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.