Timon of Athens (1981)

TV Movie  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  16 April 1981 (UK)
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Timon loves to give parties and objects to friends, but when he cannot pay his creditors, his "friends" refuse to help him, and he becomes a misanthropic hermit.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Bird ...
David Kinsey ...
John Welsh ...
Max Arthur ...
Norman Rodway ...
Geoffrey Collins ...
Terence McGinity ...
Hugh Thomas ...
James Cossins ...
Donald Gee ...


Timon loves to give parties and objects to friends, but when he cannot pay his creditors, his "friends" refuse to help him, and he becomes a misanthropic hermit.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama






Release Date:

16 April 1981 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Timon of Athens  »

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Did You Know?


Michael Bogdanov was originally hired to direct this adaptation, but he left the project when the producers refused to allow him to do the play in modern dress. He was replaced as director by producer Jonathan Miller. See more »

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User Reviews

A must for any fan of the Bard
20 May 2001 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

The history of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens is a little murky; critics speculate it was never performed in the author's lifetime, and the version that has been passed through the ages is a working draft, one the Bard tinkered on for years and eventually discarded. It is considered his weakest play.

Well, that may be, but it's still Shakespeare, which means it is still a classic. It does not have the strong storyline of Othello or the poetic depth of King Lear, but it has got a great lead character who has a very dynamic arc. And this BBC production of Timon of Athens is absolutely brilliant.

Jonathon Pryce gives an astonishing performance as Timon. He is such a little lamb at the beginning, so likeable, so naïve, and his fall is deeply moving and terribly sad. Put this performance up there with Derek Jacobi's Richard II and Laurence Olivier's Henry V. It is that good. This should be required viewing for anyone who wants to be an actor. Watching this, I never once thought, `There's Jonathon Pryce.' I thought, `Oh, poor Timon! Don't trust them! They're flatterers!'

The director and producer make some interesting (and strange) choices. Some of the dialogue is spoken out of earshot, for what seems like a long time. And the action takes place in ancient Greece, but all the characters are dressed in Elizabethan garb. I wonder: is it because they are trying to fashion something as it might have looked in Shakespeare's day? And if so, why would they do that?

That aside, there are a lot of nice directorial touches throughout, and very good work from the supporting players.

The BBC's Timon of Athens is a must for any Shakespeare fan. Watch this video!

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