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King Lear (1983)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  26 January 1984 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 529 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 1 critic

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

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Title: King Lear (TV Movie 1983)

King Lear (TV Movie 1983) on IMDb 7.6/10

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

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

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Drama

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26 January 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

King Lear  »

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4:3
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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

Kent: Fellow, I know thee.
Oswald: What dost thou know me for?
Kent: A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into ...
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Version of The Tragedy of King Lear (1982) See more »

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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.


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