The life of british royal family have long fascinated audiences through a variety of media, including many notable feature films. In honour of Queen Elizabeth II‘s Platinum Jubilee, we’ve rounded up some must-see films about the British royal family. For this list, we’re looking at all the theatrically and on TV movies depicting (or in some cases loosely depicting) generations of the British royal family.
Here is 15 of the best must-see movies about the royal family. Unless otherwise stated, all titles are available for rental and purchase on digital platforms.
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Movies about the royal family
The King’s Speech (2010)
Long before the misfortunes and fallout of Cats, To MHooperhistorical drama The King’s Speechwas a critical and commercial darling, sweeping many categories above the Oscar, including Best Actor (Colin Firth), Best Director (Hooper) and Best Picture. Next to Geoffrey Rushand Helena Bonham CarterFirth stars as ascendant King George VItasked with overcoming a speech impediment at a desperate hour on the eve of World War II.
Worth mentioning The King’s Speech received one of the dumbest “R” ratings in US ratings history, for a handful of swear words in a story-crucial scene played for laughs. Inspiring and impeccably acted, it’s a great movie for families with teens and tweens.
The Queen (2006)
A haunting portrait of the private struggles of public figures, Stephen Frearscritically acclaimed drama The Queen depicts the response of the British royal family to the death of DianaPrincess of Wales. Helen Mirrenwon an Oscar for his portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II. To heighten the contrast of their different worlds, Frears shot most of the scenes in the premier Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) on 16 mm film and those of the Queen on 35 mm superior.
Scriptwriter Peter Morganadapted his screenplay for the stage under a new title, The audience. The play premiered in London’s West End in 2013, with Mirren reprising the role. She won a Tony for the Broadway run in 2015.
pabloLarainit’s masterful spenceris one of the most assured, idiosyncratic, and utterly satisfying biopics in memory. Kristen Stewart mesmerizes as Diana, Princess of Wales, in a snappy tonal poem set at the British royal family’s Sandringham estate on Christmas 1991, as rumors of infidelity and trouble swirled around them – a year before Diana and Prince Charles announced their separation to the world.
Related: When Queen Elizabeth Met Jackie Kennedy – The Story of Two Icons and Their Complicated Relationship
Mary Queen of Scots (2018)
Typically strong turns of Margot Robbieand Saoirse Ronanas Elizabeth I and Mary StuartCatholic Queen of Scotland – as well as dazzling first-rate costumes – make up for some historical inaccuracies and pacing issues in Josie Rourkesometimes macabre period piece Mary Queen of Scots. The co-stars are Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, david holdingand Guy Pearce.
Mrs Brown (1997)
Judi Denchis a brilliant queen victoria in John Maddenthe acclaimed drama Mrs Brownset after the death of Victoria’s beloved Prince Albert. Co-produced by the BBC for a television premiere on Masterpiece Theater, Mrs Brown was acquired for theatrical distribution with considerable success, thanks in large part to Dench’s acclaimed performance.
Dench was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress, although she lost to Helen Huntin As good as it gets. She would win a year later for Best Supporting Actress as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in love(also directed by Madden).
The young Victoria (2009)
Co-produced by Martin Scorseseand led by Jean-Marc Vallee, The young Victoria stars Emily Blunt like the teenage Victoria, the only legitimate heiress of King William. The ensemble cast includes Friend Rupert, Miranda Richardson, Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbentand strong brand. Although Blunt’s performance is great, MVP is here Sandy Powellgreat costume design. An Oscar-winning master in his field, Powell’s work is so lavish and detailed that it often overshadows any endeavor he finds himself in.
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The other Boleyn girl (2008)
Sexy, shiny and a little pale, Justin ChadwickThe period piece from the 2001 novel of the same name is a fictional account of the love triangle between Henry VIIIhis teacher Mary Boleyn (Scarlett Johansson) and her sister, Anna (Natalie Portman). The other Boleyn girl received mixed reviews, although the performances, especially Portman’s, were praised.
Cate Blanchettreceived his first Oscar nomination for Shekhar Kapurvisually arresting and surprisingly violent drama about Elizabeth I. They followed nearly a decade later with Elizabeth: The Golden Agea lesser sequel that still featured a stellar Blanchett and lovely costumes.
The favourite (2018)
While it’s nobody’s idea of a good date movie, The favouriteboasts one of the most stunning ensemble casts in memory, and it doesn’t lack heart. The delightfully crafted and brutally funny dark comedy tells the story of a love triangle between Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), his adviser Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and Sarah’s poor cousin, Abby (EmmaRock). Abby is eventually exposed as a user, but the love between Sarah and Anne has a sad, honest truth about it. What drives the film forward is the depth of these characters; we feel for each of them. The favourite was nominated for 10 Oscars, taking home a really, really well-deserved trophy for Colman’s tragicomic tour de force.
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Henry V (1989)
While it’s certainly worth mentioning the 1944 film of the same name starring Laurence Olivierhere, Kenneth BranaghThe gritty war film is also considered one of Shakespeare’s best films ever made. The text is heavily edited for urgency and tension, performed vibrantly by an ensemble cast including Emma Thompson.
The Lion in Winter (1968)
Anthony Harveyis beautiful drama James GoldmanThe 1966 play centers on the personal and political drama of Henry II and his family. Catherine Hepburn famously tied for Best Actress at the Oscars with Barbra Streisandwho won for funny girl. It was the third of Hepburn’s four wins, still an unmatched record.
The Lion in Winter is also notable as the very first film appearance of Anthony Hopkins.
The king (2019)
Two of the most photographed (and photogenic) actors in the world right now—Timothée Chalametand Robert Pattinson-star in David Michodepic war movie The king, loosely based on Henriade Shakespeare’s plays. The king received generally positive reviews after its festival premiere, although many noted that it takes considerable liberties with both historical fact and Shakespeare’s texts. You can stream it on Netflix.
Related: 14 Best Shakespeare Movies
William and Kate: the movie (2011)
Airing a few days before the highly publicized nuptials of Prince Williamand Duchess KateLifetime’s romantic comedy-drama starring Nico Evers-Swindell and Camille Luddington depicts their whirling, swoon-worthy courtship. Despite a lackluster critical reception, William and Kate: the moviewas a well-timed audience roar. Hallmark Channel’s Rival Feature William and Catherine: A Royal Romancecame out a few months later.
Harry & Meghan: Escape from the Palace (2021)
Lifetime’s latest Sussex-focused feature, Harry & Meghan: Escape from the Palace, featuring Jordan Dean and sydney morton as Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, respectively, addresses the couple’s shocking exit from Britain to the United States. This is the network’s third (yes, third) original film based on Harry and Meghan.
Victoria and Abdul (2017)
From the book Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest ConfidantJudi Dench plays Victoria again in Stephen Frears‘ unofficial sequel, focusing on Victoria’s relationship with an Indian Muslim servant Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). The film was twice nominated for an Oscar for its achievements in makeup and hair as well as costume design.
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