Richard III [1995]

Stars: Laurence Olivier, Wally Bascoe, Claire Bloom, Pamela Brown, Alec Clunes
Genre: Drama, War
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 158 minutes

The third and final entry in Laurence Olivier's Shakespeare triptych, Richard III (1954) is an audacious portrait of a man determined to prove himself a villain. As the personification of evil impudence, Olivier portrays the Duke of Gloucester with such aplomb that he brings the audience onto his side. This is true even as Richard engineers plots to murder his brother Clarence (John Gielgud), betray his cousin Buckingham (Ralph Richardson), and seduce his niece Lady Anne (Claire Bloom). From the play's famous opening lines ("Now is the winter of our discontent"), Olivier delivers every speech with truly Machiavellian splendor, and his superb staging of the climactic battle rivals his work on Henry V. Regrettably, this would be Olivier's last Shakespeare film, as a planned adaptation of Macbeth was abandoned for financial reasons. Olivier justly received an OscarĀ® nomination for his performance; and believe it or not, this film was the inspiration for the original Blackadder! --Kevin Mulhall

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