8.0/10
224
14 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

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
Henry IV Part II (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 (TV Movie 1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

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

Director: Jane Howell
Stars: Peter Benson, Antony Brown, David Burke
Henry V (TV Movie 1979)
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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

Director: David Giles
Stars: John Abineri, Robert Ashby, Trevor Baxter
Romeo & Juliet (TV Movie 1978)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two teenagers fall in love, but their feuding families and fate itself cause the relationship to end in tragedy.

Director: Alvin Rakoff
Stars: Patrick Ryecart, Rebecca Saire, Celia Johnson
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
Othello (TV Movie 1981)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A general becomes convinced that his wife is having an affair, even though there is no evidence.

Director: Jonathan Miller
Stars: Anthony Pedley, Bob Hoskins, Geoffrey Chater
Richard II (TV Movie 2003)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
Stars: Andrew Marr, Razia Iqbal, Mark Rylance
Julius Caesar (TV Movie 1979)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The assassination of the would be ruler of Rome at the hands of Brutus and company has tragic consequences for Brutus and the republic.

Director: Herbert Wise
Stars: Richard Pasco, Charles Gray, Keith Michell
Macbeth (TV Movie 1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Macbeth and his wife murder Duncan in order to gain his crown, but the bloodbath doesn't stop there, and things supernatural combine to bring the Macbeths down.

Director: Jack Gold
Stars: Brenda Bruce, Eileen Way, Anne Dyson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Following his father's early death and the loss of possessions in France young Henry VI comes to the throne, under the protection of the duke of Gloucester. He is unaware that there are ... See full summary »

Director: Jane Howell
Stars: John Benfield, Peter Benson, Antony Brown
The Taming of the Shrew (TV Movie 1980)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The swaggering Petruchio agrees to marry the spitting hellcat, Katherine.

Director: Jonathan Miller
Stars: Simon Chandler, Anthony Pedley, John Franklyn-Robbins
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
David Swift ...
...
...
...
Janet Maw ...
Queen
Jeffrey Holland ...
...
...
...
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

An interpretative move by David Giles which was especially well received by critics was his division of Richard's lengthy prison cell soliloquy up into a number of sections, which fade from one to another, suggesting a passage of time, and an ongoing slowly developing thought process. See more »

Quotes

Richard II: Mine ear is open and my heart prepared.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Excellent, but for the hole in the center
5 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

Richard II is the setup for the cycle of history plays, and as such devotes much time to explication. So it can be a little dry compared with some other Shakespeare, and so it is here.

The cast is almost uniformly excellent. Jon Finch is a sturdy Bolingbroke, and Sir John Gielgud is memorable, speaking John of Gaunt's "This England" speech as if no one had ever spoken it before.

Charles Gray, usually a "damn-the-torpedos" scene stealer, here defers magnificently to Dame Wendy Hiller. When the two plead on their knees simultaneously for and against a royal pardon of their son, they teeter sublimely on the razor's edge of urgent melodrama and marital farce - an exquisite and very difficult moment.

The problem for me is a very intelligent, much praised performer who fails in the title role. Derek Jacobi often makes wise choices as he prepares and analyzes the text. Then he commits the actor's unpardonable sin of monitoring his own performance while delivering it. He winds up admiring his own work while doing it, which in serious drama is disgusting.

It is also a truism among actors that either the actor cries or the audience cries, but never both. Unfortunately Mr. Jacobi cries so much there's no reason for us to join in; he sheds enough tears for all of us, and we just sit and stare.

The other odd thing about Mr. Jacobi's delivery is his total lack of velocity. It doesn't matter whether he speaks quickly or slowly, loudly or softly, there's no movement, no snap, no impetus, no forward motion. Everything emerges from a thick, suet-y, pudding-like stillness, and he never actually manages to get from point A to point B - compare with Gielgud's performance in the same play, where the older man has lost his long breath, but manages to gallop nonetheless.

The BBC videos of Shakespeare's comedies and romances have much more engaging production design than the histories, but what we see here is perfectly adequate, if not arresting.

The all-important pacing is uneven, except for the scene of the handing over of the crown, which grinds to a dead halt. This last should have been tightened in the editing. Overall, tedium is not avoided, it's embraced.

So if you really think that Derek Jacobi is a great Shakespearian actor, don't mind me, just plunge right in without hesitation.

I personally would rather get my hands on a copy of the Shakespeare Recording Society version from the 1960's, starring Sir John Gielgud as Richard II with Michael Hordern, Leo McKern and Keith Michell; this is available on audio cassette in the UK and on CD nowhere, and that's a scandal HarperCollins should address.


6 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?