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Titus Andronicus (1985)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror | TV Movie 29 June 1985
Roman warrior Titus Andronicus finds himself trapped in a nightmarish cycle of vengeance, misery, and bloodshed.


Jane Howell


William Shakespeare (play)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Davies Prowles Paul Davies Prowles ... Young Lucius
Edward Hardwicke ... Marcus
Walter Brown Walter Brown ... Aemilius
Brian Protheroe Brian Protheroe ... Saturninus
Nicholas Gecks Nicholas Gecks ... Bassianus
Derek Fuke Derek Fuke ... Captain / 3rd Goth / Sempronius
Eileen Atkins ... Queen Tamora
Peter Searles Peter Searles ... Alarbus / 4th Goth / Valentine
Neil McCaul Neil McCaul ... Demetrius
Michael Crompton Michael Crompton ... Chiron
Hugh Quarshie ... Aaron
Gavin Richards Gavin Richards ... Lucius
Crispin Redman Crispin Redman ... Quintus
Tom Hunsinger Tom Hunsinger ... Martius
Michael Packer Michael Packer ... Mutius


Having subdued the Goths, warrior Titus Andronicus returns to Rome to bury his sons, with Gothic Queen Tamora and her retinue as captives. The newly-dead Roman Emperor's two sons, Saturninus and Bassianus, are competing for their father's title. According to Roman custom, Titus sacrifices Tamora's eldest son to the Gods; having the deciding vote, he also chooses Saturninus as Emperor. Both acts have tragic consequences. Written by Peter Brynmor Roberts

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Horror


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

29 June 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In an unusual design choice, Jane Howell had the Roman populace all wear identical generic masks without mouths, so as to convey the idea that the Roman people were faceless and voiceless, as she felt the play depicted a society which "seemed like a society where everyone was faceless except for those in power." In the opening scene, as the former emperor's body is carried out, only Saturninus and Bassianus take their masks away from their faces, no one else, and they do so only to glare at one another. See more »


When Titus cuts Alarbus' chest, blood can clearly be seen squirting out of the knife before it has made contact with Alarbus' skin. See more »


Version of Titus Andronicus (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

a commendable production of a somewhat underrated play
10 September 2018 | by mhk11See all my reviews

Though "Titus Andronicus" is the least impressive of Shakespeare's tragedies, it is quite a sophisticated and subtle drama despite its overweening goriness. The BBC's 1985 production of the play is especially to be commended for its retention of most of the text; the excisions are minor and generally well-judged. There are a few somewhat curious directorial decisions -- such as the heavy emphasis on the young Lucius and an equally heavy emphasis on the fate of Aaron's child (a fate that is left entirely unaddressed by Shakespeare's text) -- but the overall staging of the play is solid.

Trevor Peacock is excellent in the title role. Unlike Anthony Hopkins in the BBC's production of "Othello," he appears to be the rugged soldier whom he is portraying. His husky voice (also on display in his depiction of Feste in "Twelfth Night") is well suited to his often poignant lines.

Hugh Quarshie is likewise outstanding as Aaron. On the page, Aaron can come across as a one-dimensional evildoer whose love for his son is his only leavening quality. However, Quarshie brings him to life as an evildoer who is shrewd and witty as well as ferociously dangerous.

Edward Hardwicke and Elaine Atkins deliver fine performances as Marcus and Tamora respectively. Brian Protheroe is generally good as Saturninus, though he highlights the emperor's puerility excessively; his performance would have benefited from slightly more gravitas.

The remaining performances are likewise impressive, apart from that of Paul Davies Prowles as the young Lucius. That one lackluster performance is a minor blemish, however, in a production that otherwise does justice to a somewhat underrated play.

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