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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Colin Blakely ...
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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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26 January 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kung Lear  »

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4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Esmond Knight (Old Man) previously appeared in all three of the Shakespearean films directed by Laurence Olivier: Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948) and Richard III (1955). See more »

Quotes

King Lear: How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!
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Connections

Version of King Lear (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

 
magnificent performance
26 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

All minor reservations aside, this is a powerful and utterly compelling screen version of Lear. Olivier is near flawless, and at 75 years of age. His involvement in the role is -- as usual -- total. He plays up the fatuousness and foolishness of the old king, who has learned nothing throughout his long reign. His errors in judgement, which even a professional fool can see, and the resulting agony, bring him to madness rather than wisdom. All this Olivier portrays with awe-inspiring finesse, bravado and insight, that musical voice ranging all over the scale, and still possessing a vast dynamic range. Brilliant acting of a piece that haunts and harrows from beginning to end.


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