Anne of the Thousand Days is a movie covering the romance and marriage of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII of England, and Anne Boleyn's execution for adultery, incest and witchcraft. The story outlines Henry VIII's belief England will be not be left in good shape if his only child, his daughter Mary, inherits his throne. His wife, Catherine of Aragon, has been unable to give birth to a surviving son.
Henry, who has had a string on mistresses, meets Anne, a member of the very ambitious Howard family. He becomes fascinated with her and begins to woo her. In order to receive as many favors for herself and her family as she can, she resists sleeping with him. It works and the king decides Anne is the woman who will give him the son he needs. He decides he must marry her. As a Roman Catholic, Henry tries to divorce Catherine of Aragon through the church. When the pope refuses his request, the English king declares the country Anglican and that the king is head of the new church instead of the pope.
He marries Anne who promptly gives birth to a healthy daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I. Unfortunately, subsequent pregnancies follow the same sad pattern that ended Catherine of Aragon's marriage. Henry decides he needs another wife to give him his son and has his counselors find reasons to get rid of Anne. They create evidence that she has had sexual relationships with a musician, her brother and a few men she has socialized with.
Anne and the men who have been accused with her are arrested, tried, found guilty and sentenced to death. The outcome of the trial comes as little surprise since everyone at court knows the king wants to be free to marry again. They are executed.
Richard Burton was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Henry VIII; Genevieve Bujold was also nominated in the Best Actress category for an Oscar as Anne Boleyn. Irene Papas played the role of Catherine of Aragon. The picture won an Oscar for Best Costumes.