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The Best Royalty Movies and TV Shows on The Criterion Channel

Finding a good Royalty movie and TV show to watch can be hard, so we've ranked the best ones and included where to watch them. Check out our list of the best Royalty movies and TV shows of all time streaming on The Criterion Channel.

VIEW: best
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1. The Last Emperor

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.7/10
Reelgood Logo
76/100
Released: 1987Rated: PG-13
Biography, Drama

What it's about: A dramatic history of Pu Yi, the last of the Emperors of China, from his lofty birth and brief reign in the Forbidden City, the object of worship by half a billion people; through his abdication, his decline and dissolute lifestyle; his exploitation by the invading Japanese, and finally to his obscure existence as just another peasant worker in the People's Republic.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 3 services (iTunes, Prime Video & Vudu).

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2. Throne of Blood

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.1/10
Reelgood Logo
74/100
Released: 1957
Action & Adventure, Drama

What it's about: Returning to their lord's castle, samurai warriors Washizu and Miki are waylaid by a spirit who predicts their futures. When the first part of the spirit's prophecy comes true, Washizu's scheming wife, Asaji, presses him to speed up the rest of the spirit's prophecy by murdering his lord and usurping his place. Director Akira Kurosawa's resetting of William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" in feudal Japan is one of his most acclaimed films.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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3. Ivan the Terrible, Part II: The Boyars' Plot

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
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63/100
Released: 1958
Biography, Drama

What it's about: This is the second part of a projected three-part epic biopic of Russian Czar Ivan Grozny, undertaken by Soviet film-maker Sergei Eisenstein at the behest of Josef Stalin. Production of the epic was stopped before the third part could be filmed, due to producer dissatisfaction with Eisenstein's introducing forbidden experimental filming techniques into the material, more evident in this part than the first part. As it was, this second part was banned from showings until after the deaths of both Eisenstein and Stalin, and a change of attitude by the subsequent heads of the Soviet government. In this part, as Ivan the Terrible attempts to consolidate his power by establishing a personal army, his political rivals, the Russian boyars, plot to assassinate him.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & FilmBox).

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4. The Fountain

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
Reelgood Logo
77/100
Released: 2006Rated: PG-13
Romance, Drama

What it's about: Spanning over one thousand years, and three parallel stories, The Fountain is a story of love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of our existence in this world.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Tubi), stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 6 services (iTunes, Google Play & 4 others).

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5. The Man Who Would Be King

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.8/10
Reelgood Logo
72/100
Released: 1975Rated: PG
Action & Adventure, Drama

What it's about: A robust adventure about two British adventurers who take over primitive Kafiristan as "godlike" rulers, meeting a tragic end through their desire for a native girl. Based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 6 services (iTunes, Google Play & 4 others).

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6. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.1/10
Reelgood Logo
69/100
Released: 1943
Romance, Drama

What it's about: General Candy, who's overseeing an English squad in 1943, is a veteran leader who doesn't have the respect of the men he's training and is considered out-of-touch with what's needed to win the war. But it wasn't always this way. Flashing back to his early career in the Boer War and World War I, we see a dashing young officer whose life has been shaped by three different women, and by a lasting friendship with a German soldier.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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7. Richard III

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.4/10
Reelgood Logo
62/100
Released: 1955
Drama

What it's about: Having helped his brother King Edward IV take the throne of England, the jealous hunchback Richard, Duke of York, plots to seize power for himself. Masterfully deceiving and plotting against nearly everyone in the royal court, including his eventual wife, Lady Anne, and his brother George, Duke of Clarence, Richard orchestrates a bloody rise to power before finding all his gains jeopardized by those he betrayed.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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8. Henry V

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Reelgood Logo
61/100
Released: 1944
Drama

What it's about: In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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9. Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
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60/100
Released: 1964
Fantasy, Science-Fiction

What it's about: A meteor lands in Kurobe Valley as detective Shindo is assigned to protect Princess Salno from assassination. She emerges under the guise of a Venusian prophetess and catches the attention of journalist Naoko and Mothra's fairies by predicting a powerful space monster's arrival. The infant Mothra must convince Godzilla and Rodan to set aside their hatred of humanity or face the monster alone.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (iTunes).

