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Looking for Richard (1996)

Al Pacino's deeply-felt rumination on Shakespeare's significance and relevance to the modern world through interviews and an in-depth analysis of "Richard III."

Director:

Al Pacino

Writers:

William Shakespeare (play), Al Pacino (narration) | 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Penelope Allen ... Herself / Queen Elizabeth
Gordon MacDonald Gordon MacDonald ... Himself / Dorset
Madison Arnold ... Himself / Rivers
Vincent Angell ... Himself / Grey
Harris Yulin ... Himself / King Edward
Alec Baldwin ... Himself / Duke of Clarence
Al Pacino ... Himself / Richard III
Timmy Prairie Timmy Prairie ... Young Edward V
Landon Prairie Landon Prairie ... Prince Richard
Kevin Conway ... Himself / William, Lord Hastings
Larry Bryggman ... Himself / Lord Stanley
Kevin Spacey ... Himself / Earl of Buckingham
Estelle Parsons ... Margaret
Winona Ryder ... Herself / Lady Anne
Phil Parolisi Phil Parolisi ... Halberd / Messenger
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Storyline

Director Al Pacino juxtaposes scenes from Richard III, scenes of rehearsals for Richard III, and sessions where parties involved discuss the play, the times that shaped the play, and the events that happened at the time the play is set. Interviews with mostly British actors are also included, attempting to explain why American actors have more problems performing Shakespearean plays than they do. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A four hundred year old work-in-progress.

Genres:

Documentary | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some scenes of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

En busca de Ricardo III See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,843, 13 October 1996

Gross USA:

$1,361,420
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot over four years during and around Al Pacino's filming schedule, also while he was not working on any major film projects. This is visible during the film because he is seen growing a beard and hair cut for the film Carlito's Way (1993) as one example. See more »

Goofs

In discussion, Pacino and co. are studying the "*G* of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be," and decide, since it's supposed to refer to Clarence, that they'll change it to "'C" of Edward's heir's." The problem is, the prophecy very deliberately refers to Richard, Duke of GLOUCESTER and Clarence, Duke of GEORGE. With "G" the prophecy is true. If you change it to "C" the prophecy becomes false, and can no longer refer to two people. See more »

Quotes

Lady Anne: To take is not to give.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bill Shakespeare in Hollywood (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
Written by Robert Lindon and William Henry
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cinematic meditation on Shakespeare play
3 December 1999 | by Alan OneSee all my reviews

Looking for Richard frames the essential postmodern question in its own terms: Is this a film about Richard III, or is this a film about a film about Richard III? Cameras follow Al Pacino as he wanders New York, sometimes on foot, but more often in the back of a limousine. We're not sure what he's doing, except it has something to do with Shakespeare's play Richard III. There are rehearsals with familiar actors, and actual performances, some seemingly on stage, some on sets, some on location, all of it interspersed with discussion about the play. Is the play actually to be staged, or is it all a show for the film? We don't know, and really, it doesn't matter. For the most part, this is a pleasant meditation on its subject.

Pacino has chosen a treacherous path: on one side stands the dauntingly complex Shakespeare play, and on the other the patronizing attempts to simplify it for the modern audience. There were several times when I felt talked down to by the actors, but just as many where I felt I benefited from the expanded explanation. Also, with Pacino so vibrantly at the center of every scene and little attention given to others, the film unavoidably has the flavor of a vanity project.

What the film does convey effectively is the power of theater to transport people intellectually and emotionally. The contrast between Pacino's stuttering attempts to summarize certain plot points and his magnificent animation as Richard is fascinating. Like the story (possibly apocryphal) about how Picasso, when asked to explain the meaning of one of his paintings, replied that if he could do that, he wouldn't need to paint, even inarticulate actors possess remarkable powers when inhabiting their roles. This insight was the film's central revelation for me.


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