Othello (1981)

Run Time - 208 min.  |   Countries - UK, USA  |  
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Othello (Anthony Hopkins) is a noble black Moor held in high regard by Venice for his service as a military general. However, he makes a deadly enemy in his ensign Iago (Bob Hoskins) after he promotes Michael Cassio (David Yelland), not Iago, to the position of personal lieutenant. To gain revenge, Iago secretly attempts to break up the new marriage of Othello and his lovely wife Desdemona (Penelope Wilton) by having Desdemona's former suitor Roderigo (Anthony Pedley) inflame Desdemona's father, Senator Brabantio (Geoffrey Chater), against Othello as a sorcerer who used witchcraft to woo his daughter. In the Venetian Senate, which is discussing a Turkish threat against Cyprus, the duke exonerates Othello of wrongdoing and dispatches him to Cyprus to defend it and become the new governor. Unaware that Iago was behind Brabantio's earlier protests against his marriage, Othello orders Iago to accompany his wife to Cyprus, and Roderigo goes along at the urging of Iago, who tells him that Desdemona will eventually tire of Othello. Once in Cyprus, Iago manipulates Roderigo and his own wife Emilia (Rosemary Leach) into helping him to discredit Cassio and make Desdemona appear unfaithful. His plan works. Othello tells Iago he plans to poison Desdemona, but Iago persuades him to kill her in the bed she ''contaminated.'' As for Cassio, Iago says, ''Let me be his undertaker.'' Believing Iago has killed Cassio, the Moor returns to his castle for the awful task of executing his wife. Othello, still loving his wife, kisses her awake, asks her to prepare her soul for death -- and after an exchange of accusations and denials -- smothers her in her bed. When Emilia tells Othello the truth about the scheming Iago, the wounded Cassio backs up Emilia's story. Othello wounds Iago, then kills himself. Iago kills Emilia. After Iago is led away in chains, Cassio becomes governor of Cyprus.