The true story of King Henry VIII's lust for Anne Boleyn, and
the insane lengths he went to to have her hand in marriage.
Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)
Directed by Charles Jarrott
Written by Bridget Boland and John Hale
Starring Richard Burton, Geneviève Bujold, Anthony Quayle,
Irene Papas, John Colicos, William Squire, Peter Jeffrey
Based on the stage play by Maxwell Anderson
Oscar Wins - Best Costume Design
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Richard Burton),
Best Actress (Geneviève Bujold), Best Supporting Actor
(Anthony Quayle), Best Adapted Screenplay,
Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound,
Best Original Score (Georges Delerue)
King Henry VIII is arguably the worst tyrant to ever rule the throne of England. In his quest to have a male heir, Henry separated England from the Catholic Church and established the Church of England so he could divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn, the younger woman he lusted after. This split created a permanent divide in Christianity that has never healed, led to the ongoing battle and schism between the Catholics and Protestants, and resulted in thousands of deaths over the years. All so Henry could get laid. This film details the events that led to Henry's marriage to Anne, and the fallout therein.
Richard Burton excels as Henry VIII, perfectly pulling off his arrogance, rage, and fearsome lust for power. Geneviève Bujold holds her own as Anne Boleyn, who at first you sympathize with, but then she starts to scheme and plot her own games. By the film's end, she's just as devious as Henry, but is unable to anticipate Henry's desire for Jane Seymour, which led to her own execution for false accusations of adultery. It was a tumultuous time for England, but their union led to the crowning of Queen Elizabeth I, so everything worked out.
Anne of the Thousand Days was unjustly panned upon its release and was a box office failure, despite earning ten Oscar nominations and winning one for costume design. Burton was such a phenomenal performer and the fact that he lost to John Wayne of all people makes me want to cry. This film is a great retelling of this insane story and its far-reaching repercussions that the world is still reeling from centuries later.