EXCALIBUR
1981, Warner Bros., 140 min, UK, USA, Dir: John Boorman

Director John Boorman’s retelling of the Arthur legend brings the story of Arthur’s court to life via a series of stunning images and rich performances by, among others, Nicol Williamson, Helen Mirren, Nigel Terry, Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson and Patrick Stewart.


THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY
1980, HandMade Films, 114 min, UK, Dir: John Mackenzie

One of the all-time great gangster movies. Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins) has clawed his way to the top of the London underworld, but hopes to achieve bigger things through an alliance with the Mafia. But just as Shand is about to seal the deal with the Americans, his criminal empire comes under violent assault from an unknown enemy. Hoskins made his bones as a lead actor with a performance that’s mesmerizing from first appearance to final car ride. Helen Mirren costars.


THE QUEEN
2006, Miramax, 97 min, UK, Dir: Stephen Frears

Combining the vicarious rewards of a detailed biopic with the gentler pleasures of an insightful character study, director Stephen Frears puts the monarchy under the microscope in this irreverent comedy-drama. Set in 1997, it details the bond of trust that slowly develops between the 71-year-old Queen Elizabeth – humanized by the Oscar-winning performance of Helen Mirren in the title role – and prime minister, Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) following the death of Princess Diana. With James Cromwell, Sylvia Syms.


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