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Films relevant to monarch

481 BC
One Night with the King

Xerxes finds a new bride while he prepares for war with the Greeks

This movie ultimately derives from the Biblical text in the Song of Esther.

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political intrigue | monarch | ancient world | classical world | love story |


1
The Nativity Story

The Birth of Jesus

This film looks at the society and politics surrounding the birth of Christ.

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Christianity | Bible | Women in History | monarch | Jesus | Mary | Joseph | Herod


312
Constantine and the Cross

Constantine Wins the Battle of Milvian Bridge to Assume Control of the Roman Empire

Constantine took control from co-Augustus Maxentius after having a vision of a Cross in the sky. Constantine a year later issued the Edict of Milan granting tolerance of Christianity. In 325 he convened the Council of Nicaea, which sought to provide a unified Christian doctrine.

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Roman Empire, monarchy, battle scenes, Christianity, court intrigue | Constantine, Maxentius, Maximian. Galerius


878
Alfred the Great

Alfred Defends his Realm against the Danes

This documentary explains how the Anglo-Saxon king battles invaders from across the North Sea to maintain control over his land. His victory enabled him to reinvigorate London.

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monarchy, battle scene, national unity, documentary | King Alfred the Great


1170
Becket

Murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury

This film, the first of two starring Peter O'Toole as Henry II, dramatizes Church/State conflict in Europe. It also shows the ongoing struggle between Normans and Saxons a century after the conquest.

Related link: BBC British history page on the assassination of Beckett

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England | religious conflict | Monarchy of England |


1183
Lion in Winter

Henry II's family fights bitterly for his succession

The second Henry II role played by Peter O'Toole. The historic characters of Richard and John, who play prominent roles in Robin Hood tales, are developed in this film.

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England | Monarchy of England | political intrigue |


1194
The Adventures of Robin Hood

King Richard I returns to England after captivity in Europe

This 1938 classic of the Robin Hood legend continues the Angevin dynasty of Henry II. John, youngest son of Henry, nearly usurps the English throne while Richard is away on Crusade and then a captive of the Holy Roman Emperor. The plot of the movie moves towards the return of Richard to power and the reestablishment of justice.

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monarchy of England | sword battle scenes | political intrigue | legend to film | King John | King Richard


1297
Braveheart

William Wallace defeats the British at the Battle of Sterling Bridge

This film depicts the fight for Scottish independence from England's Edward I (Longshanks), a Plantagenet king who was the great-grandson of Henry II. Robert the Bruce also figures in this movie as a politically ambivalent character. Wallace was captured and executed in 1305.

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monarchs of England, monarchs of Scotland, medieval period, battle scenes, political intrigue, aspirations |


1415
Henry V

Battle of Agincourt

Kenneth Branagh uses cinematic realism to highlight Shakespeare's theatrical interpretation of British pluck overcoming long odds to beat chivalric strategies and arrogance.

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monarchs of England | battle scenes | medieval period |


1431
The Messenger

Joan of Arc Fights to Liberate France

The motivating actions of a peasant girl who claimed revelations from saints help the French lift the siege of Orlean's in 1429 during the Hundred Year's War. This siege was part of the power struggle in France that had accelerated with Henry V's victory at Agincourt.

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France, battle scenes, monarchs, political intrigue, religious strife, medieval period, women in history, aspirations |


1536
Anne of a Thousand Days

Anne Boleyn Plays Her Pivotal Role in British History

Henry VIII has his second wife beheaded in his search for a male heir to his throne. Ironically, their daughter Elizabeth would grow to take the throne.

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monarchs of England | political intrigue | Richard Burton | Irene Papas | Anthony Quinn | Tudors | women in history |


1547
The Tudors

King Henry VIII's Life, Loves and Legends Leave their Mark on England and the Western World

This four-season TV series dramatizes the reign of Henry VIII, the most flamboyant ruler of the Tudor dynasty. The on-screen romances that delight and bedevil Henry suggest how the motivations and lustfulness of an energetic king could change history. The plot twists, although full of artistic license, show how the intrigue of real life often can overshadow fiction.

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monarchs, England, marriage, political intrique, Renaissance, religion, Catholic Church | Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Anne Boylyn, Sir Thomas More, Catherine of Aragon, Pope Paul III


1553
Lady Jane

Great-Granddaughter of Henry VII Caught in a Political Web

Sitting on the throne for less than two weeks, Lady Jane Grey falls victim to the political machinations that put her in power in a failed attempt to block the Catholic Mary from ruling England.

