January '16 Movie of the Month: The Lion in Winter


For January's Movie of the Month, I nominate: The Lion in Winter.

I had this at number three for my 60's list submission. In retrospect, that was quite high but I did it for strategic reasons. (Probably the only film that I did that for.) I was fairly shocked when it made the list after all (and The Producers didn't , well good news comes with bad news) .

Anyway,The Lion in Winter is one of my favorite films from the 60's and has some of the best dialogue in any movie. Outside of Thursday saying she enjoyed it recently, hardly anyone here has mentioned this film. In spite of that, I figured The Lion in Winter would be a good choice for this month's Movie of the Month.

The film takes place around Christmas but it is a Christmas Special the same way Die Hard is. That is, it is a pseudo-Christmas Special.

Great choice Friendly! I've heard of this movie but have never seen it. I loved Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia and it looks like he'll be great in this one as well. As with all the movies nominated, I'm gonna try my best to hunt down a Blu-Ray/DVD copy before I watch it. Would be interested to hear other spoiler-free opinions on it in the meantime.

I saw this in preparation for the 60's list. It was hanging on to my list for a bit but ended up getting knocked off. I like it but it was somewhat of a letdown after I went head over heels for Becket. I will be following the conversation and may give it a rewatch if some things feel cloudy once everyone starts chatting.

Women will be your undoing, Pépé
I LOVE this movie! I had it at #5.

This is excellent timing is i just recorded it on my DVR last weekend from TMC and its been a while since I've watched this.

GREAT movie, great dialogue!!! The way they verbally attacked one another was glorious!

Prince John: Poor John. Who says poor John? Don't everybody sob at once! My God, if I went up in flames there's not a living soul who'd pee on me to put the fire out!

Prince Richard: Let's strike a flint and see.

Henry II: I marvel at you after all these years. Still like a democratic drawbridge: going down for everybody.

Eleanor: At my age there's not much traffic anymore.

Prince John: A knife! He's got a knife!

Eleanor: Of course he has a knife, he always has a knife, we all have knives! It's 1183 and we're barbarians!

Got it!!!

Could only find the DVD though, but that ain't a big deal. Will be watching in the next couple days.

curious to see this movie

Well story looking some very interesting aspects...

The Lion in Winter Review:

This is only the second film I've seen starring Peter O'Toole, and now it's safe to say that I'm now a huge fan of him. He is electrifying in both Lawrence of Arabia and The Lion in Winter. I can't wait to see more films of his!

On to the movie now. For me, it started red-hot. The dramatic music in the opening credits lead way to a slew of action. First, a sparring session between King Henry (O'Toole) and his youngest son Prince John (Nigel Terry); then a jousting session with Prince Richard (a young Anthony Hopkins whom I didn't even recognize at first) the oldest surviving son; and then we have the middle son, Prince Geoffery (John Castle) leading a shoreline ambush onto an unsuspecting enemy unit. These scenes are great for establishing the personalities of each Prince and how they act during the rest of the movie.

The course of the story is set around Christmas time and Henry's wife Queen Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn) is released from her castle-prison to visit her estranged family. The story mainly revolves around the debate of which son will be the heir to King Henry's throne. Henry prefers John, while Eleanor prefers Richard—with Geoffery being victimized as the son that neither parent is fond of. Each family member plot their own plans of betrayal in order to get their way regarding the throne—many of them involving the visiting King Phillip of France (Timothy Dalton) who has his own agenda regarding who gets the throne of England.

I found the acting throughout to be impeccable. The standouts for me were O'Toole, Hepburn, and Hopkins. Each one had a very distinct and flawed personality to them. The dialogue as well was fantastic, with many memorable lines and great dialogue-driven scenes. One scene that particularly stood out is the one in King Philips's bed chamber, as well as the one in the chapel that took place earlier in the film.

I really cannot praise the acting enough in this, in particular O'Toole's. This was a very character-driven movie that I was completely engaged in til the end. Quite arguably my favorite MotM nomination so far. Thanks for picking it FM!

“Hell will hold no surprises for you.”
Love this movie!

This and Lawrence of Arabia are my two favorite O'Toole films.

That's okay. Nobody's perfect!
A great film! One of my favorites. I recommend a double feature with this film. Watch Becket (1964) first with Peter O'Toole in the same role as Henry II before he allowed his close friend Becket (Richard Burton) to be murdered.
You have to think like a hero merely to behave like a decent human being.