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The Tale of Sweeney Todd (1997)

TV Movie  -   -  Crime | Drama | Horror  -  19 April 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 558 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 2 critic

The fictional tale of the murderous 19th century barber (Ben Kinglsey) who sold his kills to a neighboring butcher (Joanna Lumley) for her renowned meat pies. A young innocent (Selina ... See full summary »



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Title: The Tale of Sweeney Todd (TV Movie 1997)

The Tale of Sweeney Todd (TV Movie 1997) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Carlyle
Selina Boyack ...
Sean Flanagan ...
Charlie (as Séan Ó'Flanagain)
Katharine Schlesinger ...
Joe Savino ...
Niall Buggy ...
Peter Jeffrey ...
Dr. Maxwell
Peter Woodthorpe ...
Head Clerk
Birdy Sweeney ...
Elderly Cutter
Des Braiden ...
Bald Toothless Man


The fictional tale of the murderous 19th century barber (Ben Kinglsey) who sold his kills to a neighboring butcher (Joanna Lumley) for her renowned meat pies. A young innocent (Selina Boyack) and the dashing inspector (Campbell Scott) who tries to solve the murders are also thrown into the mix. Written by John Sacksteder <>

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Release Date:

19 April 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Tale of Sweeney Todd  »

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Did You Know?


The final film of 'Peter Jeffrey (I)'. See more »


Version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

A respectable, if unspectacular non-musical retelling of the classic
16 February 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Musicals made for stage are notoriously difficult to adapt for the big screen. Of course this hasn't stopped studios from doing it, but many times it has been successful. 'Cabaret,' 'Chicago,' and 'The Rocky Horror Picture' have all enjoyed great success on the silver screen because they were made by the right people at the right time. But what if someone were to take a popular musical, take out the song and dance numbers, and turn the story into a regular feature film? Such is the case with this British/Irish production made for Showtime and based on one of the most beloved of stage musicals. You'd think a top notch cast, Academy Award Winning director, and a classic story combined could produce a hit. The good news is that for the most part it works.

Pros: Spirited performances by a great cast. Excellent score. Production design that really captures a cold, dreary London neighborhood in the 19th Century. Moves at a good pace most of the time. Appropriately gruesome. Kudos to writers Peter Shaw and Peter Buckman for successfully turning the musical into a murder mystery without song. Late director John Schlesinger does a fine job of making this look like a feature film.

Cons: Despite a few changes, there isn't much to really distinguish this from other versions. Some subplots and relationships that could have used more fleshing out. Pace is slow at times. Rushed, anticlimactic finale.

Final thoughts: The 2007 Tim Burton version this ain't, but it's hardly one to forget. Sure in lesser hands this could have a bland and unmemorable effort, but with this team behind it the film is well above average. Hard to find these days, but if you're a fan of both the story and any of the cast then seek it out.

My rating: 3.5/5

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