An aging King invites disaster when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters and rejects his one loving, but honest one.

Director:

Writer:

(play)
Reviews

WAYS TO
WATCH:

See all
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Richard III (1955)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Shakespeare's powerful tale of the wicked deformed king and his conquests, both on the battlefield and in the boudoir.

Director: Laurence Olivier
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Cedric Hardwicke, Nicholas Hannen
The Merchant of Venice (TV Movie 1973)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Antonio's friend Bassanio is in love and needs money to go courting. Using Antonio as his collateral, he borrows money from Shylock. But when the debt comes due, Shylock demands repayment ... See full summary »

Director: John Sichel
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright, Jeremy Brett
King Lear (1971)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The Shakespeare tragedy that gave us the expression "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." King Lear has not one but two ungrateful children, and it's ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Brook
Stars: Paul Scofield, Irene Worth, Cyril Cusack
King Lear (TV Movie 1982)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Miller
Stars: John Shrapnel, Norman Rodway, Michael Kitchen
Othello (1965)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A general's marriage is destroyed when a vengeful lieutenant convinces him that his new wife has been unfaithful.

Director: Stuart Burge
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Frank Finlay, Robert Lang
King Lear (TV Movie 2008)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Ian McKellen gives a tour-de-force performance as Shakespeare's tragic titular monarch in this special television adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company production of one the playwright's most enduring and haunting works.

Director: Trevor Nunn
Stars: Ian McKellen, Ben Addis, Frances Barber
Henry V (1944)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the midst of the Hundred Years' War in 1415, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France.

Director: Laurence Olivier
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Robert Newton, Leslie Banks
King Lear (1999)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »

Directors: Brian Blessed, Tony Rotherham
Stars: Brian Blessed, Hildegard Neil, Jason Riddington
King Lear (1987)
Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Everything returns to normal after Chernobyl. That is, everything but art. Most of the great works are lost, and it is up to people like William Shakespear Junior the Fifth to restore the ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Woody Allen, Freddy Buache, Leos Carax
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Piano teacher Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky struggles against his homosexuality by marrying, but unfortunately he chooses a nymphomaniac whom he cannot satisfy.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson, Max Adrian
Hamlet (1948)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former king.

Director: Laurence Olivier
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, John Laurie
King Lear (1971)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »

Directors: Grigori Kozintsev, Iosif Shapiro
Stars: Jüri Järvet, Elza Radzina, Galina Volchek
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Colin Blakely ...
Anna Calder-Marshall ...
...
Robert Lang ...
...
...
...
Dorothy Tutin ...
...
...
...
Edward Petherbridge ...
Geoffrey Bateman ...
John Cording ...
Edit

Storyline

Lear is an aging King who wants to retire by abdicating to his three daughters. However, in an act of petty ego stroking, he asks them who among them loves him most. While two daughters eagerly toady to him, his one loving daughter, Cordelia, refuses play along with this foolish charade. In a rage, Lear exiles her along with his one loyal aide who dares to stick up for her. This foolish move works to Lear's sorrow as his two remaining daughters cruelly and gradually strip him of his status and possessions until he is rendered an insane hermit attended only by his fool. All the while, the illegitimate son of another lord is plotting his own ambitions while contributing to this tragic tale of ego and familial cruelty. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@home.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 January 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kung Lear  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The last specifically made-for-television production of a Shakespeare play (to date) to have its American TV premiere on commercial network television, an occurrence that was much more common in the 1950's, '60's, and '70s. See more »

Quotes

Gloucester: As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport.
See more »

Connections

Version of King Lear (1916) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Olivier is far and away the best Lear I've seen
17 November 1999 | by See all my reviews

I've never been that impressed with Olivier's acting. His Hamlet seemed quite boring. That changed after I saw this and his "Merchant of Venice." As Olivier got older, he got better. No more grandstanding, no more showy heroes. Having seen other Lears waste the role with constant shouting or with boringly stone-faced acting, I was impressed with the range of emotion Olivier revealed here. This Lear was the only one I could pity. He seems more hurt than angry by Cordelia's "Nothing." He shifts instantly between self-pity, blind rage, and knowledge, just as Lear does in the text.

The music was awful. Terribly melodramatic. Almost ruined the film.

Diana Rigg is absolutely chilling as Reagan and the Fool is touchingly dependent on Lear. Far less caustic than I imagined him.

This isn't the "definitive" Lear. There isn't one. But this comes close.


12 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Is it me? jmull
Playing Lear thl2k1
Discuss King Lear (1983) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page