Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.
It's Christmas 1183, and King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) is planning to announce his successor to the throne. The jockeying for the crown, though, is complex. Henry has three sons and wants his boy Prince John (Nigel Terry) to take over. Henry's wife, Queen Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn), has other ideas. She believes their son Prince Richard (Sir Anthony Hopkins) should be King. As the family and various schemers gather for the holiday, each tries to make the indecisive King choose his or her option.Written by
Although Peter O'Toole played the father of Sir Anthony Hopkins, John Castle, and Nigel Terry, he was only five, seven and thirteen years older, respectively. Also, O'Toole was twenty-five years younger than Katharine Hepburn, but played her husband. It should be noted, however, that there was a substantial age gap between Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was approximately eleven years older. During Christmas 1183, when the movie takes place, Eleanor of Aquitaine, born 1122, would have been sixty-one years old. Katharine Hepburn, who was born May 12, 1907, was also sixty-one years old at the time of production (1968). Henry II, born March 5, 1133 was fifty years old during Christmas 1183. Peter O'Toole, born August 2, 1932, was only thirty-six at the time of production, fourteen years younger than the character he was playing. See more »
Eleanor refers to her first husband as "Simon pure and Simon simple", both of which are anachronisms coming from a late-12th century character. The former refers to a character in the play "A Bold Stroke for a Wife", which would not be written until the early 18th century. The latter refers to the English nursery rhyme "Simple Simon", which cannot be found in any reliable source before the late 17th century. See more »
Katharine Hepburn won her third Oscar for "The Lion in Winter", playing brassy queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Her role is sort of an interesting counterbalance to Peter O'Toole, as King Henry II. That is, she's elderly and he's young. Maybe it was an allusion to the growing generation gap in the world at the time.
But anyway, this is what epic tales of royalty are supposed to be. It shows Henry's conflicts in wondering who will succeed him. Never dragging, the movie truly gives one the feeling of being with these people and understanding their lives. One of the most interesting scenes - in my opinion at least - is when Eleanor says something about sex. I usually wouldn't expect someone of Katharine Hepburn's generation mention sex in a movie. But she does a great job here (well duh). Also starring are a very young Anthony Hopkins and an even younger Timothy Dalton. All in all, "The Lion in Winter" is a perfect movie in every way, and affirmed 1968 as one of the best movie years ever, with "2001: A Space Odyssey", "Funny Girl", "The Odd Couple", "The Planet of the Apes", "Romeo and Juliet", "Candy", "The Night of the Living Dead" and "Bullitt".
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