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Jeruba's avatar

Which is the best filmed version of King Lear?

Asked by Jeruba (47471points) March 13th, 2010

I’ve never seen King Lear performed, although I know the story. I would like to watch a (or the) top-rated version that is as faithful as possible to Shakespeare’s script. Which do you recommend? One of these? Or another?

Ian McKellen, 2009
Ian Holm, 1998
Laurence Olivier, 1984
Mike Kellin, 1982
Michael Hordern, 1982
Patrick Magee, 1974
James Earl Jones, 1974
<Russian>, 1969
Orson Welles, 1953
<silent>, 1916

These listings were found on NetFlix. There are more on IMDb.

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7 Answers

simone54's avatar

I don’t have answer but I’d see anything starring Ian McKellen, Ian Holm or Laurence Olivier.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Ian McKellen’s version from last year wins hands down in my books, and I do know a bit about Shakespeare. I’ve acted in 7 Shakespeare plays. I’ve read most of the plays, but not all. (There are a few that aren’t worth it.) And I’m getting ready to direct my first Shakespearean play this summer—Love’s Labour’s Lost.

filmfann's avatar

My choice would be Tatsuya Nakadai from the movie RAN.
If you are sticking to English Language, go with McKellen. He knows his Shakepeare, and I never cared for Olivier.

phoebusg's avatar

Good question, I’d like to know the answer. This is one of my favorite.

elenuial's avatar

Really, I think “faithful” representations of Shakespeare are really more indicative of current culture than of any particular faithfulness to canon. Laurence Olivier seems campy to me compared to other versions, but most folks of a generation concurrent with his work swear that his is the absolute best.

(Then again, I think, Kenneth Branagh is an utter twat. So take that how you will.)

My favorite version is Kurosawa’s Ran. It’s set in feudal Japan, however, so it probably doesn’t fit in with your vision of “faithful.”

I’d be particularly curious to see James Earl Jones’ portrayal. He is such a powerful actor.

phoebusg's avatar

@elenuial I love kurosawa’s films. Don’t remember watching Ran, but I’ll be looking for it. Thanks :)

Jeruba's avatar

Many thanks. I’m going to go with the McKellen for now.

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