In late 1788, George III once again began showing signs of the mysterious mental illness that had first plagued him in the 1760s. Politicians, scenting the possibility of change, homed in for the kill. So, for that matter, did the king's much-disliked son and heir, the Prince of Wales. But in 1789, just as the Prince was on the verge of becoming Regent...the king made a miraculous (and mysterious) recovery.

A little over two centuries later, the playwright Alan Bennett turned this material into ''Theatre/TheMadnessOfGeorgeIII'' (1991), which proved to be an international hit. Bennett and director Nicholas Hytner adapted it to film as ''The Madness of King George'' (1994); the film had a successful art house run and earned an Oscar nomination (not to mention some very belated recognition) for its star, Nigel Hawthorne. Creator/HelenMirren was also nominated for an Oscar as "Best Actress in a Supporting Role", for her portayal of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, George III's Queen consort.

Contemporary audiences noted some obvious similarities between the film's [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfHanover House of Hanover]] and the twentieth-century [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfWindsor House of Windsor]], especially when it came to frustrated Princes of Wales. However, the film is as much a response to ''Theatre/KingLear'' as to modern royal foibles.
!!This film provides examples of:

* AdiposeRex:
** Prince George. He just gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.
** The Duke of York puts on weight too.
* BearerOfBadNews: Captain Fitzroy does this quite a lot, although he's clearly enjoying himself.
* BeingWatched: All of the royals are under constant, if supposedly invisible, observation, but Dr. Willis specializes in controlling people just by looking at them.
* BerserkButton: The Prince of Wales is this to King George... regardless of his sanity or not. And when he finds out - once his wits are about him - that his worthless son had gotten ''married without permission''...
* BittersweetEnding: The King is cured and the Prince of Wales is thwarted - [[spoiler:but Greville and all the loyal retainers are sacked, Greville learns Lady Pembroke was just using him,]] and anyone who knows their history will be aware that George will have another relapse and be permanently mad by 1810, meaning his son will become Prince Regent in any case.
* {{Blackmail}}: Lord Chancellor Thurlow uses the Prince's marriage to blackmail Fox.
* BoundAndGagged: In a cruel mockery of the coronation, George III is gagged and bound to a chair when he "misbehaves." The whole treatment of King George in the hands of Francis Willis (and other doctors) is sadly [[TruthInTelevision Truth in Television]]. Obviously Willis was the first to use straightjacketing, and it made scandal at the time because it violated the person of the King. But when George went better and was declared cured Willis was acclaimed as a hero.
* TheCameo: Several performers from the Royal National's original and touring productions have bit parts, including the original Sheridan (the pig farmer) and the touring Queen Charlotte (the madwoman at Willis' farm) and Prince of Wales (the Black Rod).
* CompositeCharacter: Chunks of Sheridan's and Dundas' dialogue in the play have been reassigned to Pitt and Thurlow.
* CreatorCameo: That's author Alan Bennett as the nasal MP who starts speechifying just as George III rolls up in his coach.
* DeadpanSnarker: Fortnum; Pitt, on occasion.
* DramaticIrony: The happy ending is not, in fact, a happy ending, because George III will go mad again (permanently so by 1810).
* DysfunctionalFamily: The Prince of Wales vs. Ma and Pa.
* EmpathicEnvironment: The King's madness tracks the changing seasons.
* TheEvilPrince: The Prince of Wales, although the film does convey his understandable frustration.
* EyeTake: Pitt does this a few times, most notably when Willis confesses that he has never read Shakespeare. Sometimes combined with FascinatingEyebrow.
* GenreBlindness: Thurlow completely fails to realize that he's in ''Theatre/KingLear''. Except at the end when he ''gets it'' ("If only the messenger had moved quicker!")... and rushes to Pitt and the rest of Parliament with the good news just before the Regency bill could be passed.
* HappilyMarried: George and Charlotte, when George has his wits about him.
* HistoricalBeautyUpdate: In the film, Queen Charlotte and Lady Pembroke. William Pitt the Younger, too, although that's a matter of casting instead of the script.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Virtually the entire cast of characters, except for Captain Fitzroy.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Bennett caricatures Fox's politics in order to exaggerate his (very real, very famous) rivalry with Pitt.
* HoneyTrap: To gain access to the King, the Queen sends Lady Pembroke off to seduce [[spoiler: Captain Greville.]]
* IAmTheTrope:
-->'''George:''' I am '''THE KING OF ENGLAND!'''\\
'''Willis:''' ''No'', sir. ''YOU'' are the ''PATIENT''!
