Richard III (1995)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Period Film, Tragedy  |   Release Date - Dec 29, 1995 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Visually striking and highly imaginative, Richard Loncraine's screen adaptation of William Shakespeare's Richard III ranks as one of the best -- or at least the most cinematic -- versions of the bard's work to ever appear on screen. Here, the story is moved into the 1930's as a neo-fascist government has taken power in England, and Richard (Ian McKellen) ruthlessly climbs through its ranks, using murder, marriage, seduction, and deception to get to the top. While the staging takes certain minor liberties with the story, and at 105 minutes the text has been condensed a bit, Loncraine's direction gives this production a dynamic visual strength that matches the power of its story, and McKellen's performance as Richard is nothing short of superb, with Jim Broadbent, Nigel Hawthorne, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith, and (most surprisingly) Robert Downey, Jr. all delivering fine support.