The classic Shakespearean play about a murderously scheming king staged in an alternative fascist England setting.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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George, Duke of Clarence
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Rivers' Mistress
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Storyline

William Shakespeare's classic play is brought into the present with the setting as Great Britian in the 1930s. Civil war has erupted with the House of Lancaster on one side, claiming the right to the British throne and hoping to bring freedom to the country. Opposing is the House of York, commanded by the infamous Richard who rules over a fascist government and hopes to install himself as a dictator monarch. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Power Conquers All See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

29 December 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ricardo III  »

Box Office

Budget:

£6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$2,600,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The initials on the band's music stands are "WS", for William Shakespeare. See more »

Goofs

Richard III died aged 32, after reigning for 2 years. Ian McKellen was in his mid-50s during filming and no attempt is made to hide his age. However he was not the first or last middle-aged actor to play the role. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Prince of Wales: Goodnight Father.
King Henry: Goodnight son.
Prince of Wales: Goodnight your majesty.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 22 June 1996 (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Come Live With Me
Paraphrased from "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love,(1599)" by Christopher Marlowe
Performed by Stacey Kent and Vile Bodies
Music composed by Trevor Jones
Arranged by Colin Good
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Justice made to Richard III
1 February 2006 | by (Switzerland) – See all my reviews

"Richard III" may not have the all-encompassing understanding of uman nature seen in "Hamlet" or the grace and mastery of "The Tempest", but for my money is one of the greatest plays ever written and certainly Shakespeare's most entertaining.

It may be lacking in character development and psychology, but it more than makes up for that with a brilliant concept: have the villain as main character and make the audience his playful confident. The concept is aided further by eminently quotable lines and one great scene after the other of scheming, fiendishness and confrontations. One of the few pieces of criticism you can successfully throw at Shakespeare is that his central characters are often meek or feeble. Not so here! Tudor propaganda this might have been (it quite grotesquely disregards historical fact in a few places), this is storytelling at its finest.

Richard Loncraine's 1995 film places the story in a fictitious 30s England reminiscent of early Nazi Germany. The device serves to make the proceedings more accessible (if only marginally since the original language has thankfully been preserved). It also makes for amusing situations (Richard of York telling his monologue while taking a leak in a public restroom - "my Kingdom for a Horse!" bellowed from a paralyzed jeep) and serves as further proof of the Bard's timelessness.

Beyond the structural and technical feats - and they are quite excellent without exception, including Trevor Jones underrated dark jazzy score - lies what should be our main concern: the cast. Sir Ian McKellen as Richard is a Machiavellian wonder, blowing both Lawrence Olivier's rendition and McKellen's earlier work away. His fiendish creation is a joy to watch and root for, despite the increasing gruesomeness of his crimes. The byzantine plot demands that recognizable faces be cast in supporting roles and the characters are magnificently portrayed by eminent actors giving it their best and succeeding admirably. Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent and Kristin Scott-Thomas are expectedly great, but the truly outstanding supporting performances come as surprises: Annette Benning is all grief and fury, Adrian Dunbar is eerie yet very human as Richard's pet killer Tyrell and Nigel Hawthorne is incredibly moving as the meek Clarence. Even Robert Downey Jr. manages to hold his own against this impressive array of actors.

All in all if you can appreciate the language (that only gets better with repeated readings/viewings) and have a thirst for fine acting, it would be criminal to ignore this masterpiece.


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