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4.4 out of 5 stars98
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 18 October 2001
It really annoys me when critics say Kubrick was cold and inhuman in the treatment of his characters.This film made after the infamous Clockwork Orange has heart rending scenes of human frailty and oppertunism gone wrong. The tale of an eighteenth century irish rouge and his often inept efforts at social advancement This makes a change from recent costume dramas being that it is told from a male perspective and his journey into becoming a social chameleon, which ultimatley ends in tragedy.
There is as always in Kubrick films faultless detail and slow deleberate camera movements and of course the ground breaking cinemaphotography wich use's natural light. Kubrick's great unmade Napoleon was to be made the year before which was scuppered by the release of Waterloo and you can get a hint of what he would have done in the Napolionic battle scenes here. In my opinion his most moving film with great performances and unforgettable music. By the way will someone please release the soundtrack.
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on 11 September 2001
Ryan O Neal stars in the title role of this historical epic about the adventures of a gentlemanly rogue travelling the battlefields and parlours of 18th century Europe. Determined to make for himself the life of a nobleman through seduction, gambling and duelling in this methodical film showing the rhythm and life of the period. Director Stanley Kubrick brings his usual eye for detail to this underrated drama, which boasts some very spectacular locations and great cinematography by John Alcott who won an Oscar for his work.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 November 2014
The perfect gift for all historical movie enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
The beauty, the depth, and the mystery of this film are unsurpassable - what Kubrick was doing with light is just a miracle. Special lenses were designed to shoot interiors and exteriors in natural light. In one scene Barry (Ryan O'Neil) was having a dinner with a German woman who was feeding her baby and the candle light made the whole scene look like a Caravaggio's painting. This is just one of many scenes. Each of them is perfection and harmony. Costumes and sets were crafted in the era's design. Age of Enlightenment with its gallantry, wars, and duels, had been recreated in the film with the precision of the celebrated landscape and portrait masters of the period such as Thomas Gainsborough; Sir Joshua Reynolds, founder of the Royal Academy of Arts; George Romney to name just a few. If nothing else, watching BL is pure aesthetic delight - and there is one man who responsible for it, Stanley Kubrick. If ever divine film was made, "Barry Lyndon" was it and Kubrick could've quoted the Bible - "God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good".

I've read the comments and articles that call "Barry Lyndon" cold, slow, boring, "the collection of pretty pictures', "flawed" masterpiece, and the most ridiculous one, "glittering ornament with a hollow center". I simply can't understand it. "Barry Lyndon" is the most compelling and compassionate realization of the inevitable finality of everything in this world which was presented by the visionary director with elegant sensual melancholy. Stanley Kubrick known for his detached, seemingly remote and non-sentimental style chose to reach out to his viewer directly during the epilogue, "It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personalities lived and quarreled, good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now". I don't recall any other movie that would illustrate the old wisdom, "everything will pass" in such sublime and deeply moving way.
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on 5 November 2001
Barry Lyndon is a magnificent, sweeping epic. Tracing an Irish adventurers progress across 18th century Europe, it is a roller coaster ride, full of action. Ryan O'Neal plays the "hero" who (depending on your perspective) could be described as a loveable rougue, or something far less polite! The film charts his journey to greatness, his inability to control himself, and his inevitable fall from glory.
The costumes, settings and atmosphere created by the movie are superb, as is the classical soundtrack. It is far more exciting then most costume dramas screened on terrestrial tv. It is a long film, but it is an astonishingly beautiful and haunting masterpiece by the late, great Stanley Kubrick.
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on 3 January 2004
This is, quite simply, the best-photographed and best-lit film in cinema history. Every lover of sumptuous imagery and visual beauty should see this film once - and seen once, you will keep coming back to it. Kubrick, always a bold and innovative director, has produced in Barry Lyndon one of the most severely under-rated films of the past 30 years. If you only ever see one more film - make it this !
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A strange tale of a society that was both ossified and willing to tolerate the newcomer. The film portrays the journey of a young Irishman operating as the Good Soldier Sjvek or Simple Simplissimus as he rode between the armies after his forced exile. The film begins with his relationship with his cousin and his journey into becoming wiser as he leaves his home. Within the backdrop the Seven Years War plays out in the Age of Empires. However our hero moves between the major forces to carve out a role as emissary before plying his wit and engaging in a form of monetary revenge with his erstwhile class foes.

