IMDb > The Tragedy of Coriolanus (1984) (TV)

The Tragedy of Coriolanus (1984) (TV) More at IMDbPro »


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Release Date:
21 April 1984 (UK) See more »
User Reviews:
Just Good. See more (6 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Paul Jesson ... First Citizen
Ray Roberts ... Second Citizen

Leon Lissek ... Third Citizen
Jon Rumney ... Fourth Citizen

Russell Kilmister ... Fifth Citizen

Joss Ackland ... Menenius

Alan Howard ... Caius Marcius (Coriolanus)

Patrick Godfrey ... Cominius

John Rowe ... First Roman Senator

Peter Sands ... Titus Lartius
John Burgess ... Sicinius
Anthony Pedley ... Junius Brutus
Mike Gwilym ... Aufidius
Valentine Dyall ... Adrian
Brian Poyser ... First Volscian Senator
Reginald Jessup ... Second Volscian Senator
Irene Worth ... Volumnia
Joanna McCallum ... Virgilia
Patsy Smart ... Gentlewoman
Heather Canning ... Valeria
Jay Ruparelia ... Roman Soldier
Damien Franklin ... Young Marcius

Nicholas Amer ... Aedile (as Nicolas Amer)

Teddy Kempner ... Nicanor
Stephen Finlay ... Citizen of Antium

Directed by
Elijah Moshinsky 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
William Shakespeare  play

Produced by
Shaun Sutton .... producer
Original Music by
Stephen Oliver 
Cinematography by
Garth Tucker (uncredited)
Film Editing by
Graham Taylor 
Production Design by
Dick Coles 
Costume Design by
Michael Burdle 
Makeup Department
Kezia De Winne .... makeup artist
Sound Department
Derek Miller-Timmins .... sound
Malcolm Ranson .... fights
Camera and Electrical Department
John Summers .... lighting technician
Other crew
Eleanor Fazan .... movement coordinator
David Snodin .... script editor
John Wilders .... literary consultant
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: The Tragedy of Coriolanus" - USA (video title)
See more »
145 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The production design of Rome in this episode was very specific; everywhere except the Senate was to be small and cramped. The idea behind this design choice was to reflect Coriolanus' mindset. He dislikes the notion of the people gathering together for anything, and on such a cramped set, because the alleys and streets are so small, it only takes a few people to make them look dangerously crowded.See more »
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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Just Good., 2 September 2006
Author: tonstant viewer

Coriolanus is the most problematic of Shakespeare's tragedies.

Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and Lear keep us posted as to their internal states in extended soliloquies. However, Coriolanus is a proud soldier who loves his mother and is totally useless in any other context. What goes on inside his head is either shallow, wrong or just plain uncommunicative. As a result, it is much more difficult than usual to understand what is happening, and to evaluate our own response to it.

Alan Howard brings his verbal precision and ready sneer to the difficult title part. No one's lip curls downwards more eagerly than his, but you may get confused as to how you feel about the progress of his downfall. Irene Worth works well with the camera in making her presence count as his mother, Volumnia.

The rest of the cast boasts some real vocal splendor - Joss Ackland, Anthony Pedley, Valentine Dyall all rumble away magnificently, and the normally resonant Leon Lissek dries his voice out for contrast (unlike, say, his performance in "Shogun.")

Mike Gwilym is perhaps a little too young for Coriolanus's arch-enemy Aufidias, but he acquits himself well enough. The homoerotic element of the Coriolanus-Aufidias relationship is fully justified by the text, but exactly how explicitly it should be shown is a subject for endless debate. It is worth pointing out, however, that the final chorus of "Kill! Kill! Kill!" is here reduced to a duet, with the crowd silent and only the two of them shouting in a kind of macho Liebestod.

The real problem with this video is a word beginning with "C," but it's not Coriolanus, it's Caravaggio. Director Elijah Moshinsky's key to the whole production is Caravaggio's paintings, much as Vermeer is to his "All's Well That Ends Well." Unfortunately, the melodramatic ripeness of Caravaggio's lighting seem not to blend well with the conceptual austerity of most of the conflicts in the text. So two artistic experiences play out simultaneously in parallel, but according to more than one viewer, the twain never meet.

"Coriolanus" is, among other things, a play about class. Unfortunately, the costumes of the period chosen here do not always indicate instantly the class of the wearer, and in the prevailing gloom, wholly black costumes don't always register. We shouldn't have to decode these things - they should be obvious and unobtrusive.

The editing is also a problem. Under the director's supervision, scenes often end abruptly and cut directly to the next, producing not the desired impression of speed, but irritation in the viewer. Sometimes we are staring at a reaction shot, when the reaction is not at all informative and we'd be better off watching the face of the speaker.

Perhaps part of the cause is the compressed production schedule, but some editorial rhythms seem clumsy, and that's not characteristic of the BBC's house style - occasionally somnolent, perhaps, but never clumsy.

In sum, the production is not bad, but does not make the case for bringing the play out of obscurity as Shakespeare's least honored tragedy. Mr. T. S. Eliot insisted that "Coriolanus" is a better play than "Hamlet." This video does nothing to force us to agree with him.

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