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10. The Private Life of Henry VIII

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
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59/100
Released: 1933
Comedy, Drama

What it's about: Renowned for his excess, King Henry VIII goes through a series of wives during his rule. With Anne Boleyn, his second wife, executed on charges of treason, King Henry weds maid Jane Seymour, but that marriage also ends in tragedy. Not one to be single for long, the king picks German-born Anne of Cleves as his bride, but their union lasts only months before an annulment is granted, and King Henry continues his string of spouses.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Tubi, PlutoTV & The Roku Channel), stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, Paramount+, Epix & 4 others), stream on a popular TV everywhere service (Epix) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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11. The Four Feathers

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
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62/100
Released: 1939
Action & Adventure

What it's about: A disgraced officer risks his life to help his childhood friends in battle.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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12. Donkey Skin

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
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76/100
Released: 1970
Fantasy, Musical

What it's about: A fairy godmother helps a princess disguise herself so she won't have to marry her father.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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13. Water

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.1/10
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54/100
Released: 1985Rated: PG-13
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: A British diplomat to a West Indian island nation finds his idyllic existence thrown into chaos when a large American drilling company finds a huge source of natural mineral water there.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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14. A King in New York

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Reelgood Logo
60/100
Released: 1957Rated: G
Comedy, Drama

What it's about: Due to a revolution in his country, King Shahdov comes to New York—almost broke. To get some money, he makes TV commercials, where he meets a child who has communist parents. Because of this meeting, he's immediately suspected of being a communist—and gets caught up in the McCarthy's hearings.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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15. The Adventures of Prince Achmed

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.8/10
Reelgood Logo
61/100
Released: 1926
Action & Adventure, Animation

What it's about: Based on stories from "The Arabian Nights". A wicked sorcerer tricks Prince Achmed into riding a magical flying horse. The heroic prince is able to subdue the magical horse, which he uses to fly off to many adventures. While travelling, he falls in love with the beautiful Princess Peri Banu, and must defeat an army of demons to win her heart. The film is animated using the silhouette technique.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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16. Princess Yang Kwei Fei

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
Reelgood Logo
57/100
Released: 1955
Romance, Drama

What it's about: In eighth century China, the Emperor is grieving over the death of his wife. The Yang family wants to provide the Emperor with a consort so that they may consolidate their influence over the court. General An Lushan finds a distant relative working in their kitchen whom they groom to present to the Emperor. The Emperor falls in love with her and she becomes the Princess Yang Kwei-fei. The Yangs are then appointed important ministers, though An Lushan is not given the court position he covets. The ministers misuse their power so much that there is a popular revolt against all the Yangs, fueled by An Lushan.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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17. A Royal Scandal

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.7/10
Reelgood Logo
50/100
Released: 1945
Comedy, Drama

What it's about: Catherine the Great falls in love with an army officer who is plotting against her.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (BritBox & The Criterion Channel).

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18. The Prisoner of Zenda

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Reelgood Logo
55/100
Released: 1952
Drama, Action & Adventure

What it's about: King Rudolf V of Ruritania is suddenly abducted just days before his coronation is to take place. The king's evil brother, Prince Rupert, is behind the kidnapping plot and plans to seize the throne for himself. As the king's supporters try to find him, they stumble upon Rudolf Rassendyl, an identical distant cousin who can pose as the betrayed ruler. The plan works well until the king's fiancée, Princess Flavia, suspects foul play.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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19. The Pearls of the Crown

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Reelgood Logo
68/100
Released: 1937
History, Comedy

What it's about: The story of the seven pearls of the English Crown, from Henry VIII to 1937; three of them missing.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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20. His Royal Slyness

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.3/10
Reelgood Logo
45/100
Released: 1920
Drama, Comedy

What it's about: A young adventurer trades places with a European prince and falls in love above his station.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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21. The Rise of Catherine the Great

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.4/10
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46/100
Released: 1934
Romance, Drama

What it's about: The woman who will become Catherine the Great marries into the Russian royal family when she weds Grand Duke Peter, the nephew of Empress Elizabeth. Although the couple has moments of contentment, Peter's cruel and erratic behavior causes a rift between him and Catherine. Mere months after Peter succeeds his aunt as the ruler of Russia, a revolt is brewing, and Catherine is poised to ascend to the throne as the country's new empress.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & 2 others).

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22. The Drum

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.4/10
Reelgood Logo
44/100
Released: 1938
Action & Adventure

What it's about: Set in the India of the British Raj, the evil and untrustworthy Prince Guhl (Raymond Massey) plans to wipe out the British troops as they enjoy the hospitality of Guhl's spacious palace. It's up to the loyal young Prince Azim (Sabu) to warn the troops of Guhl's treachery by tapping out a message on his drum.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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