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The King's Speech (2010)
Thanks to Colin Firth's stuffy, stubborn, and staggering (not to mention Oscar-winning) turn as the stuttering King George VI, Tom Hooper's story about a reluctant royal walked away with a Best Picture statuette. Geoffrey Rush shines as the commoner who goes toe-to-toe with him, and Helena Bonham Carter shows us the sass behind the stuffiness as Queen Elizabeth.
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The Queen (2006)
The at-times uneasy relationship between Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street gets put under the microscope in Stephen Frears' first-rate drama, with Michael Sheen doing a spot-on Tony Blair (a role he was born to play? and play again — he's portrayed the Cool Britannia P.M. three times!) and Helen Mirren showing us the iron fist inside Queen Elizabeth II's velvet glove.
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Shekhar Kapur's Oscar-nominated biopic of the Virgin Queen, traces her ascension to the throne and her court's feverish attempts to marry her off. Cate Blanchett had starred in the well-received Oscar and Lucinda the year before, but this is the film that turned her into a household name. She's perfect.
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You can only imagine what the bar tab must have been on this production with two hard-living leading men like Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton! O'Toole tackles the role of King Henry II, while Burton walks away with the film as the ruler's Machiavellian advisor Thomas Becket. Both were nominated for Best Actor Oscars, but neither won. The statuette went to Rex Harrison for My Fair Lady.
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The Madness of King George (1994)
The last decades of King George III's long reign were clouded by blindness and babbling insanity. His doctor (Ian Holm) fights to conceal his illness so he can hold onto power while the scheming Prince of Wales (Rupert Everett) tries to expose and exploit his weakness. At the center of this tug-of-war is Nigel Hawthorne's crazy-like-a-fox performance as the ailing king.
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The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Long before Marcia and Jan battled behind-the-scenes for power amongst the Brady clan, Anne and Mary Boleyn took sisterly competition to a whole other level, vying to be Henry VIII's fruit-bearing mistress. Just in case that story line isn't sexy enough for the history-phobic, did we mention that the Boleyn girls are played by Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson?
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Shakespeare in Love (1998)
It's got wigs, corsets, quill pens, and lots of hifalutin' language, but John Madden's Best Picture-winner isn't really about the royals. It's a pretty great film, though. And since it's got Dame Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth we'll make thee an exception.
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The Young Victoria (2009)
Emily Blunt is note-perfect as the young Queen Victoria, who, at age 20, was next in line for the throne of England. Her plotting mother (Miranda Richardson) and her dastardly aide (Mark Strong) try to strong-arm her to declare them as her regents and keep quiet. But Vicky's got different ideas.
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The Naked Gun (1988)
Jeanette Charles has made a career out of impersonating QE2. She's played Her Royal Highness in European Vacation and Austin Powers in Goldmember. But without question her finest (and funniest) moment in a tiara was opposite Leslie Nielsen's bumbling Frank Drebin.
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Mrs. Brown (1997)
The year before he showed us the bedroom-friendly exploits of the Bard in Shakespeare in Love, John Madden directed this spirited indie about the relationship between Judi Dench's Queen Victoria and earthy Scottish commoner John Brown (Billy Connolly). Dench snagged her first Oscar nomination, but wouldn't walk off with a golden boy until the following year for Shakespeare.
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The Lion in Winter (1968)
What a cast! Peter O'Toole rages and rants as the aging Henry II, who's forced to choose a successor from his three flawed sons in 12th century Britain. Katharine Hepburn is unforgettable as his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Anthony Hopkins schemes up a storm as eldest son Richard. If you haven't seen this one, do yourself a favor.
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Anne of a Thousand Days (1969)
As close to a riff on Lolita as you'll find in the royal closet. Real-life cad Richard Burton sinks his teeth into the insatiable Henry VIII, who ditches his wife Queen Katherine of Aragon because she can't produce a male heir, and woos the 18-year-old Anne Boleyn (Genevieve Bujold). A look at the royal family back when it knew how to really party!