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King of Texas (2002)

In this adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear, self-made ranch tycoon John Lear divides his holdings among his daughters but finds that once they have his property, they reject him.



(play), (teleplay)

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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
John Lear
Mrs. Susannah Lear Tumlinson
Mrs. Rebecca Lear Highsmith
Henry Westover
Mr. Tumlinson
Mr. Highsmith
Emmett Westover
Thomas Westover
Claudia Lear
Fernando Banda ...
Roger Cudney ...


An updated version of 'William Shakespeare''s King Lear, by way of Ran (1985), with Lear as a magnate in the Old West whose decision to divide his empire among his three daughters results in disaster. Written by Jonah Falcon <jonahnynla@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Between land and power lies the frontier of greed... the saga of family... the heart of drama.


Drama | Western


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 June 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boss Lear  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sir Ian McKellen credits this as one of his favorite Shakespeare based performances on film. See more »


The army captain shows up by himself wanting to buy horses from the Westovers. If he really was expecting to buy horses, he would have some troopers to assist him in taking his purchases away. See more »


Version of BBC Play of the Month: King Lear (1975) See more »


Will You Come to the Bower?
Traditional Irish song
Sung by John Lear (Patrick Stewart) and Rip (David Alan Grier)
This song was played by Sam Houston's troops before the Battle of San Jacinto.
See more »

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User Reviews

Unique, moving Western with Patrick Stewart, Roy Scheider and David Alan Grier
14 October 2017 | by (Ohio/PA border) – See all my reviews

RELEASED TO TV IN 2002 and directed by Uli Edel, "King of Texas" is a Western starring Patrick Stewart as the proud & loveless title character, John Lear, whose ranch spreads across a vast region of West Texas. His decision to divvy up his empire between his dubious daughters (Marsha Gay Harden & Lauren Holly) based on their willingness to flatter him yields disastrous results as Lear descends into madness and despair. Julie Cox plays his other daughter while David Alan Grier plays his wily man Friday, Rip.

The plot's taken from The Bard's "King Lear." But is also inspired by real-life Texas cattle baron Captain Richard King and his King Ranch in South Texas, which is the largest ranch in Texas, encompassing some 1,289 square miles.

The movie starts shaky with the sequence where Lear divides his holdings between his daughters, but only because you don't yet have a grip on the character of Lear and his dysfunctional relationships with his daughters. The rest of the flick, however, clears things up. One of the best parts is the chemistry that Stewart has with Grier. Their banter back-in-forth is entertaining and often humorous.

What I like most about this Western beyond the great cast, magnificent Mexican locations and moving score, is its uniqueness, which is likely due to it being based on "King Lear." Moreover, there are moments of greatness, like when Lear madly chases the eagle as if longing to take flight from the cage of his proud, quirky flesh and this fallen world in general; or when he passionately cries out to God in the storm. If you think it's unbelievably melodramatic, you're wrong. It's real.

THE FILM RUNS 95 minutes and was shot in Durango & Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico. WRITER: Stephen Harrigan based on Shakespeare's play. ADDITIONAL CAST: Colm Meaney and Patrick Bergin appear as the husbands of Lear's daughters. Roy Scheider plays a neighbor and Matt Letscher & Liam Waite his sons while Steven Bauer is on hand as a Hispanic ranch owner threatened by the two daughter's outrageous greed.


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