This is a fascinating film about one of England's most famous king, admired throughout the centuries for being heroic and brave and a pivotal Christian commander during the Crusades. Despite being a king for only a decade, from 1189 to 1199, Richard I's reign is the stuff of legends. He has been frequently portrayed in many movies and TV shows thanks to his legendary exploits, skill as a military strategist and, well, being lionhearted on the battlefield.
Richard was born in 1157 to his father, King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine at Beaumont Palace in Oxford. As the third son (and the fourth out of eight kids), no one expected him to become the King. When his mother and father separated, he moved to France with her, spending most of his youth at her court. There was no love lost between his parents, and she encouraged her sons to rebel and campaign against their father. Richard defeated his father in battle in 1189 and was crowned the King of England, Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou.
Strangely enough, in the decade he was the King of England, Richard was only actually in England for about six months. Almost immediately after his coronation, Richard, along with Philip II, the King of France, joined the Third Crusade to free the Holy Land from the great Muslim Emperor Saladin, the leader of the Kurds. Many of his critics feel that he was not entirely invested in England and was more interested in his French territories. He did not even speak English and funneled a significant chunk of his father's treasury to fund his foreign wars.
But his battle exploits and sense of chivalry won over the annals of history. On the way to the Crusades, he occupied Sicily on behalf of its Queen, his sister Joan. He also greatly enriched himself financially by conquering Cyprus, gaining new allies and adding to his growing legend.
When he finally arrived at the Holy Land, he heroically captured the city of Acre. His decisive actions made him very well-loved by his men, who were highly loyal to him because he valued them and was willing to get into the battle and fight with them shoulder to shoulder. Though he did not regain control of Jerusalem, which was his main objective, he defeated Saladin, who Richard greatly admired and respected despite being an enemy, and entered into a truce with him.
On his way back to England, he was captured by the Duke of Austria, who demanded a hefty ransom to release him. When he returned to England, he soon left again to continue fighting in France, where he was finally shot by a crossbow archer in the shoulder and died four years later.
Today, Richard the Lionheart's legacy is from his great military exploits and how he bravely fought for Christianity in the Third Crusade. He died without children, and the throne passed to his younger brother, who became King John.
Directed by: Dan Davis