When King Lear decides to step down from his throne, he decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters with tragic results.

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King Lear (TV Movie 1983)
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An aging King invites disaster when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters and rejects his one loving, but honest one.

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King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »

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Series cast summary:
Patrick Mower ...
 Edmund (6 episodes, 1974)
Ann Lynn ...
 Regan (6 episodes, 1974)
Philip Brack ...
 Albany (6 episodes, 1974)
Beth Harris ...
 Goneril (6 episodes, 1974)
 King Lear (6 episodes, 1974)
Wendy Allnutt ...
 Cordelia (6 episodes, 1974)
 Edgar (6 episodes, 1974)
Ronald Radd ...
 Gloucester (6 episodes, 1974)
Ray Smith ...
 Kent (6 episodes, 1974)
Ellis Jones ...
 The Fool (6 episodes, 1974)


Aging King Lear decides to surrender his throne to his three daughters and solicits comments from them about their devotion and love to him. Goneril and Regan, the elder married daughters, flatter their father with profusely exaggerated declarations of filial devotion, but Goneril, his unmarried youngest, refuses to try to outdo her sisters in insincerity and declares her loyalty to her father in more subdued terms. The egocentric king disinherits her it a fit of pique and banishes her, as well as Kent, one of his most loyal ministers, who had the temerity to criticize the king's actions. The aging Lear is not happy in retirement as first one and then both of his daughters turn their backs on their now powerless father. Cordelia, now married to the King of France, remains loyal to her father despite his treatment of her and invades England with the French army in hopes of restoring her father to the throne. In the meantime, the Duke of Gloucester's illegitimate son Edmund plots to ... Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

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Release Date:

24 September 1974 (UK)  »

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(6 parts)


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Broadcast in six twenty-minute parts, for ease of use in the classroom. See more »


Fool: If thou wert my fool. Nuncle, I'd have thee beaten for being old before thy time.
King Lear: How's that?
Fool: Thou shoulds't not have been old till thou hadst been wise.
See more »


Version of King Lear: Episode #1.6 (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

Pretty good, but a lot was cut.
21 September 2008 | by (US) – See all my reviews

The fool was almost completely cut, but this is a good version anyway. Gotta remember it was made for TV and take it as it is. I read somewhere that someone said once that they had never seen a bad version of "Hamlet", and that goes for Lear, too, though (big Peter Brook fan that I am) Peter Brook's version is one that I haven't made it all the way through quite yet. The running time here has been cut by almost an hour and a half, but that is OK. Patrick Magee started slowly, but his journey into madness is very effective. I have yet to see the version done by Laurence Olivier and I have high hopes for it. I am very happy with this version.

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