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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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Trivia

This episode was filmed on the same set as the three Henry VI plays. However, designer Oliver Bayldon altered the set so it would appear to be a ruin, as England reached its lowest point of chaos. In the same vein, the costumes became more and more monotone as the four plays went on; The First Part of King Henry VI (1983) features brightly coloured costumes which clearly distinguish the various combatants from one another, but by this point, everyone fights in similarly coloured dark costumes, with little to differentiate one army from another. See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

Superb, non-hammy working of the tale
4 May 2002 | by (Manchester UK) – See all my reviews

In 1982, the BBC, in their undertaking to produce all of Shakespeare's plays, assembled a company of actors which would take us, in one logical arc, from Henry VI part one right through to Richard III. This is notable in that through all four plays, the principal actors keep their roles (although smaller roles are also undertaken). This gives an unparalleled clarity to the events as you see the chaste Margaret descend to Machiavellian plotting to destroy challengers to her grip on power, and then her downfall as Edward and then Richard take power. It is fitting that she, in a horrific scene at the end of this play, is seen atop a mound of dead. This was, after all, her legacy.

In a simple, but effective, set, with authentic costumes and asides taken directly to camera, this brings your closer to Shakespeare's work than much of the praised films and productions in the past.

If you found Olivier's version just too hammy to bear..... try this one.


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