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Richard III (1995)

Ian McKellen , Annette Bening , Richard Loncraine  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)

Price: $68.40 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Richard III + Great Performances: Macbeth + The Tempest
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Robert Downey Jr., Nigel Hawthorne
  • Directors: Richard Loncraine
  • Writers: Ian McKellen, Richard Loncraine, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Ian McKellen, David Lascelles, Ellen Dinerman Little, Joe Simon
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: March 28, 2000
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792844041
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,582 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Richard III" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Shakespeare's immortal tale of ambition, lust and murderous treachery is brilliantly updated and brought to life in this riveting, 20th-century masterpiece. Boasting breathtaking performances, unforgettable imagery and two OscarÂ(r) nominations*, this astounding wartime spectacle is will rivet you and shock you (Jeffrey Lyons, 'sneak Previews ). In 1930s Britain, a savage, civil war between two royal families has just concluded. But even as the newly installed King Edward (John Wood) takes the reins of power, his ruthless, younger brother Richard (Ian McKellen) sets in motion a monstrous scheme to claim the crown for himself. Enlisting the aid of equally duplicitous allies in the court, Richard embarks on a merciless, single-minded campaign of betrayal, seduction and cold-blooded murder to achieve the goal that has obsessed him all of his tortured life: to any price. *1995: Costume Design, Art Direction

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Villany Unveiled. May 29, 2005
A gala ball: The York family celebrate their reascent to power; the War of Roses (named for the feuding houses' heraldic badges: Lancaster's red and York's white rose) is almost over. Actually, the year is 1471, but for present purposes, we're in the 1930s. A singer delivers a swinging "Come live with me and be my love." Richard of Gloucester (Sir Ian McKellen), the reinstated sickly King Edward IV's (John Wood's) youngest brother, moves through the crowd; observing, watching his second brother George, Duke of Clarence (Nigel Hawthorne) being quietly led off by Tower warden Brackenbury (Donald Sumpter) and his subalterns. With Clarence gone, Richard seizes the microphone, its discordant screech cutting through the singer's applause, and he, who himself made this night possible by killing King Henry VI of Lancaster and his son at Tewkesbury, begins a victory speech: "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York" (cut to Edward, who regally acknowledges the tribute). But when Richard mentions "grim-visaged war," who "smooth'd his wrinkled front," the camera closes in on his mouth, turning it into a grimace reminiscent of the legend known to any spectator in Shakespeare's Globe Theatre: that he wasn't just born "with his feet first" but also "with teeth in his mouth;" hence, not only crippled (though whether also hunchbacked is uncertain) but cursed from birth, his physical deformity merely outwardly representing his inner evil.

Then, mid-sentence, the image cuts again.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No discontent with this production July 1, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Ian McKellan played Richard III on the stage in London, then touring the world, under Richard Eyre's direction and the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain's auspices. Like many great productions of Richard III in the past, there was an anticlimactic sense about things when the lengthy run ended - McKellan compares his production (justifiably) to those of Henry Irving and David Garrick, but longs for the lasting legacy of Laurence Olivier, who translated his successful stage production into a lasting cinematic production. Richard Eyre issued the challenge to McKellan to produce a screenplay, which he did, in collaboration with Richard Loncraine. Loncraine then produced the film, again starring Ian McKellan as Richard III, updated into a National-Socialist timeframe.

It is true that Shakespeare is the 'author' of Richard III - of course, much of Shakespeare's authoring involved heavy borrowing, redaction and crafting. This is not to take anything away from Shakespeare's achievement, but rather to prove the adage 'good writers borrow from others; great writers steal from them outright'. However, every production of a Shakespeare play requires modification of some sort; bringing Shakespeare productions to the screen (indeed, bringing any stage-play to the screen) requires a recrafting to suit the medium. McKellan and Loncraine rearranged and edited expertly the play to suit a film.

Richard III has been an enigmatic and controversial character - Shakespeare's play is probably more in keeping with Tudor propaganda against Richard III (from whom they took the throne) rather than actual history; Richard's malformed physical form and malicious character may be fictions, or at least great exaggerations, designed to serve the purpose of bolstering Tudor legitimacy.
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Every since Orson Welles and John Houseman started the trend of updating Shakespeare, there have been several innovative interpretations of the Bard. More so that the drug lord culture of 1996's "William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet," this 1995 version of "Richard III" cast in Edwardian England is a successful addition to the tradition. Of course it has one big advantage over other such films in that it is based on the captivating stage production by Ian McKellen and Richard Eyre. Certainly McKellen is totally comfortable in his role, adding a 20th century venire of evil to the calculating Duke of Gloucster on his way to the crown. This Richard is readily accessible to a contemporary audience.
But there is one extremely important caveat to enjoying this film: you have to be familiar with the original play, otherwise you will totally lose the irony of the alterations. For example, in the play Richard woos his intended bride as she follows the casket containing her husband, who had been slain by Richard, who at one point ponders whether a woman had ever been wooed let alone won in such a manner. In the film version the scene takes place in a morgue, with the dead husband lying on the gurney. The scene is gruesome, something you would expect in a splatter flick rather than Shakespeare, but has a certain validity given the original scene. It is, after all, just a question of setting. But if you are not well versed in "Richard III," you simply can not appreciate the McKellen version.
Of course, this is a marvelous opportunity for teachers who can screen the film, or key scenes, after students have read the play. Imagine the discussions you can have on the range and validity of interpretation available.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars modern classic
what a production....Shakespeare in the 20th century and illustrates the timelessness of the theme of Richard III. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Robert A. Dahmes
1.0 out of 5 stars Deplorable Nazification of Richard III.
Viewed: 2/14
Rate: 2

2/14: Upon seeing the trailer of Richard III, I was fooled into thinking that it might be a modern picture about a dictator; however, my... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Austin Somlo
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rich Adaptation
This is perhaps the most entertaining and intellectually rich adaptation of any of Shakespeare's plays; originally a stage production put on by director Richard Loncrane and star... Read more
Published 2 months ago by cardking_01
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare to enjoy
This is Shakespeare for everyone to appreciate. He intended his plays to be for contemporary audiences - and this does it whilst maintaining his exquisite language.
Published 3 months ago by Tony Petrie
5.0 out of 5 stars McKellen is the best
one of my favorites of all time. this movie brings back memories and well as continuing to interest me as I watch it again and again
Published 4 months ago by bwolz
5.0 out of 5 stars this Richard III will convince you
This is a great movie which coincidentally is Shakespeare without the boring bits; well the bits of the story that are unintelligible to those who are a little afraid of the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Elizabeth C
4.0 out of 5 stars I Love This Movie!
I was so glad to find this old copy for sale here! I had taped this movie off TV and accidentally deleted it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Carol Chase Mcelheney
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
I really enjoyed this version. Shakespeare told by great story tellers and actors. How can you miss with Ian McKellen!
Published 8 months ago by rpm0017
1.0 out of 5 stars Captions? NOT!
There are not english captions on the DVD. Period. Change the listing. The captions are FRENCH. I am hard-of-hearing and need english captions. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Winnie
5.0 out of 5 stars RICHARD III DVD from
I had just finished directing a stage production of this famous Shakespeare play when I decided to compare it with various professionals who had committed it to various videos. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jack Petersen
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