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


Power Conquers All 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
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Did You Know?


The film makes clever use of scenery to indicate that the alternate Britain is, in fact, a Nazi style country. The flag of the House of the York closely resembles a swastika. Gloucester's flag is the Nazi flag with the swastika replaced by a boar's head. See more »


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 »


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


Version of Richard III (1980) See more »


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

Original, Brilliant Richard
8 December 2002 | by (Herzlya, Israel) – See all my reviews

This is one of the movies you remember for a long time - and for all the good reasons. Transplanting Shakespeare in a different time and giving his historical plots a modern political sense is not such a new idea. What is really strong and works well here is the perfect fit between the characters as Shakespeare intended them and the background which is so different from the original historical one. Each one of the characters is both shakespearian as intended, a perfect citizen of the fictional time created by the director - a fascist England in the 30s - and more than everything else a human being: sensual, hating and loving as only humans do.

Perfectly acted, almost flawlessly directed, with very little overweight, this film is a feast for the intelligent spectator, a brutal, well-paced and expressive piece of art - and exactly as Shakespeare would have loved it, a mirror of his time, of our time, and of any time. 9/10 on my personal scale.

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