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House of Cards 1 Season

Season 1
4.3 out of 5 stars (399) IMDb 8.7/10

House of Cards is a delicious tale of greed, corruption and burning ambition. At its heart is Francis Urquhart, a black-hearted villain with a smiling face, who shares with viewers his estranged humour and secret thoughts to destroy his rivals.

Starring:
Ian Richardson, Susannah Harker

Available to watch on supported devices.

Buy Episode 1 SD $1.99
Buy Season 1 SD $6.99
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Season 1

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1. House of Cards Episode 1

The death of the Prime Minister sparks the faithful Party Whip's ambition. The hunt to find a replacement is on, and if Urquhart lends his support to a winner, he could gain a Cabinet position, but backing a loser could cost him everything.

TV-Y CC Runtime: 55 minutes Release date: November 18, 1990
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2. House of Cards Episode 2

Prime Minister Collingridge tells Urquhart that he is far too valuable in his current post to be offered a ministerial position. A vengeful Urquhart uses a young journalist to leak stories about his rivals just in time for the annual conference.

TV-Y CC Runtime: 57 minutes Release date: November 25, 1990
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3. House of Cards Episode 3

Collingridge steps down. Mattie suspects the Prime Minister was framed, but she is too emotionally involved with Urquhart to realize he is the culprit. Ironically, Collingridge still has faith in Urquhart and feels he is the only man he can trust.

TV-Y CC Runtime: 56 minutes Release date: December 2, 1990
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4. House of Cards Episode 4

As the leadership election looms, Urquhart's leading rivals have been discredited. The truth is beginning to dawn on Mattie, and Urquhart will go to any lengths to prevent her, or anyone else, from finding out what he has done to gain power.

TV-Y CC Runtime: 57 minutes Release date: December 9, 1990
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter Fennessy on July 8, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
House of Cards is the first of three BBC productions based on the writings of Michael Dobb's. It introduces the character of Francis Urquhart, a party whip in the House of Parliament who, spurned by the newly elected PM and under the influence of his Lady Macbeth of a wife, aspires to greater things -- a person whose cleverness and urbanity are only outdone by his villainy. Ian Richardson plays the part to perfection, probably his greatest theatrical triumph, which alone makes this show and the whole trilogy worth seeing. In the manner of a Shakespearean villain Richardson speaks asides to the audience, and the charm of his manner draws the viewers into his confidence and onto his side. Even without speaking his slight glances and facial expressions made for our benefit alone make us his accomplices. Only toward the end of the film when we see the extremes to which his ambition has taken him do we begin to want to disassociate ourselves from him, but by that time we are too far gone. It is an excellent production with a good cast of supporting actors and a fine story line. The motif of the ever present rat is perhaps a tad overdone, but this is a fine bit of British drama. Do see it.
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The trilogy, House of Cards, To Play the King, and The Final Cut is so good it made me change my mind about throwing my television in the dumpster. Ian Richardson is remarkable, the casting is supurb and the story is engrossing. This is a must see production if contemporary British political intrigue is up your street.
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Part Macbeth, part Richard III, and part Liva of I Claudius fame, Francis Urquhart burns a lasting image on the mind.
Ian Richardson is masterful in bringing Michael Dobbs' rich charachter to life, using each aside to invite the viewer to come along for the ride as this political "backroom boy" makes his way towards 10 Downing Street as nimbly as Liva led Tiberious towards the throne.
Dark and rich satire, with classic lines throughout. Not just worth watching, but worth owning for repeated views.
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Because an exceedingly verbose (not to mention obtuse) review of this show has already been written, I'll cut to the chase: Francis Urquhart (referred to as "FU" by friend and foe alike in the show), brilliantly portrayed by Ian Richardson, is the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) bad guy to ever grace the small screen. Never in your life will you loathe a character so much as FU. Never will you cringe as much as you will when FU turns to the camera and explains to you exactly what his dastardly plans are and exactly how he intends to carry them out. Never will you be more horrified as when you see FU's every plot and subplot come to fruition, despite being always on the verge of exposure. And never will you be happier to have witnessed such brilliant performances all the way across the board set within a complex, intriguing storyline. Buy this movie -- it will be the best money you spend for a long, long time.
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"House of Cards" may be the most fun many of us can have watching "Masterpiece Theater". It's story tells little more than the ascension of Francis Urquart (Ian Richardson) from a "party whip" in British Parliament to the ultimate position of Prime Minister. Schooled in the mechanics of parliaments' nastier side, Urquart outclasses those who stand between him and his prize. Aided by his wife, but finding much help in his rivals' wooden-headed resolve to play fair, FU is all but assured of triumph. While political evils are normally excused based on their good intentions, Urquart's are so irredeemably blackened that you'll never doubt how evil a guy he is - associating himself with greed, the police state and, when that's not enough, Americans (the epitome being a loud and corpulent sod who, while Urquart has yet to become PM, discusses his plans for FU's government; to drive home what those plans entails, the villainous yank presses FU while halfway through a steak large enough to have come from 2 cows). While FU counsel's caution, the only obstacle, ironically, is his love for a young journalist who has enough material to expose and bring his march on Parliament (like FU himself) to its knees. Will the evil FU (who communicates to us the depth of his dark ways with an on-running soliloquy ala Richard III) succumb to love, or will he stay true to form?
Though Urquart wears his evil openly, he and this multi-parter are actually full of surprises. For his wicked ways, FU is probably the most compelling hero you'll likely see on "Masterpiece Theater", and, if you're not up on that show, "House of Cards" is probably your best excuse for watching it at least once.
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Richardson's Urquart is one of the most affably loathsome characters on screen. His occasional glances into the camera and side-comments to the viewer establish a delightfully grotesque camaraderie and implicate us in his crimes. You don't have to be an Anglomaniacal PBS-head to thrill to House of Cards.
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The great Ian Richardson plays Francis Urquhart in a dazzling and spellbinding performance: like Richard III, we find ourselves relishing watching him all the while we are amazed at his evil. His asides to the audience are both deliciously funny and profoundly chilling. He always keeps us guessing, and we cheer for him in spite of ourselves -- yet at the final climax, with its visceral shock, we see that the charm hides a terrifying ruthlessness. Truly disturbing. Highly recommended.
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