Shakespeare's Othello retold in modern London; racial tension in the police force collides with jealousy and revenge. An officer suspects his new bride of infidelity.



On Disc

at Amazon

12 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Othello (TV Movie 1981)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A general becomes convinced that his wife is having an affair, even though there is no evidence.

Director: Jonathan Miller
Stars: Anthony Pedley, Bob Hoskins, Geoffrey Chater
Otello (1986)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Based on Shakesphere's play, Verdi's opera depicts the devastating effects of jealousy, "...the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds upon". Believing Otello has promoted the... See full summary »

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Stars: Plácido Domingo, Katia Ricciarelli, Justino Díaz
Othello (1995)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.

Director: Oliver Parker
Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Kenneth Branagh, Irène Jacob
Othello (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A general's marriage is destroyed when a vengeful lieutenant convinces him that his new wife has been unfaithful.

Director: Stuart Burge
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Frank Finlay, Robert Lang
O (2001)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An update of Shakespeare's 'Othello' with a young cast, set in an upper class prep school, & centered around basketball player Odin.

Director: Tim Blake Nelson
Stars: Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles, Martin Sheen
Othello (1951)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Micheál MacLiammóir, Robert Coote


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Jago
Sinclair Carver
PC Adey
Allan Cutts ...
PC Stiller
PC Gaunt
Samantha McDonald ...
Woman in Crowd
Nicholas Gecks ...
Home Secretary
Del Synnott ...
Chief Superintendent
Tim Frances ...
Newspaper Editor


This modern crime drama uses the names of the homonymous Shakespeare play's main characters which inspired its plot. White London Metropolitan Police commissioner Sinclair Carver promises to maintain law and order and further racial integration by recruiting and promoting black and Asian officers, but is taped in the lavatory by a tabloid reporter telling his assistant commissioner Ben Jago there is no black with a brain as big as his dick, and is thus forced to resign. When the death of the black Billy Coates in custody causes racial unrest, John Othello, the only authoritative black police officer, manages to prevent riots by pointing to the press and promising to solve the case; the government names him successor to Carver over his friend Jago's head. The ambitious Ben doesn't show his furious disappointment, but must have his revenge. His plots starts by making sure racists harass Othello's white wife Desdemona, so he can have her 'well guarded' by smooth white superintendent ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






| |


Release Date:

28 January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Scotland Yard-i Othello  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


See  »

Did You Know?


[first lines]
Ben Jago: It was about love, That's what you've got to understand. Don't talk to me about race, don't talk to me about politics, It was love, simple as that. She loved him as well as she knew how, he loved her more than any man should love a woman. Tragedy, right? No other word for it. I loved him too, you know.
See more »


Version of Otello (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

mixed results from tinkering with the Bard
5 April 2004 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

Modernizing Shakespeare is a tough business. People who hate the Bard's archaic language and subject matter are unlikely to be lured into watching one of his plays, even if the dialog has been brought up-to-date. And Shakespeare purists usually resent seeing his beautiful poetry translated into contemporary blather. I belong to the latter camp, so sadly, I was annoyed that this version of "Othello" not only modernizes the setting, but also the language, of Shakespeare's classic play. My (perhaps elitist) attitude is, if it ain't broke, don't fix it...

That said, there is much to recommend here. Staging the drama during Rodney King-like race riots was an inspired idea. It's also good to see Othello and Iago (here called Jago) interact as friends before Othello is promoted; we get proof of their friendship and mutual trust before things turn sour. Sadly, two nice touches do not a great adaptation make; the other changes are not so effective.

"Othello" may be particularly tough to modernize because the hero is so fatally flawed, and in ways which make modern viewers uncomfortable. He's suspicious, jealous, easily duped, and very possessive of his wife. The last of these qualities seems particularly reactionary today. Of course, there are still controlling and abusive men around - lots of them - but such behavior is becoming more and more unacceptable. Othello is, by today's standards, a sexist. And he's a sexist who's constantly tricked by a much cleverer man! So I have some problems admiring Othello; he's less of a tragic hero than an utter mess. Somehow, his flaws seem less overwhelming in Venice of the past than in London of today. I wish screen writer Andrew Davies had done something to make him less passive and ingenuous.

Despite these problems, Walker gives a forceful performance as Othello. His charisma carries the day when the script fails to give him anything interesting or proactive to do. Eccleston runs wild as Iago/Jago, really relishing his rants and asides; I enjoyed watching him. Hawes is slightly dull as Desdemona (you may find yourself wondering "what's all the fuss about?"), and I couldn't believe that Cassio is played by Jeff from "Coupling!" Normally, I like to see sitcom actors in serious roles, but I just couldn't stop associating him with his silly "Coupling" character, so ultimately his presence was distracting.

Geoffrey Sax's always-stylish direction held my interest, but was not quite up to his usual standard. Like the other aspects of the production, he came up just a little short this time. Despite the wealth of talent on display here, the end result is a so-so adaptation of a problematic masterpiece.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: