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King Lear (1983)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  26 January 1984 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 557 users  
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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 7.7/10

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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:

Kung 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

Edmund: Now gods, stand up for bastards.
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Connections

Version of König Lear (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An All Star Cast Takes on Shakespeare's Greatest Tragedy
22 February 2006 | by (Troy, NY) – See all my reviews

An all-star cast takes on Shakespeare's greatest tragedy. Laurence Olivier is Lear -- once a mighty king, now a weak, jealous old man. Tired and in need of rest, he divides his kingdom among his three daughters. Cordelia, the youngest, is good and kind, while Regan and Goneril are wicked schemers who soon turn against the king and try to murder him! Lear has loyal friends, like Kent the noble, and his jester, the Fool. Colin Blakely makes Kent into the perfect, rugged sidekick, as brave and reliable as Sam in LORD OF THE RINGS. And John Hurt makes the haunting, half-crazed fool as helpless and pitiable as Gollum, without all the creepy sliminess.

But the real stars of the play are actually the villains. Diana Rigg is delicious as Regan, the younger of the two "wicked sisters." Even when she is shiveringly evil, (joking about Gloucester's pain as she pokes out his eyes!) she remains a stunningly desirable woman. And the twisted affair between Regan and the studly but wicked Edmund is much more erotic and involving than in most productions. Robert Lindsay captures the gigolo side of Edmund perfectly, always teasing and tempting and making poor love-struck Regan literally pucker up to kiss the empty air. Diana Rigg really plays all sides of the character -- watching her pout and sulk in her tent would be sweetly endearing if she weren't so truly and completely cruel. As a result the viewer is spellbound, unable to resist the evil but horrified by the inevitable tragedy.

With an all-star cast, original scenery and a haunting musical score, this bold production is Shakespeare at the summit!


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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