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King of Texas (2002)

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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)
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
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 King Lear (2008) 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

Only Shakespeare ever did it better
6 May 2002 | by (Israel) – See all my reviews

This short treatment does well in general by the story and by the characters. The characters have a certain frontier eloquence and it isn't till John Lear goes mad-- a bit too suddenly-- that you really miss Shakespeare's poetry. The script tries to compensate for the lack of weight in the storm scene by introducing a more pedestrian revelation: Lear comes to understand that peace is better than fighting. Well, duh.

On the positive side, we have sisters who are a little better motivated and less one-dimensionally monstrous than we're accustomed to and we have an interesting back-story (with an echo of the Biblical daughters of Zelophehad) in which Lear had intended his son to be heir but the son died in battle leaving only daughters to inherit.

Somehow we manage to meet a pretty full cast of characters, and they all seem natural occupants of free Texas, where the inhospitable desert separates warring ranches the way Shakespeare's heath separated the little fiefdoms. The story unfolds quite naturally too, with a creditable amount of the original complexity preserved.

The main weakness is the musical score, routine at best where the Texan setting provided the opportunity for something more distinctive and memorable.

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