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The Madness of King George Details


Based on Alan Bennett's acclaimed play The Madness of George III, The Madness of King George takes a dark-humored look at the mental decline of King George III of England. The film's story begins nearly three decades into George's reign, in 1788, as the unstable king (Nigel Hawthorne, reprising his stage role) begins to show signs of increasing dementia, from violent fits of foul language to bouts of forgetfulness. This weakness seems like the perfect chance to overthrow the unpopular George, whom many blamed for the loss of the American colonies, in favor of the Prince of Wales (Rupert Everett), but the king's prime minister William Pitt (Julian Wadham) and his wife Queen Charlotte (Helen Mirren) are determined to protect the throne. Doctors are brought in, but the archaic treatments of the time prove of little value. In desperation, they turn to Dr. Willis (Ian Holm), a harsh, unconventional specialist whose unusual methods recall modern psychiatry. Willis struggles to break through to the mad king, treating him with an anger and haughtiness George has never before experienced. 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. Hawthorne's fiery yet vulnerable performance received much critical praise, including Best Actor at the British Academy Awards and a nomination for the same at the Oscars. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

  • Release date:December 28, 1994


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ken Adam Best Art Direction 1994 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nigel Hawthorne Best Actor 1994 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Helen Mirren Best Supporting Actress 1994 Nominee
Cannes Film Festival Helen Mirren Best Actress 1995 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Alan Bennett Best Adapted Screenplay 1994 Nominee


Nigel Hawthorne
as George III
Helen Mirren
as Queen Charlotte
Ian Holm
as Dr. Willis
Rupert Everett
as Prince of Wales
Rupert Graves
as Greville
Amanda Donohoe
as Lady Pembroke
John Wood
as Thurlow
Julian Rhind-Tutt
as Duke of York
Alan Bennett
as 2nd MP
Anthony Calf
as Fitzroy
Julian Wadham
as Pitt
Janine Duvitski
as Margaret Nicholson
Selina Cadell
as Mrs Cordwell
Nicholas Selby
as Speaker
Geoffrey Palmer
as Warren
Roger Ashton-Griffiths
as MP
Robert Swann
as 1st MP
Jeremy Child
as Black Rod
Struan Rodger
as Dundas
Cyril Shaps
as Pepys
Jim Carter
as Fox
Peter Woodthorpe
as Clergyman
Roger Hammond
as Baker
Barry Stanton
as Sheridan
Joanna Hall
as Royal Child


Nicholas Hytner
Stephen Evans
Mark Cooper
David Parfitt
Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett
Play Author
Andrew Dunn
George Fenton
Musical Direction/Supervision
George Fenton
Composer (Music Score)
Tariq Anwar
Ken Adam
Production Designer
John Fenner
Art Director
David Crozier
Sound/Sound Designer
Mary Soan
First Assistant Director
Celestia Fox
John Siddall