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monarchs of England | political intrigue | religious conflict | women in history |


1558
Elizabeth

Elizabeth I ascends to the throne and meets challenges

The movie examines the uncertainties of Elizabeth's ascension and her early years as queen.

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monarchs of England | political intrigue | women in history |


1558
Young Bess

After Years of Uncertainty, Elizabeth Ascends to the Throne

Following the early life of Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, this film reflects a steadfastness in young Elizabeth and court treachery and, in the film, her own affection for a powerful man toss her back and forth in both politics and love. With Jean Simmons as Elizabeth, Charles Laughton as Henry VIII, Deborah Kerr as Catherine Parr and Stewart Grainger as Tom Seymour, the film is a model example of good acting and screen presence from the era of Technicolor spectacles in the 1940's and 1950's. The film was released in 1953, the coronation year of Queen Elizabeth II.

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England, monarch, women in history, court intrigue, romance, Elizabeth |


1575
Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I is courted by the Earl of Leicester

This account of the Virgin Queen's love life features Helen Mirren who won an Oscar in 2007 for her role in The Queen, a biopic about Queen Elizabeth II.

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monarchs of England | royalty | Oscar | personal lives of public people | women in history |


1581
The Virgin Queen

Queen Elizabeth I ascends to the crown

Sir Walter Raleigh charms his way into Queen Elizabeth's favor, only to incur her wrath when he woos and weds one of her ladies in waiting. Bette Davis returns to the role of QE I with all the fire and power she portrayed in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.

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monarchy, women in history, queens, court intrigue, romance, fight scenes, | Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh, Beth Throckmorton


1601
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

The Execution of the Earl of Essex ends his relation with Queen Elizabeth

Bette Davis and Errol Flynn portray the historical figures at the top of English nobility. Their equally strong wills attract them to each other, but in the end dooms the ambitious Earl.

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monarchs, Tudors, England, battle scenes, political intrigue | Earl of Essex, Queen Elizabeth I


1654
Queen Christina

The Queen of Sweden Works Through the Challenges of Rule

Greta Garbo portrays the Swedish sovereign weighing personal concerns against the good of her country and continent.

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women in history | monarchs | 30 Years War | Sweden |


1762
The Scarlet Empress

Catherine the Great Takes Control of Russia

A young German princess is married into the Russian Imperial family, only to beguile the court and military officers and become the great empress of Russia. Marlene Dietrich, under the direction of Josef von Sternberg, conquers the screen like Catherine conquered her court.

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Russia | women in history | women in power | monarchy | Chatherine the Great


1788
The Madness of King George

Bizarre Royal Behavior Creates a Regency Crisis in Britain

As George III descends into insanity the court is in dispute over how to treat the illness and how to govern the country.

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monarchy, monarchs, Britain, mental illness | King George III, Queen Charlotte, William Pitt the Younger, Charles Fox


1789
Marie Antoinette

French Queen's Life Up to the Revolution

Marie Antoinette (1744-1793) lives a privileged if complicated life in the opulence of the French court as poverty and discontent in society lead to revolution.

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monarchs, France, revolution, political intrigue, romance, costume drama, women in history | Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II


1840
The Young Victoria

Victoria Weds Albert

After a courtship full of court intrigue, Queen Victoria settles into her happy marriage with her cousin Prince Albert. A highly detailed look at the transitional period in a young woman's life and how it was also a transition in history.

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monarchs | queens | marriage | politics | England | 19th century | Women in History | Queen Victoria | Prince Albert | King William IV | Robert Peel | Lord Melbourne


1861
Mrs. Brown

Queen Victoria Rules with Help of Scotsman

Queen Victoria grows close to a Scottish servant in her court after the death of her husband Prince Albert. The relationship, while of personal importance to the Queen, becomes a matter of concern for others around her.

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women in history | monarch | Britain | queens |


1916
Rasputin and the Empress

Mystic Casts Spell Over Russian Czarina

The Barrymore family, John, Ethel and Lionel, portray the mystic who exerted great influence over the Czarina of Russia in the last days of the Russian Empire.

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russia | monarchs | women in history | religion | mysticism | Rasputin | Czarina Alexandra | Czar Nicholas II


1939
The King's Speech

King George VI Overcomes His Stuttering to Deliver Important Speeches

The personal challenges of a speech impediment as well as Royal and world politics do not stand in the way of a king's duties.

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monarch, World War II, disabilities, aspirations | King George VI, Winston Churchill


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