The best films about historical royalty (2023)

To paraphrase Lorde, we may never be royals, but many people enjoy watching movies about royalty. There's excess, intrigue, romance, violence, and a whole lot more to films set in the world of modern and historical royals. While some of these films don’t land, many of them have been successful. These are the best films based on real royal figures. By the way, that means no King Arthur.

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'The Queen' (2006)

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Pathe Renn Productions

Elizabeth II was Queen of England for decades before her September 2022 death at 96. She witnessed a lot, including the death of her one-time daughter-in-law Diana Spencer. The Queen is one of writer Peter Morgan’s explorations of British royalty, but this one had Helen Mirren at the center. Mirren won Best Actress for playing Elizabeth.

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'The King’s Speech' (2010)

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Young Elizabeth II is inThe King’s Speech as well. The film centers on her father. After George VI’s father died and his brother abdicated the throne, it was left to him to rule over the United Kingdom at the onset of World War II. However, George VI dealt with a stutter, and this film is about him overcoming that. The King’s Speech ended up a controversial Best Picture winner, with many feeling like The Social Network should have won.

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'The Favourite' (2018)

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Fox Searchlight

Yorgos Lanthimos was never going to give us a normal movie about royalty. He’s the guy who directed Dogtooth and The Lobster, after all. However, this black comedy about Queen Anne and two of her royal consorts struck a chord with Oscar voters. Olivia Colman’s turn as Anne won her Best Actress.

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'Marie Antoinette' (2006)

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(Video) The best films about historical royalty

Talk about a polarizing movie. People seem to either love Sofia Coppola’s take on Marie Antoinette or despise it. She used pop music and all manner of anachronisms in her film about France’s controversial queen. You have to at least credit Coppola for not taking a run-of-the-mill approach to the material.

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'Elizabeth' (1998)

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Cate Blanchett is considered one of the best actors of her generation, and it all began with her breakout turn starring in Elizabeth. Now, this film is about Elizabeth I, not the monarch played by Helen Mirren roughly a decade later. This period piece earned Blanchett her first Oscar nomination but not her last.

6 of 20

'Elizabeth: The Golden Age' (2007)

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About a decade after Elizabeth, director Shekhar Kapur reunited with his star for another film about Elizabeth I. This one covers the later period of her reign. Blanchett (and Geoffrey Rush) returned, and you’ll never guess what happened. Yes, Blanchett was nominated again for Best Actress, putting her in rare company among people who have been nominated more than once for playing the same character (or historical figure, in this case).

7 of 20

'The King and I' (1956)

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20th Century Fox

The vast majority of these films are about European royalty or, in this case, non-European royalty through the prism of a white person. The King of I is based on a popular musical. In this version, Yul Brynner (who is very much not Thai) plays the King of Siam, while Deborah Kerr plays Anna.

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'Nicholas and Alexandra' (1971)

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(Video) The BEST Historical Royalty Movies..

The British also have an affinity for royalty from other countries, apparently. This is a British film about Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, the last ruling royals of Russia. Things did not turn out well for them, but Nicholas and Alexandra had a better go of it. The movie got a Best Picture nomination

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'Cleopatra' (1963)

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20th Century Fox

Let’s not forget the Pharaohs, the royals of Ancient Egypt. Cleopatra is one of the most famous royals in history. She was played by Elizabeth Taylor in this film. The making of Cleopatra was infamous for its bloated budget and the personal lives of stars Taylor and Richard Burton. In the end, though, that all overshadowed the fact the movie turned out just fine.

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'The Young Victoria' (2009)

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Momentum Pictures

Queen Victoria is one of England’s most famous monarchs, but she usually only pops up fleetingly in films, like various Sherlock Holmes tales. She got to be the star of The Young Victoria, though, with Emily Blunt in the role. Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, wrote the screenplay.

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'Alexander' (2004)

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Warner Bros.

Alexander the Great reigned over large swaths of land and became a hugely impactful historical figure. Alexander is a flawed film. It is, after all, written and directed by Oliver Stone. Colin Farrell is compelling as Alexander the Great, and this is the best film about a massively important historical person.

12 of 20

'Becket' (1964)

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(Video) Top 10 Best Depictions of Real Life Royals in Movies and TV

Richard Burton is back as Thomas Becket, who was Archibishop of Canterbury and a key person in the life of Henry II. This film is about the relationship between the two, which ended with Becket effectively martyred. Peter O’Toole played Henry II, and the movie won Best Adapted Screenplay.

