Richard III

Richard III

Laurence Olivier (1955)

U Certificate


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After turning Henry V into wartime propaganda and Hamlet into film noir on the battlements, Laurence Olivier made Richard III as outright melodrama, a historical pageant that looks like MGM's Ivanhoe. Olivier's stage portrayal of Richard was legendary and the film serves principally as a record of that triumph - thus, it is perhaps less of a movie than its two predecessors. The play's the thing, then, with Olivier's hunchback scowling and lurching around the sets like Charles Laughton's Quasimodo. While Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud and the gorgeous Claire Bloom give performances of great distinction and emotion, Olivier's is more a display of cold technique. Peter Sellers later devised a brilliant send-up of the "Now is the winter of our discontent" soliloquy to the lyrics of A Hard Day's Night.


King Edward IV assumes the English throne in the aftermath of a long civil war. But the hard-won peace is threatened by his ruthless deformed brother the Duke of Gloucester, who is determined to seize the crown and will murder anyone who stands in his way. Adaptation of Shakespeare's play, directed by and starring Laurence Olivier. With Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud, Cedric Hardwicke and Claire Bloom.

Cast & Crew

Richard III Laurence Olivier
Bruno Buckingham Ralph Richardson
Clarence John Gielgud
King Edward IV Cedric Hardwicke
Lady Anne Claire Bloom
Queen Elizabeth Mary Kerridge
Jane Shore Pamela Brown
Hastings Alec Clunes
Director Laurence Olivier
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray