The Madness of King George

The Madness of King George

Nicholas Hytner (1995)

PG Certificate


Our Score
Nigel Hawthorne gives an inspired, funny and deeply moving performance in the title role of this celebrated, Oscar-winning film of Alan Bennett's play The Madness of George III. The king is married to Charlotte (Helen Mirren), dallying with Lady Pembroke (Amanda Donohoe), and is not only father of 15 children (Rupert Everett plays the foppish Prince of Wales) but also of a nation and an empire. Problem is, Farmer George - a nickname the king delights in - is showing signs of madness, or at least that's the official diagnosis. Surgeon Ian Holm is brought in to put the king into a straitjacket (providing some of the film's most disturbing scenes), while the royal quacks examine the royal stool for traces of insanity. Behind the sardonic jokes and colloquialisms that are Bennett's trademark is a serious study of 18th-century politics and the monarchy, with a final scene that hints at the House of Windsor as much as that of Hanover. Immaculately directed by Nicholas Hytner, this is an unmissable treat and the finest vision of a bygone age since Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. It won the Oscar for best art direction and Bennett's screenplay was one of three other nominations.


British monarch George III's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, prompting fears that he is going insane. While physicians try to uncover the cause of his condition, the king's enemies in Parliament and the frustrated Prince of Wales conspire to have him declared insane and removed from the throne. Period drama based on Alan Bennett's play, starring Nigel Hawthorne, Helen Mirren and Rupert Everett.

Cast & Crew

King George III Nigel Hawthorne
Queen Charlotte Helen Mirren
Prince of Wales Rupert Everett
Lady Pembroke Amanda Donohoe
Willis Ian Holm
Greville Rupert Graves
Duke of York Julian Rhind-Tutt
Pitt Julian Wadham
Director Nicholas Hytner
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourGuidance: Contains some swearing. Available on: video and DVD