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The Dresser (2015)

TV-14 | | Comedy, Drama | TV Movie 30 May 2016
0:50 | Featurette
A drama, based on a successful play, about an aging actor (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and his personal assistant (Sir Ian McKellen).


Richard Eyre


Richard Eyre (adapted by), Ronald Harwood (based on the play by)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Anthony Hopkins ... Sir
Ian McKellen ... Norman
Emily Watson ... Her Ladyship
Sarah Lancashire ... Madge
Edward Fox ... Thornton
Vanessa Kirby ... Irene
Tom Brooke ... Oxenby
Ian Conningham ... Kent
John Ashton John Ashton ... Gloucester
Helen Bradbury ... Regan
Annalisa Rossi Annalisa Rossi ... Goneril
Carl Sanderson Carl Sanderson ... Cornwall
Matthew Cottle ... Albany
Martin Chamberlain Martin Chamberlain ... Gentleman


In the closing months of World War II aging actor Sir (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and his wife Her Ladyship (Emily Watson) bring Shakespeare to the provinces with a company depleted by conscription. Sir is plainly unwell, discharging himself from the hospital and Her Ladyship believes he should cancel his upcoming performance of "King Lear". However, Norman (Sir Ian McKellen), his outspoken, gay dresser disagrees, and is determined that the show will go on, cajoling the confused Sir into giving a performance, one which will be his swan song. At the same time, drawing a parallel between King Lear and his fool as Norman, despite ultimate disappointment, serves his master. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This was released thirty-five years after its source play of the same name, by playwright Ronald Harwood, had been first performed. As such, its production celebrated the 35th Anniversary of Harwood's stage play. See more »


Remake of The Dresser (1983) See more »


Composed and Performed by Randy Dunn
See more »

User Reviews

Understated perfection
5 December 2016 | by PipAndSqueakSee all my reviews

My goodness, you don't get better than this. Tony Hopkins and Ian McKellen are perfectly cast in this authentic feeling take on travelling theatre during the second world war. Ill and aged, 'Sir' has premonitions, Norman (the Dresser) is desperate to hang on to what little life he has as Sir's most trusted aide. Without his role he has nothing. Norman is so caught up in his own anxieties he misses the clues to Sir's nagging self-doubts, his statements that 'he can't go on' and that 'really he should be resting at home'. Hopkins's portrayal is so subtle it is heart rending. This subtlety cannot be gained on stage as stray tears cannot be seen from the stalls let alone the gallery. McKellen, meanwhile, fusses and flaps with perfectly understood gay mannerisms for the period setting. As Norman, he gets perfectly right the intonation in his voice as he ducks and bows to Sir. These two actors provide stand out performances but this is not to commend all the other actors who also pull off incredibly touching and believable performances. Oh yes, this is worth watching, just be prepared to be left bereft.

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Release Date:

30 May 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dresser See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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