An aging King invites disaster when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters, and rejects his loving and honest one.


Richard Eyre


Richard Eyre (adapted by), William Shakespeare (based on a play by)
3,894 ( 209)
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 16 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Broadbent ... Earl of Gloucester
Jim Carter ... Earl of Kent
Tobias Menzies ... Duke of Cornwall
Emily Watson ... Regan
John Macmillan ... Edmund
Florence Pugh ... Cordelia
Emma Thompson ... Goneril
Anthony Calf ... Duke of Albany
Anthony Hopkins ... Lear
Simon Manyonda ... Duke of Burgundy
Chukwudi Iwuji ... King of France
Karl Johnson ... Fool
Samuel Valentine ... Lear's Gentleman
Andrew Scott ... Edgar
Christopher Eccleston ... Oswald


An aging King invites disaster when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters, and rejects his loving and honest one.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


When Emily Watson (Regan) recalled being offered her role in this movie, she said, "It's like being called up to play cricket for England." See more »

User Reviews

Elizabethan Language in a 21st Century Kingdom
15 January 2019 | by smithjetSee all my reviews

This is a gripping rendition of Lear with fantastic performances by all. Nearly all the famous and inspiring lines are here. I say "nearly".

There were several cuts to Shakespeare's text that surprised and disappointed me. A couple examples: 1) When Kent (Jim Carter) berates Oswald (Christopher Eccleston) I couldn't wait for Kent's long insulting harangue of Oswald: "A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats, etc." Alas, it was cut. 2) The most shocking scene in the play, the blinding of Gloucester (Jim Broadbent) by Cornwall (Tobias Menzies), contains the line: "Out, vile jelly! Where is your luster now?" Sadly, the second sentence was cut. I saw a performance where Cornwall not only gouges out Gloucester's eye, but when it pops onto the floor, he stomps on it. That still gives me chills, but it is not in this version.

Many other of the famous lines are kept in: "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child", "Every inch a king", And my favorite speech, Edmund's (John MacMillan) "This is the excellent foppery of the world..."

The cuts from scene to scene were a little jarring, and if one is unfamiliar with the text it is difficult to understand the conversations. The gist of the story can be discerned, but at the end I felt slightly disappointed despite the bravura performances. Emma Thompson as Goneril was cold blooded malice; Emily Watson as Regan was a convincing conniver. Andrew Scott was fine as Edgar but the film does not explain how no one could recognize him despite having nothing more than a dirty face and a woman's frock on. The same goes for Jim Carter's Kent, although he did at least shave off his hair and moustache, and wore shabby clothes.

Anthony Hopkins was excellent as Lear, with the full range of emotions Shakespeare gives him: loving, raging, angry, mad and grief stricken.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 42 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | French

Release Date:

28 September 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

King Lear See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed