7.5/10
431
6 user

King Lear (2008)

Sir Ian McKellen gives a tour-de-force performance as Shakespeare's tragic monarch, in this special television adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company production of one of the playwright's most enduring and haunting works.

Director:

Trevor Nunn

Writer:

William Shakespeare (play)
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

King Lear (TV Movie 1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An aging King invites disaster, when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters, and rejects his loving and honest one.

Director: Michael Elliott
Stars: Colin Blakely, Leo McKern, Robert Lindsay
King Lear (TV Movie 2018)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An aging King invites disaster, when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters, and rejects his loving and honest one.

Director: Richard Eyre
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Jim Carter, Tobias Menzies
King Lear (1971)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The Shakespeare tragedy that gave us the expression "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." King Lear has not one but two ungrateful children, and it's ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Brook
Stars: Paul Scofield, Irene Worth, Cyril Cusack
King Lear (1987)
Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Everything returns to normal after Chernobyl. That is, everything but art. Most of the great works are lost, and it is up to people like William Shakespear Junior the Fifth to restore the ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Woody Allen, Freddy Buache, Leos Carax
King Lear I (2017)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

King Lear is an in-depth study of love, power and death. Through this film Shakespeare is saying, "Don't blame the gods or the heaven's for the horrors committed on earth. No. Blame hellish inhumanity on those who inhabit the earth."

Director: Alexander Barnett
Stars: Peter Holdway, Jim Zidar, Jared Doreck
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Two ageing fathers - one a King, one his courtier - reject the children who truly love them. Their blindness unleashes a tornado of pitiless ambition and treachery - and their worlds ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Munby
Stars: Ian McKellen, Sinéad Cusack, Danny Webb
Korol Lir (1971)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »

Directors: Grigoriy Kozintsev, Iosif Shapiro
Stars: Jüri Järvet, Elza Radzina, Galina Volchek
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Filmed version of Julie Taymor's live theatrical adaptation of Shakespeare's romantic comedy about young lovers and magical sprites.

Director: Julie Taymor
Stars: Kathryn Hunter, David Harewood, Tina Benko
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Kay Hoog finds a message that indicates that some Incas are still alive, but the secret organisation "Die Spinnen" wants the Incas' gold....

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Carl de Vogt, Ressel Orla, Georg John
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ian McKellen ... King Lear
William Gaunt ... Earl of Gloucester
Philip Winchester ... Edmund
Ben Meyjes Ben Meyjes ... Edgar
Frances Barber ... Goneril
Monica Dolan ... Regan
Romola Garai ... Cordelia
Sylvester McCoy ... Lear's Fool
Jonathan Hyde ... Earl of Kent
Guy Williams Guy Williams ... Duke of Cornwall
Julian Harries Julian Harries ... Duke of Albany
John Heffernan ... Oswald
Russell Byrne Russell Byrne ... First Gloucester Servant / Doctor
David Weston ... Gentleman
Peter Hinton Peter Hinton ... Duke of Burgundy / Captain
Edit

Storyline

Sir Ian McKellen gives a tour-de-force performance as Shakespeare's tragic monarch, in this special television adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company production of one of the playwright's most enduring and haunting works.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 2008 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Król Lear See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

£1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The part of The Fool was previously played by Sir John Hurt in King Lear (1983). Hurt played another of Sylvester McCoy's best-known roles: the Doctor on Doctor Who (2005). McCoy played the seventh Doctor, while Hurt played the War Doctor. See more »

Connections

Version of Kong Lear: Annen del (1985) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Ian McKellen's Hard Hitting Tolstoyan Lear Features A Sizzling Young Cast!
15 March 2014 | by Dan1863SicklesSee all my reviews

This is the best televised KING LEAR I've seen since Laurence Olivier's spectacular all-star version in the mid-Eighties.

The cast is uniformly excellent. Ian McKellen shines as King Lear, both tearful and noble, and Romola Garai is radiant and tender as Cordelia. Frances Barber and Monica Dolan are both deliciously desirable and genuinely menacing as the scheming sisters, Regan and Goneril. Sylvester McCoy is a touching and witty fool, and Philip Winchester is a dangerously seductive Edmund.

Another reviewer raised an interesting question: in what era does this KING LEAR take place? Laurence Olivier's classic version was set in ancient England, with Stonehenge like backdrops and characters resplendent in heavy Celtic ornaments of gold and silver.

This story, however, is clearly meant to be set in Czarist Russia. Lear's hundred knights are re-imagined as singing, dancing, somersaulting Cossacks. His daughters wear delectable ball gowns. And Lear himself is clearly patterned on real-life Russian author Leo Tolstoy. The intriguing question is why Trevor Nunn went this route.

The answer lies in a classic literary essay, "Lear, Tolstoy and The Fool" by George Orwell. Orwell recounts how, in his last years, the one-time womanizer and literary lion Tolstoy became savagely puritanical, renouncing not only sex and alcohol but the literary classics of his youth. He even wrote a religious pamphlet denouncing Shakespeare as a depraved and immoral writer of the decadent past! Orwell does not mock Tolstoy for his opinions, but he does engage in some fascinating speculation about Tolstoy's hatred of Shakespeare. He points out that the last years of Tolstoy's life actually parallel the story of King Lear in uncanny detail. Just like Lear, Tolstoy attempted to renounce his privileges and power as a member of the Russian nobility. His children turned against him when he attempted to give away the family fortune to the poor. He fled from his own lands and died in poverty, accompanied by one faithful daughter.

All this makes for fascinating viewing, but in the final analysis it's the acting and directing that make this production a classic. The intimate use of the camera allows the viewer to go in depth with characters who are usually played as one dimensional monsters. Watch the way Monica Dolan's Regan reaches for her wine cup whenever she's nervous or upset, and you can easily understand what causes her eventual downfall. Watch how Goneril's henchman Oswald turns his back when Goneril is making out with handsome Edmund. Notice how the King of France is exasperated when Cordelia looks to Burgundy instead of him after Lear denounces her as an outcast. All of these characters grow in this sensitive film presentation of Shakespeare's greatest play.


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed

 
Tung Wah Charity Show 2018 - 歡樂滿東華2018 - Episode 02 | Born to Kill – Minissérie | Kekkai Sensen Beyond