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King Lear (1983)

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

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Robert Lang ...
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Edward Petherbridge ...
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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

According to Diana Rigg, Laurence Olivier wanted to perform all the long speeches in single takes as he had done in the theatre without multiple takes and pick-ups being edited together, but due to his age he could never get through any speech without "drying". In 2016, Rigg admitted to having never watched this TV version because she felt so saddened that Olivier had not been able to achieve this ambition. See more »

Quotes

Edmund: Now gods, stand up for bastards.
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Connections

Version of King Lear: Episode #1.1 (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Robert Lindsay amazingly good
23 November 2006 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

A very good version of _King Lear_ - Olivier plays it poignantly, you can see his Lear's overweening vanity and his profound humility. Robert Lindsay is my favourite Edmund ever - you immediately love him and wish him well despite the fact that he is a b*ftard (in all senses of the word - haha). Dorothy Tutin's Goneril has the most disapproving glare you have ever seen and her frolicking mutton act is painful to watch if you're a middle-aged woman. Hurt's fool is a wee bit too pathetic and Cordelia's weepiness is not appealing -- Diana Rigg's Regan is certainly convincing at getting across the hidden nastiness that outdoes Goneril. Gloucester is quite perfect in his rough affection. I've seen this many times and I still enjoy watching it for the nuances. The fight between Ed and Ed is a little much. It's too bad it looks quite so made-for-TV. I'm looking forward to Branagh blowing all the meanings up into big cartoons for us when he does his version of Olivier's _Lear_.


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