Would YOU include some of these in a list of all-time best historical films…?


The Lion in Winter

Here’s an interesting list of the “best historical royalty” films. Interesting….and peculiar. As well as some excellent period-based movies we have the likes of The King and I, the animated Anastasia musical and the Taylor-Burton Cleopatra. Maybe the latter will be acceptable to many, but to me it was a circus because of what went on behind the scenes. Not the film’s fault, I suppose. And a friend has pointed out that some of the sets were used in Carry on Cleo, which seems rather appropriate. “Hail, Caesar, dost thou like what thou seest?” (Or words to that effect.) Well Taylor’s Cleopatra certainly got the answer she was seeking!

In the list of film versions of the Bard’s Richard III, Ian McKellen’s gets the accolade. Not from me. If the list concerns historical royalty, then it should look the part. This one certainly doesn’t, being transferred to some imaginary 20th-century European setting. Yes, yes, one of my hobby-horses.

I’m afraid I can’t take musicals as counting among the “best historical royalty”films. They may contain a soupçon of fact, but not enough to be taken seriously.

As to the rest of the list, you’ll have to read the article to find out which they are. But they’re definitely acceptable to me. I loved them all, especially the one in the above illustration.


  1. What about the Barrymore’s as the Russian royal family in Rasputin and the Empress? Greta Garbo in Queen Christina? Or Norma Shearer in Marie Antoinette? Looks like whoever voted on this list never saw anything made earlier than the 1960s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mmm, I found Alexander, The King and The other Boleyn girl pretty dreadful. Prefer the Olivier version of Henry V because it is more theatrical. For the same reason I really liked Excalibur, because it is so over the top.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t watched many of the films on the list, as I’m so wary of my blood pressure going sky high when they upset me as not being factually correct.
    I didn’t watch “Richard lll,” it’s never been one I’ve wanted to see as it’s so easy to blame Shakespeare for the way people think of Richard, but also this particular version when I realised how they’d messed with it and made it “Nazi-esque”. I’m sorry to say, and I don’t want to upset anyone, but I never thought Olivier was much cop as an actor (I’ll just duck while you throw things at me!)
    One of the best the best was “The Lion in Winter,” but like some of you have already said, I do love “Excalibur.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with you about Olivier. He was a great ham. My husband called him a cornball. Another one was Richard Burton. Neither of them was in the class of men like Gielgud, Guinness, Richardson and so on. Now I’ll duck my head too! 😁


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