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Richard III (1995) Poster

(1995)

Trivia

Tyrell (Adrian Dunbar) was not scripted to hand the apple to Richard (Sir Ian McKellen) in the stable, but improvised it on the spot. McKellen took the hint, and pelted the apple (supposedly at the pig).
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Sir Ian McKellen enjoyed acting with Robert Downey, Jr. in Restoration (1995), and asked him to play the part of Rivers, expecting him to turn the role down as too small. To McKellen's surprise, Downey immediately cleared his diary, and took the part.
Sir Ian McKellen made Clarence a photographer, to amplify the fact that he never noticed anything. He was merely seeing the events, not watching them. Therefore, he never realized how evil Richard actually is.
Sir Ian McKellen made Queen Elizabeth an American, because this way, she and her family could be seen as social climbers, from commoners to royalties. It also suggests an alternate history, where Edward VIII (a British King who reportedly admired the Nazis) was able to keep his throne, while marrying the scandalous American social climber Wallis Warfield Simpson. In real-life, that didn't work, and those two became known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
The lyrics to the opening song ("Live With Me and Be My Love") are from a pastoral poem by Christopher Marlowe.
Made for only five million pounds.
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.
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Sir Ian McKellen reportedly missed an Oscar nomination for Best Actor by two votes.
Sir Ian McKellen wrote the screenplay while touring the play. Originally, he thought it would be a television production, but he soon realized that the large production he envisaged would require the budget of a feature film. Still on tour, he began to consider screen actors he met for roles in the film, including Sir Patrick Stewart, Danny DeVito, and Meryl Streep.
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The cigarette that Richard smokes is an Abdulla, a non-nicotine herbal cigarette. The props department managed to find six remaining packs in London, and bought one packet intact (of thirty sticks).
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In the play, Princess Elizabeth is always off-stage. Here, she is always present.
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Since the film is set in the alternate twentieth century, Sir Ian McKellen had some trouble of setting the location for Act 3 Scene 1, where the Prince of Wales meets Richard before being sent to the Tower. Someone suggested that the royals usually arrive in London by rail. The scene was eventually known to everyone in the film as the "Victoria Station" scene.
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Marisa Tomei had to quit the project when delays meant that filming clashed with Unhook the Stars (1996).
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Sir Ian McKellen was in his fifties when he played King Richard III, who only lived to be thirty-three.
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The initials on the band's music stands are "WS", for William Shakespeare.
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The scenes of the massive rally were digitally composed from shots of a much smaller crowd (including Sir Ian McKellen and extras recruited via local radio) placed in different positions within the hall.
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Richard Gloucester's black uniform is actually the tunic of an SS-Oberstgruppenfuhrer (Colonel General), minus the swastika insignia.
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Lost its two Oscar nominations (Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design) to Restoration (1995), which also featured Sir Ian McKellen and Robert Downey, Jr.
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Dame Maggie Smith (The Duchess of York) plays the mother of Sir Ian McKellen (Richard III), Nigel Hawthorne (George, Duke of Clarence) and John Wood (Edward IV). In real life, however, she was less than five years older than McKellen, five years younger than Hawthorne and four years younger than Wood.
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The boar's head, as seen hanging on the banners of the large hall, is Richard's personal device.
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During the battle with Richmond's army in Act 5, every military vehicle is painted with a number and the initials of R III, referring to Richard.
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As a twelve-year-old, Eddie Redmayne auditioned for a part as one of the princes in the tower, but was turned down by Sir Ian McKellen as being unsuitable.
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Edward Hardwicke's father Cedric played King Edward IV in Richard III (1955).
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Jim Broadbent was the only choice for the role of Buckingham.
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First full length cinema film of Dominic West.
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Alex Cox was assigned to direct the film at one stage.
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Dame Maggie Smith and Jim Carter were in Downton Abbey (2010 together.
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The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Dame Maggie Smith and Jim Broadbent; and five Oscar nominees: Sir Ian McKellen, Robert Downey, Jr., Annette Bening, Nigel Hawthorne, and Kristin Scott Thomas.
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A T-34 tank, which was used in the production of the movie, was later purchased by London businessman Russel Gray for seven thousand dollars, who then installed it on a vacant lot he owned on the corner of Mandela Way, as a symbolic protest against the Southwark planning authorities, who had denied him permission to develop the land. The tank is now nicknamed "Stompie", and has become a public art installation.
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Robert Downey, Jr. and Annette Bening appeared in In Dreams (1999).
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Kristin Scott Thomas and Dame Maggie Smith appeared in Gosford Park (2001).
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Jim Broadbent and Adrian Dunbar appeared in The Crying Game (1992).
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The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
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Ian McKellen cites this film as his proudest accomplishment because, apart from having played the title character many times on stage, he organized the funding, executive produced and co-wrote the screenplay for this film adaptation.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Only about half of William Shakespeare's original text is used. Sometimes details were changed, for example, Lord Rivers (Robert Downey, Jr.) was killed much later in the play than he is in the movie, and when Queen Elizabeth (Annette Bening) receives the news of his death, the same messenger in the play only told her of his indictment on Richard's and Buckingham's orders. Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of York have larger roles than in the play. An important character in the play is Queen Margaret, widow of Henry VI, who does not appear in the film. Many of her lines are given to the Duchess of York, although these lines do not suit that character.
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The play did not explain how Lady Anne meets her fate. Sir Ian McKellen based the idea of how she dies on two elements: a line in which Queen Elizabeth calls Richard a "bottled spider"; McKellen also based it on Robert Helpmann performing in front of backcloth painted with spider webs. In the finished film, a model spider was superimposed on a static shot of Kristin Scott Thomas.
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In the play, Queen Elizabeth simply disappears after Act 4 Scene 4, so a scene in Richmond's headquarters where Richmond marries the princess was added to give a proper resolution for the Queen, being the principal survivor of the film. The Archbishop's lines in that scene were taken from Richmond's lines at the end of the play.
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