* ImpededMessenger: Both averted and [[{{Lampshade}} lampshaded]] in Thurlow's race to Parliament before the Regency bill passes.
* ItsWhatIDo: Fox calls Pitt out on being TheStoic:
-->'''Fox''': Do you enjoy all this flummery, Mr. Pitt?\\
'''Pitt''': No, Mr. Fox.\\
'''Fox''': Do you enjoy ''anything'', Mr. Pitt?\\
'''Pitt''': A balance sheet, Mr. Fox. I enjoy a good balance sheet.
* {{Jerkass}}: The Prince of Wales. He cares less about his father, his family, and the empire than his own indulgences.
* TheLancer: Lady Pembroke, to Queen Charlotte. Even when George's madness has him assaulting Pembroke in public, the Lady still proves herself loyal to Charlotte. And the Queen knows it, which is why she entrusts the Lady to [[spoiler:seduce Greville.]]
* MadLove: While mad, the King becomes obsessed with Lady Pembroke.
-->'''King''': Did we ever forget ourselves utterly, because if we did forget ourselves I would so like to remember. What, what?
* ManChild: The Prince of Wales.
* MeaningfulName: Fitzroy, a name originally given to a king's illegitimate child.
* MeddlingParents: The King and Queen keep close tabs on what their adult children are doing. Too close, as far as the Prince of Wales is concerned...
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: Of all the characters, Captain Greville is, by far, the nicest to George III; therefore, it should come as no surprise that [[spoiler: the king fires him at the end of the film and his 'relationship' with the Lady Pembroke ends and he figures out he'd been used by her to protect the King's reputation]].
* NotHimself: One of the big themes--the King returns to sanity when he begins to "seem himself."
* OhCrap:
** The Prince of Wales' response when the King shows up again, defusing the crisis.
** The prince shows an even bigger OhCrap when his father approaches him in private and says matter-of-factly "Married, sir?" See SecretRelationship below.
* PragmaticAdaptation: The politicians have much more to do in the original play. Sheridan and Dundas, for example, are actual roles, not bit parts. For the film, Bennett cut back on the politics to achieve a tighter focus on the King's madness. (Bennett actually began chopping bits and pieces out of the political plot during the play's US tour.)
* RoyallyScrewedUp: By porphyria.
* SecretRelationship: The Prince of Wales' marriage to Mrs. Fitzherbert, which has to be kept secret because [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Marriages_Act_1772 British royals can't get married without permission from the Crown]], and there's no chance in hell of permission being given in ''this'' case because Mrs. Fitzherbert is both a commoner and a devoted Catholic. (For an heir to the British throne, marrying a commoner was obviously frowned upon, and [[http://www.britroyals.com/succession.htm marrying a Catholic was actually forbidden by law between 1701 and 2013]].)
* ShoutOut: Fortnum exits to open a shop that sounds suspiciously like Fortnum & Mason. (It isn't--Fortnum & Mason opened in 1707, although the earlier Fortnum was also a royal footman.)
* ShoutOutToShakespeare: To ''Theatre/KingLear''. He uses ''Lear'' to get Thurlow aware of how it relates to what's happening to the King, and gets the side-switching minister back on his side.
* SoundtrackDissonance:
** Handel's "Zadok the Priest" (traditionally used at coronations) plays when the king is first bound to the chair.
** The king also breaks down completely during a concert devoted to Handel's music.
* TheStoic: Pitt.
* StrawmanPolitical: Republicanism (as in opposition to monarchical government, not the GOP) is the film's whipping boy.
* TakeThat: The ending was an InJoke aimed at the modern Royal Family at the time.
* TurnCoat:
** Thurlow twists and turns all over the place.
--->'''Dundas''': How long has he been hanging his hat there?\\
'''Pitt''': I don't know. But why not? He has his reputation to consider, after all. He has never been on the losing side yet. (from ''The Madness of George III'')
** Captain Fitzroy also jumps both ways, although he is more interested in the King as a ''position'' than he is in his own career.
* VerbalTic: What, what? Hey, hey! The verbal tics are a sign that George is ''normal''.
* ViewersAreMorons: NOT an example, despite what many will tell you. There is persistent rumour that the title was changed from ''The Madness of George III'' to ''The Madness of King George'' because they thought American audiences would think it was a sequel. The change was for American eyes, but the intent was merely to make it clear to a country that's never had royalty that the movie was about a king. When English audiences see a first name followed by a Roman numeral, they immediately think 'king'. Americans have no such coding. Also, George III is the single person who Americans are most likely to think of if you mention "King George", for [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution obvious reasons]].
* YouWatchTooMuchX: Pitt's anxieties about the King's likely fate prompt this response from Thurlow.
---> '''Thurlow''': You've been reading too many novels.