In the eighteenth century, in a small village in Ireland, Redmond Barry (Ryan O'Neal) is a young farm boy in love with his cousin Nora Brady (Gay Hamilton). When Nora gets engaged to British Captain John Quin (Leonard Rossiter), Barry challenges him to a duel of pistols. He wins and escapes to Dublin, but is robbed on the road. Without an alternative, Barry joins the British Army to fight in the Seven Years War. He deserts and is forced to join the Prussian Army, where he saves the life of his Captain and becomes his protégé and spy of Irish gambler Chevalier de Balibari (Patrick Magee). He helps Chevalier and becomes his associate until he decides to marry the wealthy Lady Lyndon (Marisa Berenson). They move to England and Barry, in his obsession of nobility, dissipates her fortune and makes a dangerous and revengeful enemy.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Chevalier is introduced as "di Balibari", which is an Italianization of "Ballybarry" (i.e., Barrytown), which is where he is from in Ireland. See more »
When Toole throws Barry's greasy beaker to the ground, Barry is looking at the beaker. However, in the next shot he is looking up at Toole. See more »
[two figures visible on the horizon prepare to duel. Three witnesses stand between them]
Gentlemen, cock your pistols! Gentlemen...
...aim your pistols!
...had been bred, like many other young sons of a genteel family, to the profession of the law.
And there is no doubt he would've...
...made an eminent figure in his profession...
[...] See more »
Some movies - I wish there were more of them - simply look like a series of great paintings. This film has that look. You could freeze-frame many of the scenes and swear you were looking at a Gainsborough, a Vermeer, a Hogarth or similar work of art by one the great artists of three to five centuries ago. It's just beautiful.
For that, we have Director Stanley Kubrick and Photographer John Alcott to thank. Being a three-hour movie, there are plenty of wonderful shots to admire, too. In addition, the costumes are lavish and authentic and the scoring is notable. It's no accident that Oscars were garnered for art/set direction, cinematography, costume design and scoring. Yeah, if you enjoy classical music, you'll really enjoy the soundtrack, too, under the guidance of conductor Leonard Roseman.
Not to be overlooked is the fine acting and the interesting and underrated story. I say "underrated" because this film, from what I've read, bored a lot of people and and it was a box-office flop. That's too bad because, frankly, I found the story (outside of the first 10--15 minutes) to be fascinating. As I watched, I kept wondering what strange occurrences will happen next to the lead character, "Redmond Barry/Barry Lyndon," played beautifully by Ryan O'Neal. (For most of the movie, he's called "Redmond Barry," so I will refer to him as that.)
Overall, this was a low-key adventure story about the rise-and-fall of a "scoundrel" back in late 18th century Englishman. "Mr. Barry" is an Irishmen living in England who winds up dealing with a number of people: Irish, English, Prussian, French. His dealings with these people are bizarre at times. While he mainly is shown doing what he can to promote himself, for either monetary gain and prestige of a name and power, he's not all bad. There is a compassionate side to him, but it only shows itself in small doses. It makes him all the more interesting to watch, because you don't always know how he's going to react to his circumstances, which change radically every few years.
We witness his rise to prominence and then his fall when his "sins begin to find him out," as the Bible would describe. It's quite a roller coaster ride.
This is an emotional, involving story, and a feast for the eyes and ears. It's quite different, too, certainly not the average fare from Kubrick. I can only hope this comes out on a high-definition disc some day. Admirers of this film need to see this in all its glory.
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