MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 803 this week

Tess (1979)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  12 December 1980 (USA)
7.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 9,126 users  
Reviews: 68 user | 60 critic

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

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Live Chat with Keanu Reeves

We conducted a Live Chat with Keanu about his upcoming film John Wick.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 37 titles
created 27 Apr 2011
 
a list of 41 titles
created 14 Sep 2011
 
a list of 29 titles
created 30 Dec 2011
 
a list of 46 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 26 titles
created 9 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Tess" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Tess (1979)

Tess (1979) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Tess.
Won 3 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A political activist is convinced that her guest is a man who once tortured her for the government.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Stuart Wilson
Cul-De-Sac (1966)
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A wounded criminal and his dying partner take refuge at a beachfront castle. The owners of the castle, a meek Englishman and his willful French wife, are initially the unwilling hosts to ... See full summary »

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac, Lionel Stander
What? (1972)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young American woman (Sydne Rome) traveling through Italy finds herself in a strange Mediterranean villa where nothing seems right. Her visit becomes an absurd, decadent, oversexed ... See full summary »

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Sydne Rome, Hugh Griffith
Frantic (1988)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In a hotel room in Paris, a doctor comes out of the shower and finds that his wife has disappeared. He soon finds himself caught up in a world of intrigue, espionage, gangsters, drugs and murder.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Harrison Ford, Betty Buckley, Emmanuelle Seigner
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz
The Tenant (1976)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A bureaucrat rents a Paris apartment where he finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A noted professor and his dim-witted apprentice fall prey to their inquiring vampires, while on the trail of the ominous damsel in distress.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Jack MacGowran, Roman Polanski, Alfie Bass
Bitter Moon (1992)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

British couple Fiona and Nigel Dobson are sailing to Istanbul en route to India. They encounter a beautiful French woman, and that night Nigel meets her while dancing alone in the ship's ... See full summary »

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Hugh Grant, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigner
Macbeth (1971)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord siezes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, Martin Shaw
Repulsion (1965)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Left alone when her sister goes on vacation, a young beauty finds herself besieged on all sides by the demons of her past.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser
Oliver Twist (2005)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An adaptation of the classic Dickens tale, where an orphan meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Barney Clark, Ben Kingsley, Jeremy Swift
Venus in Fur (2013)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An actress attempts to convince a director how she's perfect for a role in his upcoming production.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric
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
Jack Stephens ...
Man in Tavern
Leigh Lawson ...
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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

12 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Egy tiszta nő  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
 »

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

As Roman Polanski was unable to travel to England because of its extradition laws with the US, Wessex had to be recreated in France, including an exact replica of Stonehenge. See more »

Goofs

At 4:21, camera shadow on Durbeyfield's back. This shadow extends entirely across the path. At 4:44, as the parson and Durbeyfield talk, the shadow is gone. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Version of Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1998) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Beautiful Film at last arrives on DVD
30 September 2004 | by (Saffron Walden Essex, UK) – See all my reviews

I don't know what's been keeping them but 'Tess' has been overdue for a DVD release for a very long time. At last it's here, and it looks gorgeous, although it hasn't been digitally cleaned up and there are a couple of scratches here and there. It's been worth the wait though, as this is possibly the most beautifully photographed film ever made.

Ever since the release of '2001: A Space Odyssey' I have been fascinated by the work of Stanley Kubrick and his cinematographer on that film, Geoffrey Unsworth. 'Tess' was Unsworth's last work; he died during the filming, and shared his Oscar for this with Ghislain Cloquet, who finished shooting, copying Unsworth's own style. The lighting is subtle and appears beautifully natural: just look at the first five minutes starting with village club dancers walking to the field, John Durbeyfield's fateful meeting with the parson, the arrival of Tess' future husband Angel Clare, with the late summer afternoon shading gradually into evening and darkness and all before we have even identified which girl is Tess. Oh, and that stunning moment when Tess finds her confessional letter to Angel has slipped under the carpet of his room unread, and her stunned realisation is underlined by the wheeling camera shot and the blinding flaring of the sun behind her head suddenly wiping all else off the screen for a moment. Wonderful.

Do yourself a favour and look up Geoffrey Unsworth on the internet movie database – the number, quality and range of films he contributed to is astonishing. By all accounts he was a lovely man too, the featurettes underline the terrific camaraderie that existed on the shoot between all the cast and crew, and it is really moving to hear their tributes and memories of Unsworth, particularly Nastassia Kinski fighting back tears as she recalls his death.

In the film, of course, Kinski is absolutely wonderful, just perfect for the role of tragic victim Tess, the 'pure woman' of Hardy's subtitle. Despite comments to the contrary I find her accent quite a commendable attempt at Dorset, having lived and worked there myself, and my wife having been born there. Some of the other accents are generalised country yokel, but Kinski has learned a pretty authentic representation of Dorset's rolling rounded vowels.

I'm also a Hardy fan, and Tess is quite possibly my favourite novel. I remain astonished that Polanski was so successful in transferring it to the screen. The featurettes make it clear the main task of literary adaptation for the screen is cutting things out, yet when I first saw the film I couldn't think of a thing that was missing. That's impossible of course, but the choice of what to film and what to leave out is almost seamless. Perhaps the only serious omission is the passage in the book where Tess feels guilt for inadvertently causing the death of the family horse in a night-time collision with the post-cart, and it is to assuage this guilt that she agrees to visit 'cousin' Alec, which is of course her great undoing. Polanski tried to cut the film to meet the expectations of distributors (and Francis Ford Coppola!) but some idea of his reluctance comes from the disclosure that he took 3 months to cut 20 minutes. I'd love to see a director's cut with that footage restored.

Finally, the background material reveals the bone-headiness of some of those involved in film distribution. The co-producer shows the film to the buyers of the two main IK distributors, and (pre-Oscars) one of them says 'This film will only show in my cinemas over my dead body.' Doesn't that remind you of Decca turning down The Beatles?


62 of 78 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
what were they harvesting? asoloway
Some resemblance of Nastassja Kinski to Ingrid Bergman ajimenezp
Kinski = addicting to look at but Flat performance!! trulinotanother
sex scene? ownerbluesky
dvd head_wizard
modern version bornwriter17
Discuss Tess (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?