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Richard III (1983)

The Tragedy of Richard III (original title)
Richard of Gloucester uses murder and manipulation to claim England's throne.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Benson ...
Antony Brown ...
Sir Richard Ratcliffe (as Anthony Brown)
...
...
Anne Carroll ...
Paul Chapman ...
...
Rowena Cooper ...
Arthur Cox ...
Lord Grey / Lord Mayor of London
...
David Daker ...
Brian Deacon ...
Henry, Earl of Richmond / Second Citizen / First Messenger
Jeremy Dimmick ...
Tenniel Evans ...
Derek Farr ...
Sir Robert Brakenbury / Earl of Surrey
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Storyline

Richard Duke of Gloucester, youngest brother of King Edward IV, will stop at nothing to get the crown. He first convinces the ailing King that the Duke of Clarence, his elder brother, is a threat to the lives of Edward's two young sons. Edward has him imprisoned in the Tower of London; killers in Richard's pay then drown Clarence in a barrel of wine. When news of Clarence's death reaches the King, the subsequent grief and remorse bring about his death. Richard is made Lord Protector, with power to rule England while his nephew (now King Edward V) is still a minor. Before the young king's coronation he has his two nephews conveyed to the Tower, ostensibly for their safekeeping. Richard's accomplice, the Duke of Buckingham, then declares the two boys illegitimate and offers Richard the crown, which after a show of reticence he accepts. After Richard's coronation, he and Buckingham have a falling-out over whether or not to assassinate the two children. Written by Peter Brynmor Roberts

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23 January 1983 (UK)  »

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Richard III  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Somewhat controversially, the episode ended with Margaret sitting atop a pyramid of corpses (played by all of the major actors who had appeared throughout the tetralogy) cradling Richard's dead body and laughing manically, an image Edward Burns refers to as "a blasphemous pietà." Jane Howell herself referred to it as a "reverse pietà," and defended it by arguing that the tetralogy is bigger than Richard III, so to end by simply showing Richard's death and Richmond's coronation is to diminish the roles that have gone before; the vast amount of death that has preceded the end of Richard III cannot be ignored. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of English: A Muse of Fire (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Trenchant begins to describe this version...
31 October 1999 | by (Bay Area, California) – See all my reviews

I'm fairly sure that many educated and interested-in-film folk have seen the superb and terrifying McKellen version, but sadly, I'd bet hardly anyone remembers this version, which in the original was the capstone of the cycle of plays that begins with Richard II and continues through the various Henry plays (six of 'em). The series was cast as a whole, and the list of actors is a who's-who of British acting skill, culminating in this horrorshow of a play. From the opening moments, when the camera pulls back from the last frame of Henry VI, Part III to reveal a small blackboard, onto which a disembodied hand scrawls Richard III in chalk, to the final frame, where Margaret sits, cackling hysterically atop a pile of bodies (all the characters killed in the preceding eight plays), this version assaults you and tests your ability to withstand true, and intentional villainy, as personified in the demonic Richard. See this version...plague the BBC with letters asking for it to be reissued...write to the actors and shower them with adulation..whatever it takes to return this play to the public eye, where it richardly belongs. Cheers!


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