Laurence Olivier was the director, co-screenwriter (with Alan Dent), and star of this robust adaptation of Shakespeare's drama, which, as Bruce Eder has written, "was the final, crowning glory of the British studio system and the end of the great cycle of British films aimed at international audiences." Olivier begins his Richard III with Edward IV (Cedric Hardwicke) being crowned king. In the background of the celebration, Richard (Laurence Olivier) jealously views the proceedings and begins to pick off those obstructing his pathway to the throne. Eventually, Richard becomes king and, after proceeding with a succession of intrigues and duplicities, he finds his kingdom in dire peril, set upon by Henry Tudor (Stanley Baker) and mustering a final defense for his realm at the Battle of Bosworth. Paul Brenner, All Movie Guide
Laurence Olivier's adaptation of Henry V is one of the finest Shakespeare films ever made, full of rousing action, beautiful colors, and passionate performances. Henry V is the story of the newly crowned king of England, who fights the French for possession of Normandy. Olivier's direction is inventive, beginning the film as if it were a performance at the Globe Theatre, and having it slowly expand so the final battle scenes take place in realistic settings. Released in 1944 during the height of World War II, Henry V didn't receive an American release until 1946, upon which Olivier won a special Academy Award for "his outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director in bringing Henry V to the screen." Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Movie Guide
Although criticized by Shakespeare devotees upon its release because of director, producer, and star Laurence Olivier's decision to excise large portions of the text, his cinematic version of -Hamlet is widely considered the best out of several dozens (and counting). Hamlet (Olivier) is a medieval Danish prince who's still melancholy over the sudden death of his father and the quick, subsequent remarriage of his mother, Queen Gertrude (Eileen Herlie) to his uncle, Claudius (Basil Sydney). Informed by the ghost of his father that Claudius murdered him, Hamlet schemes to take revenge. Unsure how best to proceed, his delays and the horrible secret burdening him eventually lead to the violent snuffing out of several lives in both his family and that of courtier Polonius (Felix Aylmer), whose daughter Ophelia (Jean Simmons) is in love with Hamlet. Greatly influenced by the inventive camera work in Citizen Kane (1941) and by modern, psychological reinterpretations of Shakespeare's play, Olivier's masterpiece was the winner of four Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Actor (Olivier), Best Black and White Art Direction/Set Direction and Best Black and White Costume Design. Karl Williams, All Movie Guide
- Historical Film, Drama
- Period Film, Tragedy, Historical Epic
- Out For Revenge, Haunted By the Past, Great Battles, Crowned Heads, Star-Crossed Lovers, Rise and Fall Stories, Rise To Power, Mothers and Sons
- 07 hr 28 min
- August 1, 2006
- Laurence Olivier , Nicholas Hannen , Cedric Hardwicke , Eileen Herlie , John Gielgud
- Norman Wooland , Alec Clunes , Leslie Banks , Jean Simmons , Ralph Richardson , Basil Sydney , Claire Bloom , Renée Ashershon , Robert Newton , John Phillips , John Gielgud , Laurence Naismith , Ivy St. Helier , Helen Haye , John Greenwood , Derek Prentice , Anthony Quayle , Max Adrian , Robert Bishop , Lane Meddick , Alexander Davion , Richard Bennett , Deering Wells , Ralph Truman , Frank Tickle , Bill Shine , Ann Wilton , Willoughby Gray , Ernst Thesiger , Timothy Bateson , Peter Williams , Michael Shepley , George Robey , George Woodbridge , Brian Nissen , Roy Russell , Francis Lister , John Laurie , Michael Ripper , Michael Gough , Griffith Jones , Douglas Wilmer , Freda Jackson , Dan Cunningham , Robert Helpmann , George Cole , Nicholas Hannen , Harcourt Williams , Jimmy Hanley , Patrick Troughton , Clive Morton , Arthur Hambling , Vernon Greeves , Andrew Cruickshank , Russell Thorndike , Norman Fisher , Morland Graham , Tony Tarver , Frederick Cooper , Jonathan Field , Stanley Holloway , Roy Emerton , Esmond Knight , Valentine Dyall , Peter Cushing , Gerald Case , Terence Morgan , Niall MacGinnis , Janet Burnell , Paul Huston , Felix Aylmer , Pamela Brown , Stanley Baker , Leo Genn , Mary Kerridge
- Laurence Olivier
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