The Beggar's Opera (1953)

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Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

When the composer of an opera about a swashbuckling, wenching highwayman meets his hero's real life counterpart he's disappointed with his lack of dash.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
George Rose ...
1st Turnkey
Stuart Burge ...
1st Prisoner
Cyril Conway ...
2nd Prisoner
Gerald Lawson ...
3rd Prisoner
Dorothy Tutin ...
George Devine ...
Mary Clare ...
Edward Pryor ...
Athene Seyler ...
Daphne Anderson ...
Inn Keeper


Authentic rendering of John Gay's 18th century musical, filmed in Technicolor, about Captain MacHeath, a highwayman, and his love for too many beautiful women. Betrayed by Jenny and Sukey, two of his bygone lovers, and temporarily freed by two others, MacHeath is arrested and condemned to death. While waiting to be hanged, the captain is entertained by a musical beggar, who has written an opera of which the highwayman is the hero. Written by Mike Rogers <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | History | Musical


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Release Date:

5 October 1953 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

L'opéra des gueux  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A J. Arthur Rank British screen adaptation, to star Deanna Durbin, and to be produced by Michael Balcon, was briefly considered in 1947. See more »


Captain MacHeath: Dolly Trull!
Dolly Trull: Dear Captain, I never thought you'd have the imudence to remember me.
Captain MacHeath: Kiss me, you slut!
[They kiss]
Captain MacHeath: Are you as amorous as ever? I bid you're always so taken up with stealing hearts you don't allow yourself time to steal anything else.
See more »


Version of Three Penny Opera (1963) See more »


Let Us Take To The Road
Sung by the Chorus of Highwaymen
See more »

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User Reviews

A thoroughly delightful spoof of movie musicals.
24 November 1998 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

John Gay's original Beggar's Opera was a spoof of the high-blown operas of his day. The Olivier film is a spoof of--movie musicals! Sir Laurence sings on horseback; people burst into arias at the worst possible time. The plot goes from the absurd to the absurd. However, if the viewer tries to see it "straight," she will be confused and put off. I don't know why this delightful film is not available on laserdisc or even videotape. Someone should dig it out of the vault and re-introduce it to the world.

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