8.0/10
209
13 user 1 critic

Richard II (1978)

King Richard the Second (original title)
The incompetent Richard II is deposed by Henry Bolingbroke and undergoes a crisis of identity once he is no longer king.

Director:

Writer:

(play)
Reviews

WAYS TO
WATCH:

See all
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Richard III (1955)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Shakespeare's powerful tale of the wicked deformed king and his conquests, both on the battlefield and in the boudoir.

Director: Laurence Olivier
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Cedric Hardwicke, Nicholas Hannen
Richard III (1995)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The classic Shakespearean play about a murderously scheming king staged in an alternative fascist England setting.

Director: Richard Loncraine
Stars: Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent
Richard III (2008)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

"Now is the winter of our discontent..." With these timeless words, Duke Richard - lounging on his sun deck - sets his murderous plans in motion. His goal: to eliminate the hated rival ... See full summary »

Director: Scott Anderson
Stars: David Carradine, Sally Kirkland, Maria Conchita Alonso
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Out of work actor Joe volunteers to help try and save his sister's local church for the community by putting on a Christmas production of Hamlet, somewhat against the advice of his agent ... See full summary »

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Michael Maloney, Richard Briers, Hetta Charnley
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (TV Movie 1980)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Hamlet suspects his uncle has murdered his father to claim the throne of Denmark and the hand of Hamlet's mother, but the prince cannot decide whether or not he should take vengeance.

Director: Rodney Bennett
Stars: Derek Jacobi, Claire Bloom, Patrick Stewart
Richard II (TV Movie 2003)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  
Stars: Andrew Marr, Razia Iqbal, Mark Rylance
The Winter's Tale (TV Movie 1981)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

King Leontes of Bohemia suspects his wife, Hermione, and his friend, Polixenes, of betraying him. When he forces Polixenes to flee for his life, Leontes sets in motion a chain of events ... See full summary »

Director: Jane Howell
Stars: John Welsh, David Burke, Robert Stephens
Henry IV Part I (TV Movie 1979)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Henry Bolingbroke has now been crowned King of England, but faces a rebellion headed by the embittered Earl of Northumberland and his son (nicknamed 'Hotspur'). Henry's son Hal, the Prince ... See full summary »

Director: David Giles
Stars: Jon Finch, David Gwillim, Rob Edwards
Richard III (2005)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Shakespeare's classic play is transferred to warring gang factions of a notorious, contemporary Brighton housing project.

Director: Maximilian Day
Stars: Matthew Beggs, Michael Bowlby, Judy Carey
Richard III (TV Movie 1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Richard of Gloucester uses murder and manipulation to claim England's throne.

Director: Jane Howell
Stars: Peter Aldwyn, Peter Benson, Brian Binns
Richard II (Video 1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Director: William Woodman
Stars: Paul Shenar, Peter MacLean, John Devlin
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Mary Morris ...
David Swift ...
Clifford Rose ...
...
Richard Owens ...
Janet Maw ...
Queen
Jeffrey Holland ...
Duke of Surrey
...
...
Damien Thomas ...
Edit

Storyline

The incompetent Richard II is deposed by Henry Bolingbroke and undergoes a crisis of identity once he is no longer king.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

28 March 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Richard II  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director David Giles shot the episode in such a way as to create a visual metaphor for Richard's position in relation to the court. Early in the production, he is constantly seen above the rest of the characters, especially at the top of stairs, but he always descends to the same level as everyone else, and often ends up below them. As the episode goes on, his positioning above characters becomes less and less frequent. See more »

Quotes

John of Gaunt: This royal throne of Kings, this scepter'd isle, this precious stone set in a silver sea; this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England!
See more »

Connections

Version of Richard Vtoroi (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Jacobi breathes life into the character
17 July 2006 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

For those who love Shakespeare's haunting poetry and the great acting of Derek Jacobi and John Gielgud, the BBC performance of 1978 of Richard II is highly recommended. The production, now available on DVD with optional subtitles, features Jacobi as King Richard and Gielgud as John of Gaunt. Like King John and Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard II is written in verse and is perhaps best known for the patriotic speech magnificently delivered by John of Gaunt (Gielgud) prior to his death, a speech that repeats the word "this" 17 times, "This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden", and so forth. Although Jacobi was about ten years older than the 31-year old monarch, he breathes life into the character of Richard, both as a proud and often despotic king and later as a contrite poet-philosopher and royal martyr. Appearing aloof with his high collar, he nonetheless never relinquishes his dignity, though, in this production, his light apparel makes him look weak compared to the darkly clad Bolingbroke (Jon Finch).

