The Lion in Winter (1968 film)

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For the love of God, can't we love one another just a little? That's how peace begins. We have so much to love each other for. We have such possibilities, my children. We could change the world.

The Lion in Winter is a 1968 film, set in 1183 A.D., in which King Henry II's three sons all want to inherit the throne, but he won't commit to a choice. They and his wife variously plot to force him.

Directed by Anthony Harvey. Written by James Goldman, adapted from his Broadway play of the same name.
The most significant reserved seat attraction of the year!

King Henry II

  • In my time I've known contessas, milkmaids, courtesans and novices, whores, gypsies, jades, and little boys, but nowhere in God's western world have I found anyone to love but you.
  • I've snapped and plotted all my life. There's no other way to be king, alive, and 50 all at once.
  • What shall we hang — the holly, or each other?
  • I'm vilifying you, for God's sake — pay attention!
  • When the king is off his arse, nobody sleeps!
  • I found out the way your mind works and the kind of man you are. I know your plans and expectations - you've burbled every bit of strategy you've got. I know exactly what you will do, and exactly what you won't, and I've told you exactly nothing. To these aged eyes, boy, that's what winning looks like!
  • My life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. Henry Fitz-Empress, first Plantagenet, a king at 21, the ablest soldier of an able time. He led men well, he cared for justice when he could and ruled, for 30 years, a state as great as Charlemagne's. He married out of love, a woman out of legend. Not in Alexandria, or Rome, or Camelot has there been such a queen. She bore him many children... but no sons. King Henry had no sons. He had three whiskered things but he disowned them. [to his sons] You're not mine! We're not connected! I deny you! None of you will get my Kingdom, I leave you nothing and I wish you plague! May all your children breach and die! [he storms out the corridor, turns and looks back] My boys are gone. I've lost my boys. [looks skyward] You dare to damn me, do you? Well, I damn you back! GODDAMN YOU! [in tears] My boys are gone. I've lost my boys. Oh, Jesus, all my boys...

Eleanor of Aquitaine

  • [to her sons] Oh, my piglets, we are the origins of war, not history's forces, nor the times, nor justice, nor the lack of it, nor causes, nor religions, nor ideas, nor kinds of government, nor any other thing. We are the killers. We breed wars. We carry it like syphilis inside. Dead bodies rot in field and stream because the living ones are rotten. For the love of God, can't we love one another just a little? That's how peace begins. We have so much to love each other for. We have such possibilities, my children. We could change the world.
  • I even made poor Louis take me on Crusade. How's that for blasphemy. I dressed my maids as Amazons and rode bare-breasted halfway to Damascus. Louis had a seizure and I damn near died of windburn... but the troops were dazzled.
  • [of Henry] He had a mind like Aristotle and a form like mortal sin.
  • Hush dear, mother's fighting.
  • [to her jewelry] I'd hang you from the nipples, but you'd shock the children.
  • [to Henry, cruelly] I wonder... do you ever wonder... if I slept with your father.
  • [Gazing into a mirror] My, what a lovely girl. How could her king have left her?
  • I'm locked up with my sons... what mother doesn't dream of that?

Prince Richard

  • You're so deceitful you can't ask for water when you're thirsty. We could tangle spiders in the webs you weave.
  • So, the royal corkscrew finds me twisted?

Prince Geoffrey

  • I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. [smiles] We're a knowledgeable family.

Princess Alais

  • Kings, queens, knights everywhere you look and I'm the only pawn. I haven't got a thing to lose - that makes me dangerous.


Eleanor: How dear of you to let me out of jail!
Henry: It's only for the holidays.

Eleanor: Henry.
Henry: Hmm?
Eleanor: I have a confession.
Henry II: Yes?
Eleanor: I don't much like our children.

Eleanor: Henry's bed is Henry's province. He can people it with sheep for all I care, which on occasion he has done.
Henry II: [resentfully] Rosamund's been dead for seven years...
Eleanor: ...two months and eighteen days. I never liked her much.
Henry II: You counted the days.
Eleanor: I made the numbers up.

