MCM: Charles II


Filmmakers can’t seem to get enough of Charles II, and frankly, that’s cool by me! Charles #2 happens to be my favorite male monarch of all time, so it’s always a treat to see him brought to life on film. And everyone seems to have a different take on him; from foppy to badass, there’s a whole range of Chazes to enjoy, whatever you may be in the mood for! So, in celebration of the 356th anniversary of his coronation on April 23, let’s revisit some of film’s most memorable renditions of England’s last true king.


Randall Ayrton in Nell Gwynn (1926)

Nell Gwynn (1926)


Allan Jeayes in Colonel Blood (1934)

Colonel Blood (1934)


Cedric Hardwicke in Nell Gwyn (1934)

Nell Gwyn (1934) Nell Gwyn (1934)


Vincent Price in Hudson’s Bay (1941)

Hudson Bay (1941)


Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in The Exile (1947)

The Exile (1947)


George Sanders in Forever Amber (1947)

Forever Amber (1947)


James Villiers in The First Churchills (1969)

The First Churchills (1969)


Michael York in The Lady and the Highwayman (1983)

The Lady and the Highwayman (1983)


Simon Callow in England, My England (1995)

Simon Callow in England, My England (1995)


Sam Neill in Restoration (1995)

Restoration (1995)


Rufus Sewell in The Last King/The Power and the Passion of Charles II (2003)

The Last King (2003)


Rupert Everett in Stage Beauty (2004)

2004 Stage Beauty


John Malkovich in The Libertine (2004)

The Libertine (2004)


Jeremy Northam in New Worlds (2014)

New Worlds (2014)


Daniel Lapaine in Versailles (2015)

Versailles (2015)


Do you have a favorite Charles II? Share him in the comments!

18 Responses

  1. Susan Pola

    James Villiers in First Churchills, Rufus Sewell & Rupert Everett are my favourites. John Malkovich did a great job, but Johnny Depp was the movie. I need to see Jeremy Northam in New Worlds (what’s it about?– The Colonies?)

  2. Rowen G.

    There was Jeremy Clyde in “By the Sword Divided” – he was in the episode “Ashes to Ashes” in the first series, and in “Restoration” at the end of the second series.

    • Rowen G.

      Correction: Jeremy Clyde played Charles I; Charles II was played by Simon Treves, who appeared only in the second series. (And neither was in the “Ashes to Ashes” episode.)

  3. Fran in NYC

    James Villiers was my first and still favorite Charles II. Caught all his facets!

  4. Susan Pola

    I still remember James Villiers’ Charles saying to James Duke of York (his brother): ‘Jamie, you have the soul of a medieval Pope.’ His Grace took it as a compliment, too.

  5. LoGirLoo

    I just love Rupert Everett as Charles. Well, with his amazing speaking voice I think I’d love him in anything, but as Charles he was just perfect. He nailed the Merry Monarch bit, but also gave him such wonderful subtle nuance and depth.

  6. Northcountrygal

    James Villiers – I cannot read about Charles II without hearing his voice in my head. It was perfect casting – right down to his height!

    • saffireblu

      This one was a bit before my time, but Rupert Everett’s only like two inches taller than the historical Charles- like Henry VIII before him, he was a giant among men (the huge Cosimo de Medici was one of his maternal ancestors), & he dwarfed almost everyone else around him- & there were only a handful of people who hit close to his height; his brother, James- who was said to be about 6 ft, or close to it (according to their Parliamentary WANTED posters, Charles was ‘over 2 yards high’ & James was ‘2 yards’) & his cousin, Rupert, who was taller, still.

  7. Karen K.

    The only one I’ve actually seen is Versailles, but Rupert Everett and Michael York are tied for best looking in my opinion.

    And I want to steal ALL THE PUPPIES.