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King Lear (Blu Ray) [2008] [Blu-ray] [Region Free]

Ian McKellen , Frances Barber , Trevor Nunn    Suitable for 15 years and over   Blu-ray
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
Price: 6.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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King Lear (Blu Ray) [2008] [Blu-ray] [Region Free] + Hamlet [Blu-ray] [Region Free] + Macbeth [Blu-ray]
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Product details

  • Actors: Ian McKellen, Frances Barber, Monica Dolan, Romola Garai, William Gaunt
  • Directors: Trevor Nunn
  • Format: Dolby, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Metrodome Group
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Dec 2008
  • Run Time: 175 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001G79Q60
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,381 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

The Royal Shakespeare Company's adaptation of the Bard's famous tale/ this lavish interpretation features an all star cast that includes Sir Ian McKellen, Frances Barber, Sylvester McCoy and Romola Garai.


Ian McKellen's tragic king ranks right up there with those gods of theatre, living and dead. --Variety

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful performances, but low budget 14 Oct 2008
If you are looking for amazing special effects, then this isn't the one for you. Unsurprisingly, throught the film there is an intense feeling of a tight budget. However, with the performances inside, it hardly matters.

I had the fortune to see this while it was at the New London Theatre. None of the magic created by the actors is lost in the film - Romola Garai (Cordelia) is stunning, Frances Barber (Goneril) is absolutely wonderful with perfect timing and a voice to match, Monica Dolan and William Gaunt (Regan and Gloucester) are brilliant, but the shining lights are Sylvester McCoy and Ian McKellen, as the Fool and Lear. McCoy plays a hilarious, spoon-playing fool, and there is a great sympathy towards the character, making his fall incredibly tragic. And McKellen is pitch perfect. His performance as the great King is the definitive version.

There are many more visually stunning versions of this on film, but performance wise, it doesn't get better. I'm inclined to say that if you're studying the text in class, it's probably the best bet. It's very close to the stage production, and isn't inhibited or enhanced by large sets or costumes.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King Lear 21 April 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I can only say that when Shakespeare wrote King Lear, he had this performance in mind. McKellen is magnificent, but so is the rest of the cast. I never saw a better Goneril and Edmund truly gets under your skin. I recommend this DVD wholeheartedly to anyone who loves Shakespeare.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Strong Performance... bar Edmund 19 Mar 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It's a really strong performance, although the televised nature of the DVD does detract somewhat from the original stage performance. However, given that this is to be expected, the overall film is good.
McKellan's Lear is unique and visceral, whilst retaining the gentleness and moving qualities that are essential in the protagonist. However, at times, his performance can, I think overtake the actual text itself - it's quite hard to understand what he's saying at times. Nevertheless, another astounding achievement from McKellan.
Edmund, on the other hand, is pretty rubbish. I think his portrayal of a psychopathic brother is legitimate, but his acting of the part is far too over the top. It's essential that a portrayal of Edmund as insane be conducted with subtlety, and this guy certainly doesn't do that.
Luckily, Frances Barber is spectacular as Goneril - she's obviously evil, but with a depth that expands the role very effectively. Romola Garai is a good and moving Cordelia, without being two-dimensional, and Sylvester McCoy's Fool is an excellent portrayal.
Ben Meyjes is a fantastic Edgar, almost stealing the show. His madness is wonderfully portrayed, and the complexities of his character are constantly held throughout his performance, with his aiding of Gloucester's fall an incredibly moving scene.
Overall, a very very good production, and well worth seeing... just.. try not to let Edmund irritate you!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar Cast and Incredible Production! 3 Oct 2008
I was fortunate to see the RSC's stage production of "King Lear" twice during it's World Tour stop in Minneapolis and Ian McKellan was impressive to say the least. His command of the role kept me on the edge of my seat. I was also impressed with the performances of Frances Barber, Romola Garai and Sylvester McCoy, all of whom held their own very well when on-stage with McKellan. Having this production preserved on DVD is a real treat. My only disappointment is they didn't also record "The Seagull", which used most of the same cast and was running with "King Lear" in repertoire.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Towering performance 20 July 2009
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
King Lear is a mountain of a part to play. Ian McKellen's recent RSC performance was a triumph, both in the UK and on tour and this is a DVD of the production. With a terrific cast (including Romola Garai and William Gaunt) and wonderful staging, this was one of the most eagerly awaited productions for many years and it is great to have this piece of work on permanent record. So why only 4 stars? Well, simply because it is almost impossible to make plays impressive on screen. While this is a good attempt, what seemed lively on stage, appears far more static on screen - this is not the fault of the cast or the direction, but simply a reflection that something gets lost in the process. But it is still the best version of this great play that is available on DVD and well worth owning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passion and intelligence 1 May 2011
Trevor Nunn treats the text of this play with much more respect than he treated that of Twelfth Night (with Bonham Carter et al), and he allows his superb cast to expose the heart of this most challenging of tragedies with passion and subtlety, in a setting reasonably free from details that would undermine its universality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars King Lear 27 Feb 2011
By Indy
Great version-- not something I'd recommend for someone who just wanted a film to watch, as it's long, involved and occasionally gruelling (of course, that's kinda the point of a tragedy). But Ian McKellen is excellent, and the daughters (Goneril and Regan) are better in this version than in any other I've seen. Good price for a great DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Version 9 Aug 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this and feel it's worth watching whatever your ideas about how the play should be performed. It's colourful and there are some good performances and ideas in it. There's a good interview with Ian Mckellan as well.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Wonderfully performed, but Lear has never been my favourite.
Published 6 days ago by Irene C. B. Knutsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Bought for a present. Person has seen this film and rates as excellent
Published 23 days ago by katy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Barn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by alison
2.0 out of 5 stars Not good
Sound and colour of this DVD was of a poor quality, made watching it difficult. Not really value for money
Published 2 months ago by mebby
5.0 out of 5 stars King Lear
It was what I expected. A classic production, to compare with current interpretations. Relationships between characters now appear somewhat dated.
Published 3 months ago by chris mellor
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic performance
Another for my husband's growing collection of Shakespeare performances over numbers of years - up there with the best, to be enjoyed many times.
Published 5 months ago by L. Mottram
5.0 out of 5 stars Mckellan at his best
There have been some great versions of ths great play before andthis stands up there with all of them.McKellan is superb, as always.
Published 6 months ago by open minded reader
1.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Published 6 months ago by artlover777
4.0 out of 5 stars King Lear
Extremely good production/ interpretation. Fine acting all round and a stunningly creepy Goneril. Probably useful to Shakespeare newcomers and students...
Published 6 months ago by Alex Balmforth
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