British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Madness of King George, The

Synopsis
Adapted from Alan Bennett’s stage play ‘The Madness of George III’, the film focuses on King George’s deteriorating mental condition that opens the door for court intrigue and the usurping of the throne by his son, the Prince of Wales. Nigel Hawthorne, who plays the eccentric King, precisely captures the scalding indignity of a proud ruler reduced to a helpless patient, especially when he reads a moving passage from King Lear that triggers his temporary return to sanity.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Film
Technical information
Colour / Sound
Year of release
1995
Duration
110 mins; 9,936 feet

Credits

Director
Nicholas Hytner
Producer
David Parfitt; Stephen Evans
Screenplay
Alan Bennett
Music
George Fenton
Costume
Mark Thompson
Art Direction
John Fenner
Cast
Alan Bennett2nd MP
Amanda DonohoeLady Pembroke
Helen MirrenQueen Charlotte
Ian HolmWillis
Jim CarterFox
Julian WadhamPitt
Nigel HawthorneGeorge III
Rupert EverettPrince of Wales
Rupert GravesGreville

Additional Details

Production type
Fiction Films
Historical period
18th Century
Plays
King Lear
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)

Notes

Notes
Made on a budget of $8 million, the film debut of Nicholas Hytner, who also directed the original stage version.
General
It seems that Alan Bennett changed his original play title from ‘The Madness of King George III’ to ‘The Madness of King George’ because it was thought the American audience might mistake it for a sequel. As Bennett puts it: "apparently ... there were many moviegoers who came away from Branagh’s film of Henry V wishing they had seen its four predecessors" (The Madness of King George, New York: Random, 1995, p. xix).
Several performers repeated their roles from the Royal National Theatre production and/or the US tour, including Nigel Hawthorne, Julian Wadham, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Anthony Calf, Matthew Lloyd Davies, Paul Corrigan, Roger Hammond, and Cyril Shaps.
History
The stage play ‘The Madness of George III’ on which the film was based opened at the Royal National Theatre, London, in 1991.
The film version was initially released on the 28th December 1994 in the US, the UK release took place on 24th of March 1995.
Figures
Gross $15,238,994 (USA) IMDb
£3,330,349 (UK) (18 May 1995) IMDb
Awards
Academy Awards 1995 - Best Art Direction-Set Decoration: (Ken Adam, Carolyn Scott)

BAFTA Awards 1996 - Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film (Stephen Evans, David Parfitt, Nicholas Hytner)
BAFTA Film Awards: Best Make Up/Hair (Lisa Westcott), Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Nigel Hawthorne)

Cannes Film Festival 1995 - Best Actress (Helen Mirren)

Production Company

Name

Channel Four Films

Name

Close Call Films

Name

Goldwyn (Samuel) Company

Distributor

Name

Rank

Distributor (Sale)

Name

Retail outlets

Record Stats

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