The film is a historical romp, but without any sense of glory, depicting the great game as a way of survival. Soldiers being press ganged and marched into certain death for the Royal Households to gain more subjects - there is nothing glorious about war. The trajectory for each and every player in the game is to marry well. Love and lust were two cards played to the chest, along with power, domination and snobbery. The film explores them all and this story is European in its lack of sentiment or playing to the gallery.

So much for the story.

The way it is filmed, composed, lit and acted however is magnificent. The attention to detail throughout is staggering and brings home both the sumptuousness of an era when the Empire was expanding in all directions. The aristocracy were building temples to their new found wealth and filling it with art, furniture, oriental carpets and ornate views built for them by Capability Brown. Here the viewer is provided with a visual excess, which is never overplayed, but emanates with full effect of both the English countryside to the decadence of a bourgeois lifestyle.

The story itself shows the inherent sadness within the bourgeois everyday world, riddles with intrigue, sadness, power plays and deceit. By the end the focus has shifted from the first half in an extremely clever psychological twist. This film languishes when it should be up there with Apocalypse Now, Godfather etc as one of the heralded greats. Ryan O' Neil with a cast of British greats, John Bindon, Steve Berkoff and a host of greats - Rigsby, Special Branch, Michael Hordern all abound in something which is very special.
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on 5 June 2004
Barry Lyndon is a haunting tale woven beautifully into a rich and almost static and slow moving tapestry. Some critics famously argue about the coldness of Kubric's characters in his work but here in lies the secret to the success of the film. Emotion is something that is hard not to create, there is more than enough emotion in the visuals and score for the audience. The amazing use of music again by the director enhances the visual feast to the point of over indulgence and I feel that the theme of the film is about beauty and indulgence.
Although not rated as highly as Full Metal Jacket or The Shining I really liked this film. The choice of cast for the film is top class with each character the personification his or her role.
Who could not admire the scene when Barry walks out to meet Lady Lyndon, the beauty of that scene alone is worth watching the film Barry Lyndon. Watch this film and you treat yourself.
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on 14 July 2002
See it ! I have read the book and the movie does justice to that
great man of letters William Makepeace Thackerey. Only there is
no peace and even death seems like luxury in this war torn lanscape where anything goes and where Barry is God a man of no morals and no religion whatsoever.The fall of the old aristocracy and the rise of a problematic middle class where money is the only measure of power and the only cultural, social and political value, where opportunism reigns supreme like inside a Hogarth painting leaves the spectator with a taste of
bitterness like a black morning coffee heralding the futility
of the Age of Enlightment, Voltaire and the Great Encyclopedia.
Excellent !
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on 2 October 2002
A film which has for a very long time been considered the weakest link in the Kubrick canon, 'Barry Lyndon' is an absolute masterpiece of film-making which improves with every subsequent viewing. This was Kubrick's first flop both critically and commercially when released, partly due to its' incredible cost (Every penny of which is right up there on the screen) and the fact that it was a three hour costume drama made in a decade when such films sat uneasily with the more personal and radical cinema coming from America. To be fair, 'Barry Lyndon' is not the easiest film to like upon it's first viewing. The first time I seen it I hated every minute of it, finding Kubrick's deliberate pacing and meticulous compositions sophomoric. However, over the years my interest in Kubrick intensified and I decided to give the film another try. My top ten list of films changes with my moods, but 'Barry Lyndon' remains a constant fixture. Great direction, great soundtrack and the most wonderful cinematography ever (Kubrick famously shot everything by candelight). A beatiful film which is slowly but surely getting the attention it deserves.
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on 1 November 2005
Surley one of the the finest films ever to grace our screens. Kubrick's Barry Lyndon remains absolutely timeless, the cinematography is nothing but beautiful, the lighting and "framing" of shots is incredible, and one never tires of repeated viewings. In fact the experience becomes richer with time and it is with time that you savour the storyline, one that doesn't leap and bound like some latter day cartoon cinema, but exudes depth and absorbs the viewer. The peerless cast excel in their performances exuding rare and appreciable class that draws the viewer further into a difficult to manage period drama. Kubrick unravels this wonderful tapestry before your eyes with the finesse of an Old Master, a true Master of celluloid.
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