The play is the first of four histories involving the rise of Harry Bolingbroke into King Henry IV (parts I & II) and then his son, Prince Hal, into Henry V. Unfortunately it is noted more for its role in the Essex Rebellion than for its dramatic merits, which are considerable. For those unfamiliar with the Essex affair, In 1601, the Earl of Essex, on the eve of an attempted coup against Queen Elizabeth and/or Robert Cecil, is alleged to have sponsored a performance of Richard II by the Lord Chamberlain's Men at the Globe Theater, a play whose theme is the usurpation of legitimate royal power. The next day he led a band of 300 followers into London shouting "Murder, murder, God Save the Queen". The populace failed to rally behind him and he was tried and executed for treason. While it remains uncertain as to whether or not the evidence against Essex relating to the play was manufactured, it was used against him successfully by the prosecution during the trial.

On first glance, it is hard to see why the performance of the play should have carried so much weight. Though Richard II dramatizes the deposition of a sitting monarch, (Richard II by Henry Bolingbroke a.k.a. Henry IV), it does not take a stand on the merits of the issue of divine right versus deposition and, arguably, presents Richard as a more sympathetic, even heroic figure than the calculating Bolingbroke. On the other hand, in a conversation with the keeper of the Tower records, Elizabeth is known to have said, "I am Richard II, know ye not that?" The uncertainty about succession and the existence of factions supporting alternative candidates made her uneasy about its subject matter and the abdication scene was absent in all editions published during her lifetime To fully understand the play requires some knowledge of the historical events leading up to the start of the work. Richard II of the York line of kings acceded to the throne when he was only ten years old and reigned from 1377 to 1399. Though he was under the protection of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, a power struggle ensued to control the young monarch that left a lifelong impression on the young king. Included in the group of nobles that became known as the Lords Apellant, were Gaunt's brother Thomas Woodstock, the Earl of Gloucester, Lancaster's son, Henry Bolingbroke, the Duke of Hereford, and Thomas Mowbray, the Duke of Norfolk.

As Richard reached adulthood he turned to his inner circle for support, including his favorite, the disreputable Robert De Vere, the 9th Earl of Oxford (curiously not mentioned in either Woodstock or Richard II) and isolated the established nobles even though he had just concluded a settlement with them. Woodstock was imprisoned and mysteriously murdered, the first Lancastrian casualty in the Wars of the Roses. Both Bolingbroke and Mowbray, concerned that they were next in line for the gallows, turned against each other, Bolingbroke accusing Mowbray of the murder of Woodstock and Mowbray accusing Bolingroke of slander.

Shakespeare's play begins with both men stating their case in the presence of King Richard. After both sides have their say, Richard calls for Bolingbroke and Mowbray (Richard Owens) to resolve their differences in a duel. After the ceremony commences, however, Richard suddenly cancels the event and banishes Mowbray for life and Bolingbroke for ten years, a sentence that was reduced to six years. Meanwhile Richard wages war in Ireland to counter the threat of Owen Glendower. To support his Irish campaign, after the death of John of Gaunt, he appropriates all of his rightful land and property.

Supported by Northumberland (Charles Gray), Bolingbroke, in exile, gathers an army to reclaim his inheritance and Richard goes to meet him. He believes God is on his side, yet, lacking popular support because of his heavy taxation, he acquiesces meekly after contemplating the consequences of prolonged bloodshed, and escorts Bolingbroke to London. After Richard's adversaries accuse him of high crimes, he signs a confession and yields the throne. Henry orders him confined to the Tower of London, then announces his own coronation as Henry IV. Though King Richard's abdication actually took place before only a handful of Lords in the Tower, Shakespeare embellishes it by adding imaginary soliloquies full of lyrical Hamlet-like reflection.

Though nominally a history play, Richard II is more about character than history and could easily be considered a tragedy. Richard is no doubt a flawed, even perhaps psychologically disturbed character, yet his final speeches reveal his growing self-awareness and leave the audience wondering if the War of the Roses could have been prevented if he had remained in power.


6 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
UK Library hire £1 a month + play at the Old Vic London FlorenceLawrence
This is the one. knightofnih
Discuss Richard II (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?