13 of 20

'The Lion in Winter' (1968)

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AVCO Embassy Pictures

Not only is O’Toole in this movie, but he played Henry II again. However, the focus is on his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine this time. Anthony Hopkins was given his first major role as Richard the Lionheart. Hepburn won Best Actress, her third in that category, further establishing herself as an all-time legendary actor.

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'Richard III' (1995)

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Guild Film Distribution

William Shakespeare wrote a lot of historical plays about royalty. One of those is Richard III. It contributed to a not-so-great reputation for the king as the centuries went on. In this particular adaptation, the action is moved to the 1930s, with Ian McKellen playing Richard III as a fascist. Historically accurate? Not so much, but interesting nonetheless.

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'The Madness of King George' (1994)

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Rank Film Distributors

King George III is famous in America, as he was King of England at the time of the American Revolution. It was also thought, for many years, that he was mentally ill. The Madness of King George picks up that ball and runs with it. While it may not be entirely accurate, it was well-received in the United States and the United Kingdom. Even after that whole revolution thing, we can still find common ground.

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'Henry V' (1989)

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Samuel Goldwyn Company

(Video) Top 10 Best Movies about Royalty

The film that Kenneth Branagh built his career on. He starred, wrote, and directed this adaptation of a Shakespeare play. He had never directed before but was nominated for Best Director and Best Actor. This basically let Branagh adapt Shakespeare plays until the cows came home, which he happily did.

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'A Man for All Seasons' (1966)

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This Best Picture winner is more about Thomas More, but you can’t tell More’s story without Henry VIII. More is the man who refused to sign off on Henry VIII’s divorce, which did not sit well with the monarch. Robert Shaw plays Henry, but Paul Scofield won Best Actor for playing Moore.

18 of 20

'The Other Boleyn Girl' (2008)

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Peter Morgan is back. This time, with a not-very-accurate retelling of the story of Anne and Mary Boleyn. Mary was Henry VIII’s mistress until he married her sister Anne, who became his second queen. That didn’t take either. Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson played the Boleyn sisters, while once again, Henry VIII plays second fiddle in a film.

19 of 20

'Anastasia' (1997)

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20th Century Fox

The one animated film on this list. Don Bluth’s movie is about Anastasia, daughter of the aforementioned Tsar Nicholas II. There was a longstanding rumor that Anastasia had survived the Russian Revolution, which sets the table for this movie. Christopher Lloyd is also on hand as Rasputin. Oh, and it’s a musical, by the way.

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'The King' (2019)

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(Video) Top 5 Royalty Romantic movies

We started with The Queen, and we end with The King. The movie is based on a few of Shakespeare’s historical plays and stars Timothee Chalamet as Henry V just as his star rose. He has a wild haircut in this movie and is not the only one. The Netflix movie is not entirely successful, but it has quite the cast and some pieces that really work.

Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the booksThe Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000andThe Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.


What Netflix show is based on the royal family? ›

The Crown is the undisputed queen of royal dramas right now. The Emmy-winning Netflix series about the life and times of Queen Elizabeth II returned for Season 5 on Nov. 9, switching up its cast for the occasion, as is tradition — you know how the royals love tradition!

Which film is a funny book at British royalty? ›

King Ralph
Based onthe novel Headlong by Emlyn Williams
Produced byJack Brodsky
StarringJohn Goodman Peter O'Toole John Hurt
CinematographyKenneth MacMillan
13 more rows

What movie is based on Queen Elizabeth? ›

The Queen (2006)

Told largely from the perspectives of Queen Elizabeth II, who is spectacularly played by Dame Helen Mirren, and then Prime Minister Tony Blair, the film details the two very different reactions both had to the death of Britain's beloved Princess of Wales.

What should I watch about the royal family? ›

Eight TV shows to stream about royal families — 'The Empress', 'Reign' and 'Wolf Hall'
  • 'The Empress', Netflix.
  • 'Victoria', Apple TV+
  • 'The Great', OSN.
  • 'Wolf Hall', Apple TV+
  • 'Versailles', Netflix.
  • 'Rise of Empires: Ottoman', Netflix.
  • 'The Tudors', OSN.
  • 'Reign', Apple TV+
13 Oct 2022

What is the Queen's favorite movie? ›

Little is known about the late Queen Elizabeth II's movie-watching habits, but one of her favourite films was none other than Flash Gordon. The news that the monarch was a huge fan of the 1980 sci-fi film was revealed by Brian Blessed in 2020, during an interview about its 40th anniversary.

