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Tess (1979)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  12 December 1980 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 8,576 users  
Reviews: 68 user | 58 critic

A strong-willed young peasant girl becomes the affection of two men.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Tess (1979)

Tess (1979) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Collin ...
Tony Church ...
...
Tess (as Nastassia Kinski)
Brigid Erin Bates ...
Girl in meadow
Jeanne Biras ...
Girl in meadow
...
John Bett ...
...
Rosemary Martin ...
Geraldine Arzul ...
Child
Stephanie Treille ...
Child
Elodie Warnod ...
Child
Ben Reeks ...
Child
Leigh Lawson ...
...
Girl in henhouse
Edit

Storyline

Wessex County, England during the Victorian era. Christian values dominate what are social mores. These mores and her interactions with two men play a large part in what happens in the young life of peasant girl, the shy, innocent, proper yet proud Tess Durbeyfield. The first of these men is Alec d'Urberville. After learning from a local historian that they are really descendants of the aristocratic d'Urberville family which has died out due to lack of male heirs, Tess' parents send her to a nearby mansion where they know some d'Urbervilles actually reside. This move is in order for the family to gain some benefit from their heritage. Upon her arrival at the mansion, Tess quickly learns that the family of Tess' "cousin" Alec are not true d'Urbervilles, but rather an opportunistic lot who bought the family name in order to improve their own standing in life. Tess is pulled between what she was sent to accomplish for her family against her general disdain for Alec, who will give her ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

As timely today as the day it was written. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

12 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tess  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD) | (re-issue) | (original)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Set in England but filmed in France, as director Roman Polanski was wanted on sex-related charges in the United States and could have been extradited from England. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the final sequence, set at Stonehenge, someone's head can be seen at bottom-left. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John Durbeyfield: Good night, t'ee.
Parson Tringham: Good night, Sir John.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A return viewing.

Roman Polanksi's Tess gets better and better with age.

The mists...the sounds of footsteps on the dirt roads... the ambling horse... the elflike man that appears at the Cross in Hands, Tess' walk to her Inlaws church, The dripping water, The taking of the boots, the misplaced letter, the milk run, the puddle in the road, the dripping milk pouches, The strawberry, the blood stain, The burial, Stonehenge...Everything is beautifully shot. It lingers in the mind long after viewing. Geoffrey Unsworth's final cinematographic film. Thank you for all your beautiful work.

It is neither pretentious nor bold.

Mesmerizing! The musical composition is charging.

Nastassja Kinski's plays the title character. She reacts so well. Her beauty in a time of such oppression and depression would be an ill fate. Tess knows this fate and she wishes she was never born. She is the sacrifice of a paradigm. Victorian era was finished. Edwardian Enlightenment would soon come but not for Tess, the sacrificial pure beauty.

Thomas Hardy created a pure woman in Tess. That is why her plight is so tragic. She possesses a strong spirit that is oppressed by the male political and religious world around her.

The opening shot is well directed in the morning sunrise as fair maidens dance with one another. Tess' oversight by Angel begins this tragic tale. "As Flies to wanton boys, are we to the Gods, they kill us for their sport."

Tess, Thomas Hardy

Do not take your eyes off of it. It is beautifully told!

Victor Nunnally, BFA Dramatic and Film Theory and History, AA Performing Experience.


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