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The Madness of King George

HD   PG-13 Closed Captioning

Nicholas Hytner

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About the Movie

The Madness of King George, Based on Alan Bennett's acclaimed play The Madness of George III, takes a dark-humored look at the mental decline of King George III of England. Taking place in 1788, the film’s story begins three decades into George's reign, as the unstable king (Nigel Hawthorne) begins to show signs of increasing dementia, from violent fits of foul language to bouts of forgetfulness. The King's prime minister William Pitt (Julian Wadham) and his wife Queen Charlotte (Helen Mirren) are determined to protect the throne during this time of weakness, when many see it as an opportunity to overthrow the unpopular George, whom they blamed for the loss of the American colonies. Although doctors are brought in, their archaic treatments of the time prove of little value and therefore, in desperation, they turn to Dr. Willis (Ian Holm), a harsh, unconventional specialist whose unusual methods recall modern psychiatry. George experiences an unfamiliar anger and haughtiness as Willis struggles to break through to the mad king. Stressing the absurdity of the entire situation, Bennett's witty screenplay emphasizes dry humor over tragedy, even utilizing references to King Lear for comic effect.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 44
  • Fresh: 41
  • Rotten: 3
  • Average Rating: 7.8/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: The thrill of Hawthorne's astounding performance is not something you want to miss. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, Nov 24, 2006

Fresh: Hytner's version of Bennett's comic-tragic drama of the tormented king who almost lost his mind confirms that power games, family scandals, and personal intrigues have always been integral to the British Crown, an institution both revered and reviled. – Emanuel Levy, Variety, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: In its own shambling, elliptical way it's an entertaining, memorable movie whose 2 1/2 hours go by without strain. – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: Somehow ... this frail figure [George] is an immensely likable -- and, at times, deeply moving -- character. – Hal Hinson, Washington Post, Jul 1, 2002

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


really excellent movie (1st review)


A very, very good movie. I'm not sure I'd classify it as a comedy, but regardless it's excellent.

Awesome Movie

Watch it and you will be saying Long live the King and Become a loyalist to King George III

The Madness of King George
View in iTunes
  • $14.99
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Released: 1994

Customer Ratings