Is The Crown historically accurate? ›

The Crown takes some liberties, but is otherwise on par with history! The fifth season of the Netflix series, 'The Crown' dropped earlier this month and has received mixed reactions from audiences. The series is inspired by real-life events of Queen Elizabeth II starting in 1947 when she marries Prince Philip.

Is Netflix the king historically accurate? ›

The retelling is mostly based off the plays Henry IV, part I and part II, and Henry V. While these plays are historical and roughly based off the actual events and encounters of the time, the retelling is not entirely accurate, and neither is The King.

Did Queen Elizabeth watch The Crown? ›

Queen Elizabeth II

“I heard the queen had watched it, and she used to watch it on a projector on Sunday night, apparently,” said Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip in the first two seasons of the Netflix show, recently echoed during an appearance on TODAY.

What famous movie took place in the United Kingdom? ›

Namely, Harry Potter films and mega-popular Marvel studios blockbusters like Spider-Man: Far From Home and Avengers: Infinity War star several filming locations found in England, UK.

What should I read after the royal we? ›

We have 42 book recommendations similar to The Royal We
  • #1. The Heir Affair. Royal We (Book 2) ...
  • #2. American Royals. American Royals (Book 1) ...
  • #3. The Swedish Prince. Royal Romance (Book 1) ...
  • #4. Command Me. Royals Saga (Book 1) ...
  • #5. Royally Screwed. Royally (Book 1) ...
  • #6. His Royal Secret. ...
  • #7. A Nordic King. ...
  • #8. Once Upon a Royal Christmas.

Is there a TV show about the royal family? ›

The Crown. Yes, this one's a given for a list like this. Created by Peter Morgan, The Crown is a Netflix series that focuses on the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her coronation through to her later years.

Who was the very first Royal? ›

SAXON KINGS. Egbert (Ecgherht) was the first monarch to establish a stable and extensive rule over all of Anglo-Saxon England.

Is the Queen of Hearts inspired by Queen Elizabeth? ›

While Lewis Carroll never officially disclosed the inspiration for the Queen of Hearts as he did for other characters, many readers believe that the Queen of Hearts is loosely based on Queen Victoria.

Are Queen Elizabeth and Johnny Depp related? ›

It is said that they are 12th cousins once removed. While Tom Hank's lineage is linked to Prince William and Prince Harry, and Brad Pitt's with King Henry II. Well, the Royal Family in itself is big and has spread through the years, but it's unbelievable that so many Hollywood stars are related to the Royals.

Who is the most loved member of the royal family? ›

As mentioned above, the Queen remains the most popular member of the Royal Family, chosen by 45% in her Platinum Jubilee year. The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge remain in second (32%) and third (28%) respectively while Princess Anne is Britain's fourth favourite member with 18% choosing the Princess Royal.

Who is the least popular member of the royal family? ›

Prince Andrew is still firmly the least popular member of the royal family in the eyes of the public, though. The Queen's son has been in the spotlight for a much more damaging reason. This chart shows the most and least popular members of the British royal family in the UK in 2022.

Who is the most beautiful member of the royal family? ›

The top 10 sexiest British royals, according to Twitter users (rank, name, number of tweets)
  • Prince William – 1,204.
  • Meghan Markle – 1,196.
  • Prince Harry – 1,126.
  • Mike Tindall – 1,003.
  • Lady Amelia Windsor – 905.
  • Princess Beatrice – 901.
  • Kate Middleton – 801.
  • Zara Tindall – 598.
22 Jul 2022

What is the Queen's least Favourite Colour? ›

Revealed: Why blue is the Queen's favourite colour... and why she doesn't like beige. Many have wondered what Her Majesty's favourite colour is - until now.

What was Freddie Mercury's favorite movie? ›

Taylor talked a lot about movies with Mercury (“We'd all go and see the latest Stanley Kubrick film, every four years”) and said the singer's “absolute favorite film” was Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot, which the American Film Institute voted the best comedy ever made.

Why does the Queen not like Mick Jagger? ›

The biggest problem however was the Queen's feeling that Jagger was a 'corrupting influence' on her sister, the late Princess Margaret, with whom he was known to socialise on the Caribbean island of Mustique.

What did Queen Elizabeth think of The Crown? ›

“The Crown” had a fan in Queen Elizabeth ll. Matt Smith, who portrayed Prince Philip in his younger years in the hit Netflix series, revealed in a new interview that Her Royal Majesty watched the show prior to her death.

Did the royal family like The Crown? ›

According to Matt Smith, who played Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip on seasons one and two of The Crown, the late monarch did in fact watch the Netflix drama about her illustrious reign.

