List

Royal Movies, Part Two

By Cecilia Cygnar

Of the many films made about princes and kings, princesses and queens, I believe these films should be at the top of any royal watch list.

  • Grace of Monaco

    2015

    When we think of Hollywood, we think of beauty and, to an extent, royalty. Well, 1950s movie star Grace Kelly took that meaning to heart when she left behind her Hollywood life and career and married Prince Rainer of Monaco, swapping a fictional life of glamour for an actual life of diamonds and tiaras.

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  • The Girl King

    2015

    The story of Kristina of Sweden, who becomes queen at age six. One might think it's enough of a struggle dealing with becoming a royal leader as a child, but as Kristina's reign continues into her adulthood, she has to overcome much more threatening forces, like those who are against her modern ideas and especially her awakening sexuality.

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  • The Last Emperor

    2008

    Another movie about a young child's reign. This time, it's the story of the final emperor of China. Puyi becomes emperor as a very young boy in the early days of the 20th Century. From then on, his life was predetermined and filled with continual challenges. Winner of nine Oscars, including Best Picture.

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  • A United Kingdom

    2017

    Seretse Khama is heir to the throne of Bechuanaland (which later becomes Botswana), and while he is studying in London, he meets Ruth, a white English woman. This color divide is not an issue for Seretse and Ruth, but that is not exactly how the people of Bechuanaland feel...at least not at first.

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  • Cleopatra

    1999

    Princess Cleopatra becomes Egypt's Queen and has a passionate affair with Caesar. While juggling romance, she also manages to lead Egypt and prepare her son for his reign. A more ethnic version of this story, compared to the 1963 Taylor/Burton version. But, actually, Cleopatra is played by a Chilean actress, Leonor Varela. So, more ethnic...just not more accurate!

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  • Princess Kaʻiulani

    2010

    Based on the true story of a Hawaiian princess and her attempts to maintain Hawaii's independence from the United States. Tons of stunning scenery add to the drama and intensity behind this story. The love story elements are not as convincing and resoundingly powerful as the story of Ka'iulani and her struggle to keep Hawaii safe from colonization.

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  • Anna and the King

    2000

    A story told many times over, but none as dramatic and well-acted as this. It's The King and I without the music: the story of the romance between the King of Siam and a British widowed schoolteacher during the 1860s. Chow Yun-Fat really stands out here, in one of his greatest performances, which is probably the best reason to watch this adaptation.

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  • Anastasia

    2003

    Ingrid Bergman might be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia. And, she might not be. Leave it to an opportunistic businessman who discovers Ingrid's striking resemblance to the Grand Duchess and swoops in to take advantage. Bergman won a Best Actress Oscar for her role here, which is often considered her Hollywood comeback after controversy over her affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini.

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  • Camelot

    1998

    I had to include a King Arthur story, right? And why not choose this film version of the Lerner and Loewe musical. The Broadway version starred Richard Burton and Julie Andrews but for the film version, we have Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave. Richard Harris makes a good King Arthur but he's no Richard Burton. And though I love Vanessa Redgrave, Julie is and always will be the true Queen.

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  • Roman Holiday

    2008

    Speaking of queens, "queen" Audrey Hepburn plays a princess in her major film debut, up against desperate reporter Gregory Peck. Hepburn won her only Oscar for this radiant and dazzling role. One of my all-time favorite romantic comedies that does not have your typical rom-com ending. I always need my tissues handy when watching this one, so consider yourselves warned.

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  • Coming to America

    2007

    An African Prince wants to branch out of his homeland to find a wife. And, naturally, he picks Queens, New York to begin his search. One of Eddie Murphy's best comedies and definitely the one that has held up best against the march of time. It's just as funny to watch as it was back in 1988.

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