It's 1183 and King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) and his wife Queen Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn) are holding Christmas Court.
King Henry is suppose to name a successor and wants to name Prince John (Nigel Terry). Queen Eleanor wants Prince Richard (Anthony Hopkins in his big screen debut). Meanwhile King Philip II (Timothy Dalton - future James Bond in his motion picture debut) of France wants his half-sister Alais (Jane Merrow) to marry the future heir. Except that she's been the mistress of King Henry for quite sometime now. A lot of verbal sparing and death threats follow.
The film is based on a play by James Goldman and directed by Anthony Harvey who, despite working several times with Katherine Hepburn, never managed to top this film. It isn't historically accurate but the acting between O'Toole and Hepburn is magnificent.