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Hollywood's Best Royalty Movies

Last updated on: March 2, 2011 12:58 IST

Hollywood's Best Royalty Movies

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Raja Sen in Mumbai

The current Oscar race is dominated by The King's Speech, with four major wins and ever-increasing buzz. Yet, this is by no means the first British film about the Royal Family to win favour on both sides of the pond.

Here, then, is a look at that film and nine others that deal best with the British Monarchy:

The Princes In The Tower

In 1483, Princes Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury were declared illegitimate despite being the only sons of the late Edward IV, because the King's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was considered a questionable one.

The Princes, then 13 and 10, were never seen again, and most historical evidence points to them being killed in the Tower Of London.

This film, however, is about Perkin Warbeck (played excellently by Mark Umbers), a pretender to the throne who shows up after 16 years claiming to the adult Richard.


Image: A scene from The Princes In The Tower

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King Henry VIII

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Ray Winstone plays the monarch infamous for his six doomed wives in this wonderful Granada TV production, with Helena Bonham Carter shining as Henry's second wife, Anne Boleyn.

A two-part television special, this lush, wonderfully acted production sees Winstone in top form alongside a stellar cast which included David Suchet and, in one of her first prominent roles, a very young Emily Blunt.


Image: A scene from King Henry VIII

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Lady Jane

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Lady Jane Gray was Queen Regent of England from July 10 to July 19, 1553, after which she was executed for high treason.

This Trevor Nunn film features Helena Bonham Carter as The Nine Days Queen, and focusses not just on her memorable reign but also her relationship with her husband Lord Guilford Dudley, played here by Cary Elwes.


Image: A scene from Lady Jane

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Elizabeth

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Shekhar Kapur's opulent take on the life of Queen Elizabeth I focusses on her ascendancy to the throne of England. With an all star cast including Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes, Richard Attenborough and Sir John Gielgud, the film took heroine Cate Blanchett, who played the titular role, to global stardom.

Nominated for seven Oscars, the film won one for Best Makeup.


Image: A scene from Elizabeth

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Shakespeare In Love

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John Madden's fanciful, fictional take on a love affair between William Shakespeare and a wealthy noblewoman swept the Oscars, winning Best Actress for Gwyneth Paltrow and Best Supporting Actress for Dame Judi Dench and becoming the first comedy to win the Best Picture prize since Woody Allen's Annie Hall in 1977.

It's a delightfully droll tale of writers and royals, with Dench as Elizabeth I, Geoffrey Rush as Philip Henslowe and Colin Firth as Lord Wessex.


Image: A scene from Shakespeare In Love

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The Madness Of King George

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Set mostly around the Regency Crisis of 1788, this Nicholas Hytner film adapted from an Alan Bennett play features Nigel Hawthorne as King George III, the increasingly unstable ruler of England.

Barbaric medical practices don't help the king as he struggles to maintain his relationship with his son, the Prince of Wales, played by Rupert Everett.

Helen Mirren plays his Queen, Charlotte, while Julian Wandham is then-PM Pitt the Younger.


Image: A scene from The Madness Of King George

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The Young Victoria

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In this underrated but rather splendid Jean-Marc Vallee film, Emily Blunt plays Queen Victoria in a film that focusses on her early reign and marriage to Prince Albert (Rupert Friend).

The performances are solid all around, but the highlight besides Blunt has to be Miranda Richardson as The Duchess Of Kent. Jim Broadbent is also reliably striking in the role of King William IV.


Image: A scene from The Young Victoria

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Mrs Brown

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In one of her finest performances, Dame Judi Dench plays Queen Victoria, a bereaved monarch who scandalously begins a relationship with one of her Scottish servants, John Brown (Billy Connolly).

While John Madden's film doesn't explicitly show the speculated-at sexual nature of the relationship, it provides a fascinating story about two very different people forming a very genuine friendship.


Image: A scene from Mrs Brown

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The King's Speech

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Tom Hooper's marvellous new drama shows Colin Firth as the Duke Of York, overcoming his debilitating stammer and going on to become King George the VIth.

Geoffrey Rush plays his radical Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue, and Helena Bonham Carter plays his wife Elizabeth. The film is a deeply moving, fantastically acted one.


Image: A scene from The King's Speech

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The Queen

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Stephen Frears' highly-acclaimed The Queen features Helen Mirren in sensational touch, playing Queen Elizabeth II. Peter Morgan's fictional account of events immediately after the death of Princess Diana shows the Royal Family trying to address the death.

Michael Sheen plays Prime Minister Tony Blair, with Alex Jennings as The Prince Of Wales and James Cromwell as The Duke Of Edinburgh.


Image: A scene from The Queen

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