Legend of Suriyothai, The (2003) - Synopsis
A story of intrigue, romance and war set in a dramatic period of Thailand's history, "The Legend of Suriyothai" is based on actual events in 16th century Thailand. “The Legend of Suriyothai” begins during a peaceful era, but forces from both outside (Thailand's neighbor Burma to the north) and within, conspires to test the strength of the nation. Filmed at spectacular locations throughout Thailand, with a true cast of thousands, this Cecil B. DeMille-sized epic chronicles the life of Suriyothai, a beautiful young princess, who must choose between marrying her true love, a gallant young warrior named Piren, or doing her duty to wed Prince Tien, the son of the "second king," in a marriage arranged by their two very powerful families.
As the story unfolds, the Thai kingdom of Ayuthaya is enjoying a period of peace and prosperity, but the country's stability will be threatened by corruption and civil war. Colossal battle scenes with archers atop elephants, bare-breasted amazon fighters armed with spears, and invading Burmese legions firing cannons, are photographed on a scale not seen in the cinema for decades. Written and directed by Chatri Chalerm Yukol, a prince in the Thai royal family, the film was made with the support of Thailand's Queen Sirikit. Palace intrigues and deceptions abound, with memorable characters and plot twists: one king who takes the throne in a coup d'etat is then deceived by his beautiful new wife, a former high courtesan named Srisudachan. She plots her husband's downfall, pushing her lover Worawongsa to usurp the throne, and to restore her clan, the U-Thong in its claim to power.
A band of loyalists joins Princess Suriyothai to assassinate the pretenders Srisudachan and Worawongsa, and to restore the monarchy in a daring sneak attack. Tien leaves the priesthood to become king, and to reunify Thailand. In a dramatic finale to the film, the Burmese invade Ayuthaya. Queen Suriyothai heroically rides an elephant into battle and dies in a valiant effort to save both her country and her husband's life. The life of Suriyothai has become a legend.