7.5/10
3,643
46 user 31 critic

Richard III (1955)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 11 March 1956 (USA)
Shakespeare's powerful tale of the wicked deformed King and his conquests, both on the battlefield and in the boudoir.

Director:

Laurence Olivier

Writers:

William Shakespeare (plays), David Garrick (textual alterations for his production of the play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Henry V (1944)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Director: Laurence Olivier
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Robert Newton, Leslie Banks
Hamlet (1948)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former King.

Director: Laurence Olivier
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, John Laurie
Richard III (1995)
Drama | Sci-Fi | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The classic Shakespearean play about a murderously scheming King staged in an alternative fascist England setting.

Director: Richard Loncraine
Stars: Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Christopher Bowen
Othello (1965)
Drama
    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
Richard III (TV Movie 1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Richard of Gloucester uses murder and manipulation to claim England's throne.

Director: Jane Howell
Stars: Peter Benson, Antony Brown, David Burke
Henry V (1989)
Action | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In the midst of the Hundred Years War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Simon Shepherd
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Archie Rice, an old-time British music hall performer sinking into final defeat, schemes to stay in show business.

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Brenda de Banzie, Roger Livesey
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A nineteenth-century New Hampshire farmer who makes a pact with Satan for economic success enlists Daniel Webster to extract him from his contract.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, Jane Darwell
Drama | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A Duke usurps his brother's land and power, banishing him and his entourage into the forest of Arden. The banished Duke's daughter, Rosalind, remains with her cousin Celia. She has fallen ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Czinner
Stars: Elisabeth Bergner, Laurence Olivier, Sophie Stewart
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cedric Hardwicke ... King Edward IV of England
Nicholas Hannen ... Archbishop
Laurence Olivier ... Richard III
Ralph Richardson ... Duke of Buckingham
John Gielgud ... George, Duke of Clarence
Mary Kerridge ... Queen Elizabeth
Pamela Brown Pamela Brown ... Jane Shore
Paul Huson Paul Huson ... Edward, Prince of Wales
Stewart Allen Stewart Allen ... Page to Richard
Claire Bloom ... The Lady Anne
Russell Thorndike Russell Thorndike ... First Priest
Wallace Bosco Wallace Bosco ... Monk (as Wally Bosco)
Norman Fisher Norman Fisher ... Monk
Andrew Cruickshank Andrew Cruickshank ... Brackenbury
Clive Morton ... The Lord Rivers
Edit

Storyline

Richard's military skills have helped to put his older brother Edward on the throne of England. But jealousy and resentment cause Richard to seek the crown for himself, and he conceives a lengthy and carefully calculated plan using deception, manipulation, and outright murder to achieve his goal. His plotting soon has tumultuous consequences, both for himself and for England. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

11 March 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ricardo III See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Laurence Olivier's make-up, including hump back and withered hand, took three hours to apply each day. See more »

Goofs

For one shot at the end during the battle scene, right around the famous "My kingdom for a horse!" line, Richard's left hand has all five fingers. During the rest of the movie, Richard only has three fingers on his left hand as part of the character's deformities. See more »

Quotes

Richard: Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York, And all the clouds that glower'd upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean buried. Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths, our bruised arms hung up for monuments, our stern alarums changed to merry meetings, our dreadful marches to delightful measures. Grim vised war has smoothed his wrinkled front And now instead of mounting barbed steeds to fright the souls of fearful adversaries he capers nimbly in a ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Most of the film's credits are shown at the end. The opening credits show only the title of the film, Shakespeare's name, and the names of the main actors. See more »

Alternate Versions

SPOILER: The 139-minute version omits the entire second half of Clarence's (John Gielgud) speech in the prison cell. The 139-minute version is also edited so that it appears to a viewer unfamiliar with either the play or the film that Richard had nothing to do with Edward IV's death. See more »

Connections

Featured in Great Performances: John Gielgud: An Actor's Life (1988) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Sportive Tricks With Sir Larry's Tricky Dick
13 March 2005 | by slokesSee all my reviews

That "Richard III" is one of the all-time great acting performances is hard to argue with. In the title role, Sir Laurence Olivier manages to be rousing and hate-inducing, menacing and amusing, often all at once. He was the world's greatest stage actor of his time, and Shakespeare was the world's greatest stage writer. So how do they do on the movie screen?

Quite well. Because "Richard III," like "Patton" or "Scarface," is essentially a one-man show, and Olivier was the best Shakespearean actor of his time or since, we are in good hands. As a director (and uncredited co-writer), Olivier telescopes the action on screen in such a way as to negate the necessary stageiness of Shakespeare's text. He moves us the audience from one scene to another by pulling back a curtain and nodding to us to come closer, as if we were an old friend. He yells some lines, then coos others, his vocal dynamics challenging even seasoned readers of the play in terms of what he chooses to accent and what he does not. Finally, he finds the ample stores of humor Shakespeare gave this, one of his darker plays.

"A sweeter and a lovelier gentleman...the spacious world cannot again afford," Richard says of one man he killed, and Olivier invests moments like this with a firm tongue in cheek. While wooing that man's wife (strictly for political gain), he actually draws a sword when presenting himself as the widow's new suitor, telling her to plunge it into him if she won't be his bride. She tells him he's a liar. "Then never man was true!" Richard shouts, and Olivier as he says this rolls his eyes shamelessly, like a silent-screen matinée idol. I can't watch that scene without laughing; it's a Mel Brooks moment.

The film does move slowly, despite Olivier's trims. Entire scenes get cut out, yet the first act is drawn on for nearly an hour with the help of some dialogue brought in from another Shakespeare play. Surely Olivier could have set more up as part of the opening text narrative, and gotten down to business with that famous opening soliloquy.

A worse fault is the woodenness of some of the actors, like the ones who play Catesby, Brackenbury, and especially Lord Hastings. It doesn't help that they don't get the same chance to address the viewer that Olivier avails himself. Sir John Gielgud even seems lost playing a naive victim of Richard's complots. Seen to better advantage are Claire Bloom as the woman Richard woos, Michael Gough as a murderer, and Patrick Troughton as the nasty child-killing nobleman Tyrell.

Ralph Richardson gives the second-best performance in the play as the Duke of Buckingham, a half-step behind Richard in guile and cruelty, but trying to catch up in his own cold-blooded way. It's funny to read here that Olivier wanted Orson Welles in the role. Welles would have seemed too crafty. Richardson makes a believable victim as well as conspirator. Also, you have to mention Pamela Brown's Mistress Shore, who has no lines (because Shakespeare wrote none for her) but manages in Olivier's direction to play a central role by currying the bedside favor of King Edward and of Hastings.

But Olivier of course is the only reason this movie is still watched. And he's worth watching as long as movies are seen. Yes, he may have won World War II making his movie version of "Henry V," and his "Hamlet" was when he became Hollywood's favorite emissary of high culture, but "Richard III" is still the thing to catch the conscienceless of the king, his moment of highest dungeon and merriest perversity. It's movies like this one that remind us why acting can be a noble profession, even for those who aren't knighted for their excellence in it.


29 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 46 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed