7.8/10
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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 »

Director:

David Thacker

Writers:

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

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Cast

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
Edit

Storyline

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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

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

Runtime:

(2 parts)

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of The Claim (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Simply fantastic
3 August 2012 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

I haven't been familiar with Thomas Hardy's work for long, in fact my first exposure was Jude the Obscure for GCSEs only four years ago. Since then he has struck me as a truly wonderful author, I find his characters complex and his writing highly thoughtful and atmospheric. The Mayor of Casterbridge does show Hardy fully deserving of this reputation, the story is bleak but beautiful and fascinating also. And this is a fantastic version of it, not quite as good as the 1978 series but just as great. The costumes and settings are evocative and stunning to look at and the photography is very skillful. What also stuck out was the atmosphere, perfectly capturing the story's bleakness but also managing to be genuinely authentic. The music is both beautiful and haunting and never overbearing, the story held my attention for the whole duration and was very moving and the writing is literate and thoughtful, sticking faithfully to the basic spirit of the prose. Ciaran Hinds, whether you dislike or feel pity for Henchard, which is numerous times on both counts, is nevertheless the complete embodiment of this complex role, much like Alan Bates before him. Of the solid support cast, Juliet Aubrey's sympathetic Susan and James Purefoy's startling Farfrae stood out in particular. Jodhi May also convinces in Elizabeth-Jane's despair. Overall, this is a fantastic adaptation and version of a fine book. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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