Eleanor: Henry.
Henry II: Madam.
Eleanor: Did you ever love me?
Henry II: No.
Eleanor: Good. That will make this pleasanter.

Eleanor: What would you have me do? Give out? Give up? Give in?
Henry II: Give me a little peace.
Eleanor: A little? Why so modest? How about eternal peace? Now there's a thought.

[Henry has just announced that Richard will be king]
John: What about poor John? No one ever says "poor John." My God, if I went-up in flames there's not a living soul who'd pee on me to put the fire out.
Richard: Let's strike a flint and see.

Henry II: The day those stout hearts band together is the day that pigs get wings.
Eleanor: There'll be pork in the treetops come morning.

Henry II: Now see here, boy...
Philip II: I am a king - I am no man's "boy!"
Henry II: A king? Because you put your ass on purple cushions?
Phillip II: [makes to leave] Sir.
Henry II: Oh, Phillip. Come now, you haven't got the feel for this at all. When I bellow, bellow back!

Henry: I want to reach a settlement. I left you with too little earlier.
Phillip II: Yes, nothing is too little.
Henry II: I'm sorry you're not fonder of me, lad. Your father always said, "Be fond of stronger men".
Phillip II: No wonder he loved everyone.
Henry II: I've come to offer you peace.
Phillip II: [smiles] Piss on your peace.
Henry II: Your father would have wept.
Phillip II: My father was a weeper.
Henry II: Fight me and you'll lose.
Phillip II: I can't lose, Henry — I have time. Just look at you — great, heavy arms, but every year they get a little heavier. The sand goes pit-pat in the glass. I'm in no hurry, Henry. I've got time.
Henry II: Suppose I hurry things along. Suppose I say that England is at war with France.
Philip II: Then France surrenders. I don't have to fight to win. Take all you want — this county, that one — you won't keep it long.
Henry II: What kind of courage have you got?
Phillip II: The tidal kind — it comes and goes.

Phillip II: You — you made my father nothing. You humiliated him, beat him down in every war, bellied with his wife, you played mock the monk — and you made him love you for it. I was there. His last words were to you.
Henry II: He was a loving man and you've learned nothing from him.
Phillip II: I've learned how much fathers live in sons. A king like you has policy on everything. Tell me, what's the official line on sodomy? How stands the crown on boys who do with boys?
Henry II: Richard finds his way into so many legends. Let's hear yours and see how it measures up.
Phillip II: I was 15 when he found me. He took me hunting. I had fallen from my horse, and I awoke to Richard touching me. He asked me if I loved him — "Oh, Phillip, do you love me?" I told him yes, and do you know why I told him yes? [with relish] So that someday I could tell you all about it. You cannot imagine what that "yes" cost me. Imagine snuggling up to a chancred whore and pulling your lips back into something like a smile and saying, "Oh yes, I love you and I find you beautiful." I don't know how I did it.
[Richard bursts forth from behind the curtain]
Richard: NO! It wasn't like that!
Phillip II: [coldly] Oh, but it was.
Richard: [hurt] loved me.
Phillip II: [amused] Never.

John: A knife! He's got a knife!
Eleanor: Of course he has a knife, he always has a knife, we all have knives! It's 1183 and we're barbarians!

Henry II: I want no women in my life.
Princess Alais: You're tired.
Henry II: I could have conquered Europe - all of it - but I had women in my life.

Henry II: Well I'm off.
Eleanor: To Rome?
Henry II: That's where they keep the Pope!

Henry II: We're in the cellar and you're going back to prison and my life is wasted and we've lost each other... and you're smiling.
Eleanor: It's the way I register despair. There's everything in life but hope.
Henry II: We're both alive... and for all I know that's what hope is.

Henry II: I hope we never die.
Eleanor: So do I.
Henry II: Do you think there's any chance of it?

Prince Richard: [the sons - in the dungeon - think they hear Henry approach] He's here. He'll get no satisfaction out of me. He isn't going to see me beg.
Prince Geoffrey: My you chivalric fool... as if the way one fell down mattered.
Prince Richard: When the fall is all there is, it matters.