What does the Queen think of The Crown show? ›

And while the Queen's communications secretary told the New York Times that the royal family has no comment on The Crown and didn't say whether they even watch it, credible reports support that the Queen watched the first season, and though she “really liked it,” she had concerns that some of it had been “too heavily ...

Is female king historically accurate? ›

Are the Characters Based on Real People? While most of the basic historical framework is fairly accurate, many of the characters are not. The only one that is clearly based on a real person is King Ghezo.

Is Kingdom based on real life? ›

The story of Kingdom is a fictional adaptation of the Chinese history period known as the Warring States period, which ended in 221 BC when Ying Zheng, king of Qin, succeeded in conquering the other states and unifying China. Several of the characters are based on historical figures.

Is the last king a true story? ›

The Last King (Norwegian: Birkebeinerne) is a 2016 Norwegian historical drama, directed by Nils Gaup. The story, inspired by true events, centers on the efforts of the Birkebeiner loyalists to protect the infant, Haakon Haakonsson, the heir to the Norwegian throne after the death of his father, King Haakon Sverresson.

What is Queen Elizabeth's Favourite crown? ›

Said to be one of the Queen's favourite headpieces, the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara has a thrilling history. It was originally made for the eponymous owner in 1874, who had it smuggled out of Russia during the revolution of 1917 by two British friends posing as servants.

Who turned down The Crown before Queen Elizabeth? ›

With a reign of 326 days, Edward was one of the shortest-reigning British monarchs to date. After his abdication, Edward was created Duke of Windsor.

Why do they not sleep together in The Crown? ›

As an old tradition dictates, royal couples never share the same bed or bedroom, allowing them to move freely while asleep. It allows them much needed alone time after hours of being in the limelight.

What are the top three grossing film of all time in the UK? ›

Top earning films
RankTitleGross (£ million)
1 *Star Wars: The Force Awakens123.2
2 *Skyfall103.2
3 *No Time to Die98.0
4Spider-Man: No Way Home96.9
41 more rows

What is the oldest cinema in England? ›

The Duke of York's Picture House is an art house cinema in Brighton, England, which lays claim to being the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain. According to cinema historian Allen Eyles, the cinema "deserves to be named Britain's oldest cinema".

What was the first British movie? ›

They made the first British film Incident at Clovelly Cottage in February 1895, shortly before falling out over the camera's patent. Soon several British film companies had opened to meet the demand for new films, such as Mitchell and Kenyon in Blackburn.

Is Meghan Markle's book a success? ›

Meghan Markle is now a best-selling children's author! The Duchess of Sussex's illustrated book The Bench has officially reached No. 1 on The New York Times Bestseller list for children's picture books since its release last week.

What should I read if I liked Elizabeth George? ›

If you like Elizabeth George, try these authors:
  • Deborah Crombie. Deborah Crombie was born in Dallas and grew up in Richardson, Texas, a suburb north of Dallas, second child of Charlie and Mary Darden. ...
  • Tana French.

Is reading the prince worth it? ›

It Will Always be Relevant. Reading this book will give you insights about politics, which have stood the test of time and prevailed. They will probably stay relevant as long as we have politicians and to govern us. So it might be worth your time to read this book, even if not for yourself.

What is the royal family's real surname? ›

For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-Windsor.

What should I watch if I love The Crown? ›

The Crown: If you like Netflix's royal drama, you'll love… Victoria, The Tudors and Outlander.

Is the royal family immune? ›

The monarch is immune from arrest in all cases; members of the royal household are immune from arrest in civil proceedings.

What is the oldest royal bloodline? ›

The Danish monarchy has existed for more than 1000 years and is among the oldest royal houses in the world. Read more about the successive monarchs in Denmark all the way from Gorm the Old to the present sovereign, HM Queen Margrethe II.

Who is the oldest royal still alive? ›

As it happens, Prince Philip was not the oldest ever member of the Royal Family. The Guinness World Record for the Oldest Royal actually belongs to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.

Who was the most powerful royal in history? ›

Andi Lamaj
  • Hatshepsut born: 1508 BC; died: 1458 BC. Hatshepsut was one of the most powerful queens of ancient times, she was the 5th pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt. ...
  • Empress Theodora born: 500 AD; died: 548 AD. ...
  • Empress Wu Zetian born: 625 AD; died: 705 AD. ...
  • Elizabeth I of England born: 1533; died: 1603.
27 May 2021

What mental illness does the Queen of Hearts have? ›

the Queen of Hearts is affected by egotism and narcissist syndrome “head off”, the hookah-smoking Caterpillar by drug addiction, and the Mad Hatter, simply by madness, repeating in an obsessive-compulsive way, for ten years at 6 p.m. the celebration of our beloved Unbirthday.

