Pericles, Prince of Tyre (1984)

TV Movie  |   |  8 December 1984 (UK)
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When Pericles discovers the dread answer to Antioch's riddle, he flees for his life straight into famine, shipwreck, love, fatherhood, and another shipwreck; he loses his wife and daughter,... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Petherbridge ...
Mike Gwilym ...
Robert Ashby ...
Thaliard, Fifth Knight
John Bardon ...
Lord of Tyre, Fisherman of Pentapolis, Storm Sailor
Peter Gordon ...
Lord of Tyre, Pirate
Iain Mitchell ...
Lord of Tyre, Pirate
Toby Salaman ...
Escanes, Pandar
Norman Rodway ...
Cleon of Tarsus
Christopher Saul ...
Lord of Tarsus, Fourth Knight
Gordon Gostelow ...
Fisherman of Pentapolis
Richard Derrington ...
Fisherman of Pentapolis, Gentleman of Ephesus


When Pericles discovers the dread answer to Antioch's riddle, he flees for his life straight into famine, shipwreck, love, fatherhood, and another shipwreck; he loses his wife and daughter, and doesn't find them again until the story moves us through resurrection, attempted murder, pirates, prostitution, and divine revelation. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

8 December 1984 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Pericles, Prince of Tyre  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

A Disappointment
9 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

This play is a sprawling epic, with just about every plot device in the writer's manual to justify a thick paperback for airplane or beach reading, or an overheated TV miniseries - lovers parted for over a decade, storms at sea, multiple shipwrecks, a virgin menaced in a whorehouse, a homicidal step-mother, a contract killing, characters who return from the dead, a kidnapping by pirates, incest, portentous dream figures, chaste priestesses and goodness knows what else.

What you don't want is for all this voluptuous over-plotting to get bogged down. And that's precisely what happens here.

It's possible the text could have withstood another round of pruning. It's certain that what is performed here would have benefited from a stronger sense of pace.

The actors themselves are almost uniformly excellent. Amanda Redman as Miranda is superlative, and Juliet Stevenson as Thaisa surprises with a soft, romantic radiance absent from her later gallery of grotesque comic roles (and she dances sexy, too). The supporting cast does not disappoint.

Don Taylor's production design is quite striking, and Martin Best's musical score is among the best in the series.

The villains, however, are three. Mike Gwilym who normally recites Shakespeare about as well as anybody, and excels as Berowne in "Love's Labour's Lost" and Aufidius in "Coriolanus," fumbles this assignment. His Pericles is small, self-involved, under-energized and under-vocalized. Often his voice extends no further than the tip of his nose, and even in tight closeup, we need more.

Likewise Edward Petherbridge, memorable for his Newman Noggs in "Nicholas Nickleby," is downright annoying as a lethargic Gower, who materializes periodically to offer leaden apologies for the length of the story (in a most peculiar accent), and hints at all the stuff that got left out, for which we are truly thankful, amen. This Chorus figure does not energize the audience, but narcotizes it further.

I am inclined to blame the faults of these first two miscreants on the third, the director, David Hugh Jones. There is no discernible shape or pulse here at all, and the result is a lumpy, endless mess. With this overabundance of raw material, one wants a firm directorial hand and a vigorous sense of story-telling, and one doesn't get them.

It looks great, sounds good, and may even produce a tear at the final fadeout, Shakespeare being Shakespeare, but it is not a performance. That's a shame, because when will we see somebody else take a shot at it on TV?

13 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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