philip of France (Timothy Dalton) and Richard the Lionhearted (Anthony Hopkins). Both actors were making their feature film debuts. --Rochelle O'Gorman, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 25 July 2008
Format: DVD
No movie sums up Christmas or brings back so many memories of Christmases Past than The Lion in Winter. It's 1183 and Henry II's let his wife out of prison to decide the succession at Christmas court in Chinon: he favors John, she favors Richard and nobody cares for Geoffrey. Cue daggers, plots and reopened wounds as everyone tries to kill everyone else and nobody gets what they wanted for Christmas. Part costume drama, part Who's Afraid of Eleanor of Aquitaine? as these jungle creatures scratch and claw at each other's weak spots and almost certainly a lot closer to history as it was lived than as it is written thanks to a truly great screenplay by James Goldman (who stumbled across the plot while researching a play about Robin Hood that would later become the sadly underrated Robin and Marion) that's done justice by it's cast. Katherine Hepburn may have got the Oscar, but Peter O'Toole before the rot set in, reprising and bettering his role from Beckett, matches her tooth and claw, with Anthony Hopkins, Timothy Dalton and John Castle picking up a few tricks en route. The weak links are the reliably awful Nigel Terry's overstated John and Jane Merrow's Alais, a performance as flat as her singing voice, but as they are required to be simpletons and ciphers they don't get in the way. Terrific nasty fun.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Nov 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This is an interesting take on the relationship of King Henry II of England and his wife and Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Based upon a stage play by James Goldman, who also wrote the screenplay for the film and won an Oscar for his efforts, it has the feel of theatre to it, rather than film.
Here, Henry and Eleanor are in their golden years. Henry is fifty and his wife, whom he has had imprisoned for the last ten years, is quite a number of years older. He brings her out of captivity for Christmas, and she joins him and their three sons, Richard, Geoffrey, and John.
Peter O'Toole gives a fine portrayal of the aging, but still robust and virile Henry, who is in a seeming quandary as he debates a burning issue. To whom of his three sons shall he leave his hard won kingdom? He professes to want to leave it to his youngest, John, as that is the son whom he claims to love the most. One has to wonder, however, what kingly qualities he sees in John, played as a pimply faced, sixteen year old fool by Nigel Terry, who does what he can with this unsympathetic role.
Eleanor, however, tartly played by the always glorious Katherine Hepburn, prefers her oldest, Richard, who is the son whom she has loved the most, though he, too, has his issues. Richard is played as a blood thirsty homosexual by a somewhat wooden Anthony Hopkins in his screen debut.
No one seems to love the middle son, Geoffrey, and he knows it, though he seems to be the one son whose behavior is the most within the bounds of what one might consider acceptable, as he is neither a killer nor a fool. He is merely unloved by his parents. John Castle gives a strong performance in this role.
Eleanore manipulates each of her three sons, as if they were pawns in a game of chess, in her quest for personal power.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fortuna on 24 Nov 2014
Format: DVD
The perfect gift for all Roman history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
King Henry gathers his three sons, wife and mistress for the Christmas holidays, and what a Christmas it turns out to be.

Based on a play The Lion in Winter's main delight is in watching this vicious family in-fighting, chiefly the parents using their children as pawns in a deadly game.

Kathrine Hepburn often gets most of the credit for her smooth and calculating Queen Eleanor, but as the flamboyant King, Peter O'Toole is just as good, throwing tantrums and mood-swings, half of which are complete simulations designed to throw enemies off guard (much like Hamlet faking madness to better observe his foes). Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton throw in very worthy supporting turns as Prince Richard (the future Lionheart) and Prince Philip of France respectively.

Lion in Winter will appeal to a broad variety of viewers. If you like epic period films, it will compel you with its impressive production values,innate sense for the period, and the political intrigue. If you like intimate films about human relations, it boasts among the most deranged family relationships to have graced the screen. Even if you are just curious, it has a score of unforgettable one-liners you'll never forget.

Not to be missed the perfect film for the festive season.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By absintherocker on 5 July 2004
Format: DVD
Set in Medieval 1183, 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), Prince Geoffrey (John Castle), or Prince John (Nigel Terry). Also on hand for the get-together is Henry's mistress Princess Alais (Jane Merrow) - who covets the King's influence - and the Princess' brother, King Philip of France (Timothy Dalton).
Despite Henry's efforts to keep his wife and offspring at arms' length (and away from the throne), Eleanor successfully reunites the brood, assuring that her power will not only be restored, but will last long after her death.
Barbed tongues wound to the quick in this James Goldman screenplay about England's King Henry II (1133-1189) and his dysfunctional family. Peter O'Toole dominates the film with his forceful portrayal of the legendary Henry. As ruler of a vast Anglo-Norman kingdom, the 50-year-old monarch holds sway over all that he sees, except his wife and three sons. Shrewd wit and elegant quality season the dialogue throughout the film, allowing the actors to wring brilliance from their tongues. During the film, the choral music of John Barry sets an appropriately ominous mood. And director Anthony Harvey occasionally mixes in action sequences, featuring poised lances and gleaming daggers, to pick up the pace.
This masterpiece is not without fault.
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