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
Stanley Kubrick based his original screenplay on "The Luck of Barry Lyndon" (republished as the novel "Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq."), a picaresque tale written in serial form in 1844 by William Makepeace Thackeray. The serial, which is told in the first person and "edited" by the fictional George Savage FitzBoodle, concerns a member of the Irish gentry trying to become a member of the English aristocracy. Thackeray based the novel on the life and exploits of the Irish rakehell and fortunehunter Andrew Robinson Stoney, who married (and subsequently was divorced by) Mary Eleanor Bowes, the Countess of Strathmore, who became known as "The Unhappy Countess" due to the tempestuous liaison. The Countess of Strathmore is one of the ancestors of Queen Elizabeth II. The revised version, which is the novel that the world generally knows as "Barry Lyndon", was shorter and tighter than the original serialization, and dropped the FitzBoodle, Ed. device. It generally is considered the first "novel without a hero" or novel with an antihero in the English language. Upon its publication in 1856, it was entitled by Thackeray's publisher "The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq. Of The Kingdom Of Ireland Containing An Account of His Extraordinary Adventures; Misfortunes; His Sufferings In The Service Of His Late Prussian Majesty; His Visits To Many Courts of Europe; His Marriage and Splendid Establishments in England And Ireland; And The Many Cruel Persecutions, Conspiracies And Slanders Of Which He Has Been A Victim." See more »
The score includes two selections from Franz Schubert, whose music postdates the time period of the film. 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 »
Kubrick's adaptation of Thackeray's Barry Lyndon sharply divides fans of the great director's work, as the languid pace and seemingly interminable running time -- not to mention Ryan O'Neal's questionable performance in the title role -- are cherished by some and deplored by others. Little argument will be made against John Alcott's Academy Award-winning cinematography or Ken Adam's production design, however, and Kubrickian motifs are manifest in the gallery of characters' wide-ranging displays of cowardice, guile, duplicity, avarice, jealousy, greed, and cruelty. Marisa Berenson is terribly short-changed in her role as the Lady Lyndon, but a number of other performers are given the opportunity to create a handful of memorable moments -- especially Arthur O'Sullivan (albeit briefly) as the charming, intelligent highwayman and Patrick Magee as the Chevalier. Love it or hate it, Barry Lyndon will remain essential viewing for aficionados of the director, who enjoys taking his usual shots at the more discouraging aspects of human behavior.
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