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Richard III (1955)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 11 March 1956 (USA)
Shakespeare's powerful tale of the wicked deformed King and his conquests, both on the battlefield and in the boudoir.

Director:

Laurence Olivier

Writers:

William Shakespeare (plays), David Garrick (textual alterations for his production of the play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cedric Hardwicke ... King Edward IV of England
Nicholas Hannen ... Archbishop
Laurence Olivier ... Richard III
Ralph Richardson ... Duke of Buckingham
John Gielgud ... George, Duke of Clarence
Mary Kerridge ... Queen Elizabeth
Pamela Brown Pamela Brown ... Jane Shore
Paul Huson Paul Huson ... Edward, Prince of Wales
Stewart Allen Stewart Allen ... Page to Richard
Claire Bloom ... The Lady Anne
Russell Thorndike Russell Thorndike ... First Priest
Wallace Bosco Wallace Bosco ... Monk (as Wally Bosco)
Norman Fisher Norman Fisher ... Monk
Andrew Cruickshank Andrew Cruickshank ... Brackenbury
Clive Morton ... The Lord Rivers
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Storyline

Richard's military skills have helped to put his older brother Edward on the throne of England. But jealousy and resentment cause Richard to seek the crown for himself, and he conceives a lengthy and carefully calculated plan using deception, manipulation, and outright murder to achieve his goal. His plotting soon has tumultuous consequences, both for himself and for England. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

11 March 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ricardo III See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Laurence Olivier based his characterization of Richard III on a much-despised theatrical director named Jed Harris. Several years later, he learned that the animators at Disney used Harris for the basis of the Big Bad Wolf. See more »

Goofs

For one shot at the end during the battle scene, right around the famous "My kingdom for a horse!" line, Richard's left hand has all five fingers. During the rest of the movie, Richard only has three fingers on his left hand as part of the character's deformities. See more »

Quotes

Richard III: Look how my ring encompasseth thy finger. Even so thy breast encloseth my poor heart. Wear both of them, for both of them are thine.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Most of the film's credits are shown at the end. The opening credits show only the title of the film, Shakespeare's name, and the names of the main actors. See more »

Alternate Versions

Released in Great Britain at 155 minutes; some of the prints released in the USA are 139 minutes. See more »

Connections

Version of Masterpiece Playhouse: Richard III (1950) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Summit of Acting Nobility
25 December 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

It's quite a gap that Laurence Olivier covers between his portrayal of heroic Henry V and the evil Richard III. But he certainly does cover it well.

In fact this production boasts the talents of five knighted thespians in its cast, Olivier as Richard, John Gielgud as Clarence, Ralph Richardson as Buckingham, Cedric Hardwicke as Edward IV and Stanley Baker as the Earl of Richmond. That is probably some kind of record.

Once seen you will not forget the heavily made up Olivier with a shylock type nose and hunchbacked form. Unlike in Henry V and in Hamlet the title character's soliliquys are delivered straight to the audience rather than in voice-over. I think Olivier like Shakespeare wanted to emphasize the evilness of Richard as opposed to the tormenting doubts that Henry and Hamlet suffer. No doubts here, he's got his evil course well planned and he's very matter of factly telling his audience what's in store.

Of course when Shakespeare wrote this he was gearing up the Tudor dynasty propaganda machine. Stanley Baker's Earl of Richmond becomes Henry VII grandfather of the Queen whose patronage Shakespeare enjoyed. It was in Tudor family interest to blacken Richard's name to support their own dynastic claims. There have been several plausible theories put forth to claim the murders of Edward V and his brother were done by others.

One guy who in all the stories about Richard III who gets a whitewash is the Duke of Clarence. As portrayed by John Gielgud, Clarence is an innocent sacrificed in Richard's march for the throne. Actually Clarence was quite the schemer himself. He was in communication with Louis XI of France looking for aid in some plotting he was doing. Edward IV overlooked an incredible amount of treachery with him.

One very big flaw is that the film opens with Edward IV being restored to the throne again in 1471 and he has his son with him. Edward IV died in 1483 and the sons have not aged a mite. I believe they were 12 and 9 when they were put to death in the Tower of London in 1483. I'm surprised Olivier had that in his film.

Still and all it's a fabulous production and one should never miss a chance of seeing all that acting nobility in one film.


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