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


Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
George, Duke of Clarence
Rivers' Mistress


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


...I am determined to prove a villain, and hate the idle pleasures of these days... See more »


Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

29 December 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ricardo III  »

Box Office


£6,000,000 (estimated)


$2,600,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alex Cox was assigned to direct the film at one stage. See more »


When Elizabeth is summoned to talk with Richard in the train car, her coat unbuttons between shots. See more »


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


Version of The Hollow Crown: Richard III (2016) See more »


I'm Sitting On The Top Of The World
Performed by Al Jolson
Composed by Ray Henderson, Joe Young and Sam Lewis
Published by EMI United Partnership Ltd.
Redwood Music Corp.
Angle-Pic Music Co. Ltd.
EMI Catalog Partnership/EMI Feist Catalog Inc.
Ray Henderson Music Corp.
Cherio Corporation
(c) MCA Records Inc. Licensed courtesy of
MCA Strategic Marketing Ltd.
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User Reviews

Shakespearean tragedy in 1940s Europe
13 March 2006 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

This film sets Shakespeare's Richard III in an alternative to WWII era England, where fascists and royalists maintain their own militias and play power games with kings and thrones. The first scene sets the tone for the entire film. A young officer is settling down to dinner with his dog chewing on a bone nearby. The building begins to shake and a low rumbling is heard. Soon enough, a tank erupts through the fireplace and stormtroopers charge in automatic rifles ablaze. Ian McKellan removes his gas mask and spouts a few lines of Shakespearean dialog.

The action and the intrigue never really let up, as the film follows Richard's (McKellan) rise to infamy and power. Neither does the Shakespearean dialog. Somehow the cast manages to make the dialog fit the action and setting effortlessly.

Richard III is jarringly strange - perhaps the most innovative of the recent Shakespeare updates - very well acted and directed. Although I recommend the film, I have to warn you - it's not for everyone.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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