Why is the Red Queen's head so big? ›

From the original John Tenniel illustrations of the Duchess, she gets a massive head in proportion to her body and a retinue of frog footmen. The White Queen theorizes that the movie's Red Queen has a tumor pressing against her brain, explaining both her large head and her deranged behaviour.

Who is the real queens of heart? ›

Mary Tudor: Queen of Hearts.

Who has royal blood? ›

Hollywood siblings Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal's family tree extends back to Edward III, the King of England from 1327 through 1377, which makes them 19th cousins to the Queen. The Gyllenhaals behind Hilary Duff and Brooke Shields have the most royal blood out of any American celebrity.

Who is the rightful heir after Queen Elizabeth? ›

After the death of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles is now King Charles III while Prince William is the heir to the throne, but who is next in line. As soon as Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully at Balmoral in Scotland on Thursday afternoon, Charles, the Prince of Wales, became King.

How is Beyonce related to Queen Elizabeth? ›

Beyoncé Queen B has lived up to her name as she's also the Queen's 25th cousin once removed. Beyoncé has traced her roots back to King Henry II. Queen Elizabeth is descended from Henry VIII's sister, Queen Margaret of Scotland the grandmother of Mary Queen of Scots.

Is there a movie for pair of kings? ›

The Pair of Kings Movie: Top of the World or The Pair of Kings: The Movie is a possible upcoming film based on the television series "Pair of Kings". It has currently only been rumored on Twitter. It has been rumored by Geno Segers and Ryan Ochoa that it will feature the return of Brady Parker.

What movie says its good to be The King? ›

"It's good to be the king", a catch phrase from the 1981 Mel Brooks film History of the World, Part 1.

Are there any movies about Queen? ›

The Queen (2006)

Which movie has the biggest King Kong? ›

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

At 104 feet, the MonsterVerse's Kong is the biggest to appear on the big screen since his crossover with Gojira in 1962.

Is Brad Pitt in The King? ›

The King is a 2019 epic war film directed by David Michôd, based on several plays from William Shakespeare's Henriad.
The King (2019 film)
The King
Produced byBrad Pitt Dede Gardner Jeremy Kleiner Liz Watts David Michôd Joel Edgerton
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Where can I watch Pair of Kings 2022? ›

Watch Pair of Kings | Full episodes | Disney+

Are there any movies about King George V? ›

George V has been portrayed on screen by: Derek Erskine in the 1925 silent film The Scarlet Woman: An Ecclesiastical Melodrama. Charles Fredericks in the 1964 film My Fair Lady. Carleton Hobbs in the 1965 film A King's Story.

Who is King Boomer? ›

King Duke "Boomer" Parker is the brother of Brady and Boz. Unlike Brady, he inherited his mom's looks. He is one of the kings of Kinkow. He is the deuteragonist of first two seasons and the main protagonist in the third season of Pair of Kings.

What is the famous line from the movie as good as it gets? ›

Melvin Udall: Don't be pessimistic, it's not your style. Okay. Here I go.

Is the pagan king a good movie? ›

The production value and film quality are great. There are striking visuals and great combat scenes for something no one has heard of. The protagonist is ok, but could have been slightly miscast; however, he pulls this off decently.

Which Hollywood movie quote is I am the king of the world !'? ›

Titanic (1997)

Clip: "I'm the King of the World!"

Is Bohemian Rhapsody historically accurate? ›

Yes. The Bohemian Rhapsody true story reveals that he was born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946 in Stone Town, Sultanate of Zanzibar (now Tanzania) in eastern Africa. He started going by "Freddie" while attending St. Peter's School, a British-style boarding school near Bombay (now Mumbai).

What should I watch about the Queen? ›

Essential royal viewing: the best films, shows and documentaries about the Queen
  • The Crown (2016-) ...
  • Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen (2022) ...
  • Elizabeth R: A Year in the Life of the Queen (1992) ...
  • Elizabeth at 90: A Family Tribute (2016) ...
  • Elizabeth: a portrait in parts (2022) ...
  • The Queen's Coronation in Colour (2018) ...
  • The Queen (2006)
14 Sept 2022

How true is the story of Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

This story is real. Best Picture nominee Bohemian Rhapsody is a true story based on the life of singer Freddie Mercury. That said, it does take some liberties with the story, simplifying many aspects to keep the story moving and to make it a bit more flashy.


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