Richard III

Richard III

4.6 5

Cast: Cedric Hardwicke, John Gielgud, Nicholas Hannen


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Laurence Olivier was the director, co-screenwriter (with Alan Dent), and star of this robust adaptation of Shakespeare's drama, which, as Bruce Eder has written, "was the final, crowning glory of the British studio system and the end of the great cycle of British films aimed at international audiences." Olivier begins his Richard III with Edward IV (Cedric…  See more details below


Laurence Olivier was the director, co-screenwriter (with Alan Dent), and star of this robust adaptation of Shakespeare's drama, which, as Bruce Eder has written, "was the final, crowning glory of the British studio system and the end of the great cycle of British films aimed at international audiences." Olivier begins his Richard III with Edward IV (Cedric Hardwicke) being crowned king. In the background of the celebration, Richard (Laurence Olivier) jealously views the proceedings and begins to pick off those obstructing his pathway to the throne. Eventually, Richard becomes king and, after proceeding with a succession of intrigues and duplicities, he finds his kingdom in dire peril, set upon by Henry Tudor (Stanley Baker) and mustering a final defense for his realm at the Battle of Bosworth.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
This 1955 film offers a rare boon, the opportunity to see three of the 20th century's greatest British actors -- Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, and Sir Ralph Richardson -- acting together in the same production. Olivier, the director and star of Richard III, overarches the film in a portrayal of Richard that ranges from impishly wicked to fiendishly diabolical. Early on, he is perversely endearing. His hooked nose, his hunched back, and his halting gait make him a quaint sideshow. Later on, he is unabashedly horrifying. His serial murders of men, women, and children make him a grotesque main attraction that, curiously, still attracts as well as repels. We like Richard, for he is more audaciously sinister and wicked than the sum of all villains since Cain. He dares to do what we all would like to do to a haughty boss or a nincompoop neighbor, if we had no conscience. Often during his performance, Olivier turns away from his interlocutors and looks directly at the audience, confiding his inmost thoughts and feelings. This visual technique works well to establish a relationship with the audience. Gielgud and Richardson support Olivier with wonderful performances. Other distinguished British actors -- including Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Claire Bloom, and Stanley Baker -- also perform with savoir-faire. But the film is not perfect. Olivier sometimes takes unnecessary liberties with Shakespeare's text. Also, because the production was filmed in Technicolor, the reds and blues and yellows scream for attention in their vividness, often overpowering the importance of a dagger or a menacing smile. Nevertheless, Richard III is an extraordinary film that will likely survive the test of time.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
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[Full Frame]
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Special Features

*New high-definition digital master of the Film Foundation's 2012 restoration
*Audio commentary by playwright and stage director Russell Lees and John Wilders
*Interview with actor Laurence Olivier from a 1966 episode of Great Acting
*Gallery of behind-the-scenes and production stills and posters
*Twelve-minute television trailer featuring footage of Olivier and other cast
*PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Amy Taubin

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cedric Hardwicke Edward Plantagenet (King Edward IV)
Laurence Olivier Richard III
John Gielgud George, Duke of Clarence
Nicholas Hannen Archbishop of Canterbury
Claire Bloom Lady Anne Neville
Ralph Richardson Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham
Alec Clunes Thomas, Lord Hastings
Stanley Baker Henry Tudor
Mary Kerridge Elizabeth Woodville (Queen Elizabeth)
Pamela Brown Jane Shore
Paul Huston Edward, Prince of Wales
Russell Thorndike First Priest
Norman Fisher Monk
Andrew Cruickshank Brankenbury
Clive Morton Antony Woodville, Earl Rivers
Dan Cunningham Grey
Douglas Wilmer Marquess of Dorset
Michael Gough Dighton
Michael Ripper 2nd murderer
Roy Russell Abbot
George Woodbridge Lord Mayor of London
Esmond Knight Sir Richard Ratcliffe
John Laurie Lord Lovell
Peter Williams Messenger to Hastings
Timothy Bateson Ostler
Willoughby Gray Priest
Ann Wilton Scrub woman
Bill Shine Beadle
Deering Wells Clergyman
Richard Bennett George Stanley
Patrick Troughton James Tyrell
Brian Nissen 1st Messenger
Alexander Davion 2nd Messenger
Lane Meddick 3rd Messenger
Robert Bishop Messenger
John Greenwood Knight
Bernard Hepton Actor
Laurence Naismith Thomas, Lord Stanley
John Phillips John Howard, Duke of Norfolk
Derek Prentice Clergyman
Norman Wooland Sir William Catesby
Helen Haye Queen Mother

