As the nation mourns Queen Elizabeth II and television is dominated by rolling news, you might be looking for a movie to distract you from the sombre TV and radio output.
The Queen has appeared in many different movies over the years, portrayed by a number of difference actors, often with reverence, sometimes not quite so much, so there’s a lot to choose from.
If you’re looking for a Royal movie to enjoy this weekend, you couldn’t really go wrong with any of these.
The Queen (2006)
Very few movies have been made with Queen Elizabeth as the main character, but one notable exception is Stephen Frear’s 2006 film The Queen, starring Dame Helen Mirren in the lead. The film focusses on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and whether the monarch would return to London from Balmoral to pay tribute amid growing public pressure.
Dame Helen, who won an Oscar and Bafta for her portrayal, revealed she sent a letter to the Queen while shooting the movie as she quickly realised she was dealing with a sensitive moment in her life.
The Queen is streaming on Disney+ and Netflix.
A Royal Night Out (2015)
Another film that centred on the Queen herself was 2015’s A Royal Night Out with Canadian actor Sarah Gadon playing Princess Elizabeth before she took to the throne.
Set on VE Day in 1945, young Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret are sent out from the palace to enjoy the celebrations in the capital, incognito, giving them both a taste of freedom outside of their national duties. Although it stretches the reality of what really happened, it’s based on real events and is a bright and breezy watch.
A Royal Night Out is available to rent on VOD.
The King’s Speech (2010)
Young Elizabeth (Freya Wilson) only makes a fleeting appearance in Tom Hopper’s Best Picture winning The King’s Speech, but it’s a memorable one. The film tells the story of the future King George VI (Colin Firth), the Queen’s late father, who works to overcome a stammer by seeing a speech and language therapist.
Read more: Paddington’s perfect tribute to the Queen
Elizabeth and Margaret are seen living a carefree existence before their father is thrust into the limelight, and the film serves as a timely reminder of the intense pressure put on our heads of state.
The King’s Speech is streaming on Disney+ and Prime Video.
The BFG (1989 & 2016)
The Queen plays a central role in both movie adaptations of Roald Dahl’s fantasy film The BFG. Voiced by Angela Thorne in the ITV’s feature-length animated adaptation, and portrayed by Penelope Wilton in Steven Spielberg’s live action version, the Big Friendly Giant and Sophie call upon HRH to to help fight the impending threat of the less friendly giants that are gobbling up children around the world.
It’s a fun, playful version of the Queen who even indulges in some regal ‘whizzpopping’ much to the amusement of her corgis in the 2016 adaptation.
The BFG (2016) is streaming on Netflix.
Although it doesn’t portray the Royals in the most sympathetic of lights Pablo Larrain’s 2021 movie, which stars Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, is still a revealing look at the mundanity of life inside the Firm that takes place behind closed doors.
Played by Stella Gonet, the Queen is a distant but powerful presence as the family gathers at Sandringham for Christmas in 1991.
Spencer is streaming on Prime Video.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
As the head of state, Queen Elizabeth II has been 007’s unseen big boss in every Bond movie over the last 60 years. But aside from her 2012 Olympics skit with Daniel Craig, Queen Elizabeth II’s most overt appearance in a Bond movie came — fittingly — in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
In a pique of anger at being taken off his latest mission, George Lazenby’s Bond is clearing out his desk when he turns to a portrait of the Queen hanging behind his desk, and toasts her with a hip flask saying ‘Sorry, ma’am’.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is available to rent on VOD.
The Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad! (1988)
Leslie Nielsen’s slapstick farce, from the people behind Airplane!, takes great delight in putting the Queen into ridiculous situations. Nielsen’s Frank Drebin finds himself put on security detail for the Queen’s visit to LA, and one memorable scene sees Drebin rugby tackling HRH (played by long-time Queen impersonator Jeanette Charles) at a glitzy reception trying to save her life.
They slide down a huge table, coming to rest atop one another, with their photo appearing on the front page of next day’s papers. It’s not the most reverential screen portrayals of the Queen, but it is all done in good taste.
The Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad! is streaming on Netflix, NOW with a Sky Cinema Membership, and Paramount+.
Watch: Looking back at the Queen’s most memorable pop culture moments