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Antony and Cleopatra (1975)

Richard Johnson , Janet Suzman , Jon Scoffield  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Johnson, Janet Suzman, Rosemary McHale, Mavis Taylor Blake, Darien Angadi
  • Directors: Jon Scoffield
  • Writers: William Shakespeare
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2004
  • Run Time: 161 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002235QM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,450 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Antony and Cleopatra" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Richard Johnson, Patrick Stewart, Janet Suzman. Two of history's most famous lovers are caught between their consummate passion for each other and the struggles for power among rulers of the Roman world. 1974/color/161 min/NR/fullscreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Performance! April 21, 2000
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant performance of Antony and Cleopatra..... and I say this as a reader/viewer who normally likes to read but not watch Shakespeare. Janet Suzman as Cleopatra is at least as fine a Cleopatra as Liz Taylor (and infinitely superior to Leonor Varela's embarrassingly adolescent portrayal), but Richard Johnson as Antony is so marvelous that you can only think of Richard Burton as an unappealing weakling after watching Johnson. What a marvelous Antony - FINALLY you can begin to understand why Cleopatra loved him! And don't miss a younger Patrick Stewart as a very dramatically effective and engaging Enobarbus. This is a film that bears repeated watching; I've watched it three times in one week and will undoubtedly view it far more than most videos on my shelf. The staging and sets aren't noteworthy but you don't even need them because the acting (filmed very closeup) is so superb. This deserves to be a classic. Don't miss it.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great performances! March 11, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I've seen this play on film and on stage, but this British television version is by far the best version I've seen. Richard Johnson seems to be EXACTLY the embodiment of Marc Antony that Shakespeare must have envisioned - pure poetry and agony. And Janet Suzman channels Cleopatra in a way that is almost spooky (Cleo lives!). I also personally love the set design, which is solely used to create the mood of the characters and plot. This is like a stage play, in that it allows the viewer to focus on the characters, not on locations (I'll leave that to the deeply inferior movie version that plays the story out like an over-produced historical document). Trevor Nunn proves that one doesn't need lavish productions in order to recreate great Shakespeare. Just get some great actors on an open set and let the magic happen!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
I'm not sure what the above reviewers were looking for, but I have had an English bootleg of this production for years, and have never seen a better one. Janet Suzman and Richard Johnson wowed all of the English critics when this RSC production was onstage. And Patrick Stewart won every supporting actor award that season. And, it's directed by the great Trevor Nunn. Nuff said! I'm glad to get a new DVD copy of this production. Any classical theater fan or Roman history buff needs to have this one in their collection.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Cool a Gypsy's Lust ... May 27, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Directors of "Antony and Cleopatra" must decide what story to tell. Should it be the geopolitical conflict between East and West, the refined culture, hedonism and mysticism of Egypt versus the stern militarism and morality of Rome (and its Judeo-Christian legacy)? Or, should it be a tragi-comic near-melodramatic story of great lovers torn apart by war and their human frailty, but finally united in death? Or, should it be a chilling power struggle, stuffed with machiavellian deceit, betrayal and murder? Trevor Nunn's Royal Shakespeare Company production succeeds in telling all three stories, remains faithful to Shakespeare, and provides entertainment that is easy for contemporary audiences to enjoy. Given Nunn's success with this play and others, why are so few RSC productions of Shakespeare available in the United States?

Nunn elegantly portrays the difference between Rome and Alexandria. Rome is presented as if in a bare, large, air-conditioned, brightly lit room. The background is pure white. Caesar and the Romans look clear eyed and freshly showered, shaved, with hair cut short and neatly combed, wearing pure white robes, so unwrinkled they might have been starched. Everything is simple and transparent, there is right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood, and one's duty is to do right. That is, one's duty is to faithfully serve Octavius Caesar.

In Egypt nothing is pure or simple. The air feels thick and objects appear hazy, as if seen through a fine gauze. Intimate rooms glow warmly with gold, silken-satin colored fabrics, richly embroidered tapestries, and immense luxuriously upholstered cushions. Ancient flutes and harps provide music, the moody food of love.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fine production, but flawed February 18, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Shakespeare's plays are essentially theatrical, and difficult to bring off on screen. This production succeeds admirably in many respects. It doesn't go for visual spectacle: quite apart from anything else, it couldn't hope to compare on that score with the Hollywood Burton/Taylor extravaganza. Instead, with a minimum of props or sets, it focuses on the actors' faces, and on the verse. And when Patrick Stewart, as Enobarbus, describes Cleopatra's first meeting with Antony ("the barge she sat in, like a burnished throne..")the viewer's mind may conjure up for itself spectacles far more impressive than anything Hollywood has to offer.
Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra are both middle-aged, looking back on past glories and haunted with the awareness of failing powers. They are among Shakespeare's greatest creations, and Johnson and Suzman capture superbly their complexities. Corin Redgrave's Octavius, however, is more controversial. Certainly, Octavius is a calculating politician: but should he really be so ice cold, and devoid of emotion? This presentation seriously unbalances the play. The wonderful scene where he expresses grief on hearing of Antony's death here passes for nothing, for we simply cannot believe that Octavius - as presented here - is capable of feeling anything at all.
The other problem with this production is the text: most Shakespeare plays can stand a bit of judicious cutting, but the cuts here are so extensive, that the text is effectively mangled. Would another forty minutes or so really have over-taxed the viewer's attention span?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good!
Published 2 months ago by donquixote
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Production but Too Much Overacting!
This, the Royal Shakespeare Company production of a little viewed play, was produced in the early to mid 70s. It boasts of flashes of brilliance. Read more
Published 19 months ago by The Peripatetic Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars but there's a major problem...
Being a TV version of a famous RSC production, this is indeed (mainly) an excellent version of the play, with the actors well into their roles by means of stage experience. Read more
Published on July 2, 2010 by Richard di Calatrava
3.0 out of 5 stars Antony & Cleopatra - Shakespeare is not for the small screen
I bought this to show my students who had voted to read Antony and Cleopatra and got lost in the complicated plot and "young English." (I'll never let them choose again. Read more
Published on November 22, 2009 by Luckyone
2.0 out of 5 stars Dated Rendering of Familiar Story
I read elsewhere that this was the best rendering of the famous play available on DVD. The performances and the appearance seemed very dated and almost amateurish.
Published on December 24, 2008 by J. S. Beardall
4.0 out of 5 stars Well acted, accurate version of Shakespeare's play
If you enjoy good acting you will like this version of Antony and Cleopatra. It doesn't have much technology and the sets are very simple, but it has much to offer in characters... Read more
Published on November 27, 2008 by Amateur Stargazer
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent performances
It was filmed for TV and is a bit lacking in visual quality but very much worth seeing for the performances - I enjoyed seeing a young Ben Kingsley in a minor role - also Patrick... Read more
Published on July 21, 2008 by Peregrine Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite good but...
I enjoyed this version of the great Shakespeare tragedy. Ms. Suzeman was superb as Cleopatra, black face and all. Read more
Published on September 3, 2007 by Mark Watson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good performance
"Antony and Cleopatra" is one of Shakespeare's greatest plays where Marc Antony and Cleopatra, both with glorious pasts, have to cope with their dwindling fortunes. Read more
Published on March 29, 2006 by Elijah Chingosho
4.0 out of 5 stars Too Close
The acting is beyond superb. Ms. Suzman IS Cleopata. My only complaint is the directing. This DVD consists of 90% talking heads. Read more
Published on February 6, 2006 by D. Huston
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