Technical Credits
Laurence Olivier Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Colley Cibber Screenwriter
Helga Cranston Editor
Alan Dent Screenwriter
Carmen Dillon Art Director
Roger Furse Production Designer
Otto Heller Cinematographer
Alexander Korda Co-producer
L&H Nathan Ltd. Costumes/Costume Designer
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
H. Nathan Costumes/Costume Designer
Tony Sforzini Makeup
Wally Veevers Special Effects
William Walton Score Composer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Richard III
1. Opening Credits And Preamble [3:07]
2. Coronation Of Edward IV [5:29]
3. "Now Is The Winter . . . " [5:10]
4. Gentle Lady Anne [7:14]
5. "Plots Have I Laid" [5:15]
6. "Why Dost Thou Spit At Me?" [7:20]
7. Death Warrant For Clarence [2:34]
8. Clarence's Dream [8:52]
9. Deciding On An Heir [4:30]
10. Dream Come True [3:52]
11. King Edwards's Bedside [2:57]
12. Richard's Good Spirits [7:45]
13. "To Sanctuary" [4:42]
14. Prince Edward And The Duke Of York [7:10]
15. "Go We Unto The Tower" [3:01]
16. "Plots Afoot" [2:14]
17. Council Of The Crown [6:29]
18. The Lord Mayor Takes A Ride [8:08]
19. Buckingham's Concoction [2:00]
20. "Two Props Of Virtue" [2:22]
21. Richard's Royal Queen [6:51]
22. Coronation Of Richard III [3:55]
23. Securing The Crown [3:05]
24. "Thus Lay The Gentle Babes" [8:02]
25. Stanley Consorts With Buckingham [2:31]
26. News Of Richmond [:32]
27. Bosworth Field [4:40]
28. Eve Of Battle [5:18]
29. Ghosts Of Victims Past [3:38]
30. Battle Of Bosworth Field [5:13]
31. "My Kingdom For A Horse" [7:22]
32. Stanley Crowns Richmond [2:54]
33. Color Bars [4:09]
1. Shakespeare's Richard III [3:07]
2. Family Politics [5:29]
3. Olivier's Richard [5:10]
4. Seduction Of Lady Anne [7:14]
5. Vice Character [5:15]
6. Verse And Poetic Devices [7:20]
7. Connection To Henry VI [2:34]
8. Sir John Gielgud [8:52]
9. Shakespeare On-Screen [4:30]
10. "Humor Of The Murderers" [3:52]
11. Wars Of The Roses [2:57]
12. Absence Of Queen Margaret [7:45]
13. Legend Of Richard III [4:42]
14. The History Play [7:10]
15. The Good Uncle [3:01]
16. Richardson As Buckingham [2:14]
17. Power Politics [6:29]
18. "Old-Boy Network Of Evil" [8:08]
19. Richardson And Olivier [2:00]
20. Play Within A Play [2:22]
21. Art Of Rhetoric [6:51]
22. Turning Point [3:55]
23. Editing Shakespeare [3:05]
24. Deaths Of The Princes [8:02]
25. "A Woeful Buckingham" [2:31]
26. Bring In Richmond [:32]
27. Tragedy [4:40]
28. "Basic Human Instinct" [5:18]
29. One Unfortunate Cut [3:38]
30. Brando And Olivier [5:13]
31. "History Doesn't Repeat Itself" [7:22]
32. Olivier's Message [2:54]
33. Color Bars [4:09]
Disc #2 -- Richard III
1. "My Boy Isn't Bad, Is He?" [8:11]
2. "A Burning Ambition" [8:53]
3. Hamlet [8:25]
4. Richard III [8:15]
5. Othello [7:58]
6. The Entertainer [5:57]

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Richard III 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sir Laurence Olivier's epic production of William Shakespeare's "Richard III" is a classic and his greatest masterpiece after his stunning version of "Hamlet" in 1948, which won him Oscars for Best Picture and Best Actor...with good reason. Of course, Olivier had to cut the play, but he did it very well. I liked the way he intertwined Richard's opening monologue (one of the most famous in English literature) with parts of another monologue from "King Henry VI, Part III" (a less popular play but everything the Bard wrote-37 plays, 4 poems and 154 sonnets-is excellent). I highly recommend this version for English classes. This version is Not Rated. AVOID the 1995 modern "Remake" of this play. It is a waste of time and talent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Olivier's Masterpiece
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago