19 user 2 critic

The Mayor of Casterbridge (2003)

At a country fair, young hay-trusser Michael Henchard quarrels with his wife Susan, and in a drunken fit decides to auction off his wife and baby to a sailor for five guineas. The next day,... See full summary »


David Thacker


Thomas Hardy (novel), Ted Whitehead (screenplay)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ciarán Hinds ... Michael Henchard (as Ciaran Hinds)
Juliet Aubrey ... Susan Henchard
Jodhi May ... Elizabeth Jane
James Purefoy ... Donald Farfrae
Polly Walker ... Lucetta Templeman
Darren Hawkes Darren Hawkes ... Auctioneer
Jean Marsh ... Furmity Woman
Michael Beint Michael Beint ... Coachman
Clive Russell ... Newson
John Surman John Surman ... Tent Auctioneer
Susan Jane Tanner Susan Jane Tanner ... Staylaces Dealer
Tony Haygarth ... Solomon Longways
David Bradley ... Councillor Vatt
Richard Moore Richard Moore ... Councillor Chalkfield
Elliot Head Elliot Head ... Waiter


At a country fair, young hay-trusser Michael Henchard quarrels with his wife Susan, and in a drunken fit decides to auction off his wife and baby to a sailor for five guineas. The next day, realizing his loss, he swears not to touch liquor again for as many years as he has lived so far. Eighteen years later, Henchard has become Mayor of Casterbridge, a man well respected but not well liked. The unexpected return of his wife and daughter Elizabeth Jane sets off a turn of events that force him to face the consequences of his selfish impulses and violent temper. Written by Raya Jacob

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Version of The Mayor of Casterbridge (1978) See more »

User Reviews

A little rushed, but brilliant.
18 August 2003 | by drew_graham1See all my reviews

Thomas Hardy is an indisputable literary genius. Why I never thought to read the Mayor of Casterbridge is beyond me. I imagine I always found his lead heroines more intriguing than his title heroes (Tess, Eustacia from the Return of the Native, Bathsheba from Far From the Madding Crowd, etc.). I saw this A&E production tonight and found that, despite the ads that ran too often and too many, this story is not only captivating but heartbreaking, as we've come to expect from Hardy.

This film involves a complex plot only Hardy could provide. The title character is a well-respected, wealthy mayor of a prosperous town and the owner of a granary. When Michael Henchard's past mistakes and associations return to haunt him years later, he, his long-lost wife and daughter, his one-time lover and a young man who finds himself involved with all become intertwined in a tragic, moving, but somehow uplifting story.

Stellar acting make this film work, even if it does seem rushed at times, and the story sometimes seems crammed in its time frame. While Ciaran Hinds in the lead sort of bugs and scares me, in the end, my mom and I both found ourselved in tears at his plight and the ending. Thomas Hardy's stories often seem hopeless and Godless, but nevertheless lead to careful examination of human nature and society.

A thought-provoking, tragic (traditional of Hardyist stories), emotionally intense ride, The Mayor of Casterbridge is one of those rare gems of television.


4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 19 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

17 August 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Burmistrz Casterbridge See more »

Filming Locations:

Askerswell, Dorset, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(2 parts)

Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed