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Look Back in Anger (1959)

Richard Burton , Claire Bloom , Tony Richardson  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Price: $18.63 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Mary Ure, Edith Evans, Gary Raymond
  • Directors: Tony Richardson
  • Writers: John Osborne, Nigel Kneale
  • Producers: Gordon Scott, Harry Saltzman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2001
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005PJ6W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,778 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Look Back in Anger" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Richard Burton was riding high in grandiose roles in Hollywood and on Broadway when he returned to Britain to portray trumpet-playing social dropout Jimmy Porter in Tony Richardson's adaptation of John Osborne's groundbreaking 1956 play. Burton's Jimmy works in a public market "sweet stall" where he rubs shoulders with the working class with a condescending air, while he takes out his contempt of bourgeois complacency at home on his spiritually whipped wife (a numb-looking Mary Ure) and her best friend (Claire Bloom). Burton is too old for the part of the self-loathing college grad, but his performance simmers with frustration and misdirected rage that masks the sad, vulnerable underside to his misanthropic swipes. The film became the opening volley in Britain's "New Cinema," a new wave of young directors, working-class themes, and social-realist style. --Sean Axmaker

Product Description

OscarÂ(r) nominee* Richard Burton delivers a passionate performance, and Mary Ure, ClaireBloom, Gary Raymond and Edith Evans give exciting stand-out portrayals (Los Angeles Times)in this powerful and engrossing motion picture (Cue) that bristles with brilliant dialogue (The Hollywood Reporter) and raw human emotion. Rage! His eyes blaze with it and his bodyseethes with it. Jimmy Porter is a man consumed by anger, and every moment he spends in the rank, suffocating squalor of the English factory town that entraps him, propels him closer and closer towards self-annihilation. But Jimmy's savage cruelty is not limited to himself. He also hurts the ones he lovesagain and again. And this time, he's about to commit an act so brutal, so destructive, that his wife Alison, her best friend Helena, and even Jimmy himself may not be able to survive! *Actor: The Robe (1953), Becket (1964), The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1965), Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf (1966), Anne Of The Thousand Days (1969), Equus (1977); Supporting Actor: My Cousin Rachel (1952)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raging Burton December 30, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
On the surface "Look Back in Anger" is a very bleak picture which I wouldn't think I would admire. I was not a big fan of "The Entertainer", another adaptation of a downbeat play by John Osborne. Osborne and director Tony Richardson should be thankful for the calibre of the performances of the principle actors here that have made this a worthwhile enterprise. For starters, Richard Burton as Jimmy Porter, angry open-market candy salesmen, is a revelation. It's not just in the sililoquies that he rails against his station in life that are akin to Shakespeare. Burton's eyes show all the rage and self-hatred. Mary Ure as Porter's long-suffering wife, Allison, quietly demonstrates the pain of loving someone who is incapable of love. Claire Bloom is excellent as Allison's no-nonsense friend Helena who despite her better judgement falls prey to the indescribable spell that Jimmy casts on women who should know better. Gary Raymond as Cliff, Jimmy's best friend, does commendable work here as well. Also noteworthy is Donald Pleasance as Hurst, the overbearing market inspector. This film could very well be a relic of the angry young man period of British film but holds up because of the quality of the acting.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By Bomojaz
John Osborne's play, upon which this movie is based, ushered in a whole slew of "angry young men" plays - all about young Bristishers who spit vitriol at post-War England and all it stood for. Richard Burton has the role of the angry Jimmy Porter, a university-educated man who would rather sell candy in an open market, play jazz trumpet at night, and, most of all, abuse his wife. His performance is stunning (it got him noticed here in the States), but he is just so full of anger at seemingly everything that it's hard to focus sympathy on him. With Britain losing its powerful place in the world after all the sacrifices made during two world wars, such frustrated indignation might appear justifiable, but so much of it seems like raging against the wind: it doesn't seem connected to the humanness of the emotion - it's too detached. The movie, like the play, has some great dialogue, however, and it's very well photographed.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars From a real Osborne fan April 28, 2002
First, one of the other reviews for this film seems to be stating that Burton played Jimmy Porter on stage. This is not true. Osborne's autobiography describes Burton as needing a serious career boost after his previous toga films had gotten him nowhere (though, still, Osborne then says it was Burton's name that got the film financed). Burton took on the film for very little money (and, yes, he is too old for the part.) Mary Ure is the only actor from the stage production. (And at this late date it seems a great loss Alan Bates didn't reprise Cliff in the film.) My thanks to the reviewer who mentioned Pauline Kael's review. It certainly makes me reconsider how much power the film had in its time. But still everyone seems to be missing the point of the story. It isn't a conventional triangle. The play greatly upset the establishment in its day because it is an violent assault on class and cultural issues of the time. Jimmy is not a working-class hero. Kenneth Tynan described him as part of the "non-U intelligensia" but this is wrong. The film mentions, though perhaps doesn't make clear, that Jimmy has been to college, a very mediocre college. His working a sweets barrel is part of his rejection of the social order. But it is his marriage that is the central class conflict, as his wife, Alison, is from a very good family, father an old soldier returned from India, brother at Sandhurst, surely some day an MP. Her family instantly rejected Jimmy, and Jimmy resents Alison's inability to decisively choose sides, hates her for even writing letters to her mother. Alison believes Jimmy decided to marry her only after her parents rejected him. In the scheme of the play it is Cliff who is working class, Alison who is ruling class, and Jimmy in-between raging at the world. Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great (sorry, Mr. Burton) Classic August 29, 2001
By Anna
Format:VHS Tape
Richard Burton - who started a legendary career (first on stage, later on screen) with playing Jimmy Porter - would probably have hated the description "classic". But it can't be helped: This movie adaptation of a theatre hit of the London Westend IS a classic by now. And that is mainly due to his wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime performance as Jimmy.
When John Osborne tried to put into words - and he indeed succeeded! as the great theatre critic Kenneth Tynan so rightly pointed out - the deep frustration, sadness and sometimes furious rebellion of the young generation of the 50s (not so far away from the frustration and rebellion of the young generation of today, mind you!), he was incredibly lucky to find a hitherto unknown, rebelliously minded young Welsh actor to play the lead! Burton's tremendously energetic performance became a legend in no time, - and it was and is great to see that he managed to transfer most of that energy into the film version.
It is also great that the wonderfully subtle performance of Mary Ure lost nothing of its riveting intensity in the film, and how convincingly she succeeded in playing up to her partner! Miss Ure (who in my eyes until today is only being matched by Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange and Kate Blanchett) was an actress of great beauty and tremendous talent. Above all, she radiated humaneness and vulnerability, but also great inner strength, in her parts.
Claire Bloom does not quite match the leading performances, but is also very good as the intervening guest who at first hates, and later is fascinated by the husband of her best friend.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars O.k.
This movie was shot in my neighborhood when I was a kid in London.just wanted to see the old hood was o.k
Published 4 months ago by wendy hobson
5.0 out of 5 stars Angry At Being Alive
This film is one of the greatest movies ever made-if you have not seen it you are in for a great movie experiance. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Tony Marquise Jr.
2.0 out of 5 stars A Lot of Anger
I though a classic would naturally be great, but this simply isn't. The story is contrived and implausible, and the acting is so overwrought you wonder if the director was on the... Read more
Published on March 2, 2010 by Alan Weiss
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Burton's Best Performances
Both Richard Burton and Mary Ure make this move a must see, in my opinion. Burton is at his best.

It's a rather true-to-life story about a troubled marriage. Read more
Published on July 27, 2009 by Laura
5.0 out of 5 stars Complexity and cruelty a la Richard Burton
Had read this dark play which was excellent - full of cutting, witty dialogue and complex characters. These actors brought it to life and did it proud. Flawless acting by all. Read more
Published on May 18, 2009 by Nancy Myles
2.0 out of 5 stars awful
This film is full of problems. The first problem is that Richard Burton is horribly miscast as the lead. Read more
Published on September 14, 2008 by Mark bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Look Back in Anger
Based on John Osborne's excoriating play, Tony Richardson's "Look Back in Anger" burst onto the screen in 1958 with piercing dialogue reflecting the stultifying state of the... Read more
Published on June 26, 2007 by John Farr
5.0 out of 5 stars That's Acting
There are great performances by many great actors. but Burton's portrayal of Jimmy Porter is in a class by itself----even with a stellar supporting cast Burton is impossible to... Read more
Published on May 9, 2007 by Stephen J. Deutsch
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but overrated
This is interesting as a period piece. The interest is not, however, in the somewhat untypical and sometimes unbelievable personalities portrayed, as in the streets, the houses,... Read more
Published on November 4, 2006 by William Maudlin
4.0 out of 5 stars Important to see
Despite strong acting on the part of all, I didn't think that the film adaptation was entirely successful, due to the script and direction. It remains a filmed play. Read more
Published on September 1, 2006 by Mme Sally Gordon Mark
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