2 user 3 critic

King Lear (2014)

National Theatre Live: King Lear (original title)
An aging King invites disaster when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters and rejects his one loving, but honest one.


William Shakespeare (play)


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

More Like This 

Hamlet (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his Uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans his revenge.

Director: Robin Lough
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds, Sian Brooke
King Lear (TV Movie 1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An aging King invites disaster, when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters, and rejects his loving and honest one.

Director: Michael Elliott
Stars: Colin Blakely, Leo McKern, Robert Lindsay
King Lear (1971)
Certificate: GP Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The Shakespeare tragedy that gave us the expression "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." King Lear has not one but two ungrateful children, and it's ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Brook
Stars: Paul Scofield, Irene Worth, Cyril Cusack
King Lear (TV Movie 2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Sir Ian McKellen gives a tour-de-force performance as Shakespeare's tragic monarch, in this special television adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company production of one of the playwright's most enduring and haunting works.

Director: Trevor Nunn
Stars: Ian McKellen, William Gaunt, Philip Winchester
Coriolanus (2014)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Caius Martius Coriolanus is a war hero, banished from his home, seeking to come back.

Director: Tim Van Someren
Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Mark Gatiss, Hadley Fraser
King Lear (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An aging monarch resolves to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, with consequences he little expects. His reason shattered in the storm of violent emotion that ensues, with his ... See full summary »

Director: Antoni Cimolino
Stars: Colm Feore, Jonathan Goad, Liisa Repo-Martell
King Lear (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »

Directors: Grigoriy Kozintsev, Iosif Shapiro
Stars: Jüri Järvet, Elza Radzina, Galina Volchek
King Lear (1987)
Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Everything returns to normal after Chernobyl. That is, everything but art. Most of the great works are lost, and it is up to people like William Shakespear Junior the Fifth to restore the ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Woody Allen, Freddy Buache, Leos Carax
King Lear I (2017)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

King Lear is an in-depth study of love, power and death. Through this film Shakespeare is saying, "Don't blame the gods or the heaven's for the horrors committed on earth. No. Blame hellish inhumanity on those who inhabit the earth."

Director: Alexander Barnett
Stars: Peter Holdway, Jim Zidar, Jared Doreck
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Two aging fathers - one a King, one his courtier - reject the children who truly love them. Their blindness unleashes a tornado of pitiless ambition and treachery, and their worlds crumble.... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Munby
Stars: Ian McKellen, Sinéad Cusack, Danny Webb
King Lear (TV Movie 1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

King Lear (Sir Michael Hordern), old and tired, divides his kingdom amongst his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia (Brenda Blethyn), ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Miller
Stars: John Shrapnel, Norman Rodway, Michael Kitchen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Timon of Athens is a play unique to Shakespeare as it offers a central character without family or partner; the story of a rich and liberal Athenian whose generosity is exploited until he learns the full extent of man's greed.

Stars: Simon Russell Beale, Paul Bentall, Charlie Blackwood


Credited cast:
Saif Al-Warith ... Soldier
Waj Ali ... Soldier
Nathan Ampofo ... Soldier
Paul Anthoney Paul Anthoney ... Soldier
James Barnes ... French Soldier (as James Williams)
Simon Russell Beale ... Lear
Stephen Boxer ... The Earl of Gloucester
Cassie Bradley ... Nurse
Tom Brooke ... Edgar
Richard Clothier ... The Duke of Albany
Matthew Darcy Matthew Darcy ... Soldier
Amit Dhut ... Soldier
Paapa Essiedu ... The Duke of Burgundy
Kate Fleetwood ... Goneril
Colin Haigh Colin Haigh ... Old Man


An aging King invites disaster when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters and rejects his one loving, but honest one.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

1 May 2014 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

King Lear See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Version of King Lear: Episode #1.5 (1974) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

11 June 2014 | by proteus6847See all my reviews

In King Lear, Simon Russell Beale extends his perversely impressive record. Having given us the worst Hamlet ever and the worst Falstaff ever, he now adds Lear to his list of negative ultimates. He has three major modes of delivering his lines--shouting, babbling and ruminating quietly--and is boring in all three. Only once does he come up with a novel line-reading. When told that the Fool has pined away since Cordelia's departure for France, he peevishly whines "I have noted it," as if to say "I'm not stupid, you know." It is characteristic that Beale's one attempt at originality should be a note of sour petulance.

Beale's Lear is stumpy, obese and devoid of authority. He shouts his way through the first scene without scaring anyone, and his curse of Goneril in I.iv is merely tedious. (Goneril herself is undaunted by it, and coolly slaps his face in response). Beale typically acts in a vacuum--his professional motto appears to be "Only disconnect"--and his madness as Lear is not very different from his habitual onstage solipsism. Since he cannot convey love or affection, and has no capacity for pathos, his reunion with Cordelia, his reassurances to her as they are led off to prison, and his lament over her lifeless body are all aridly unmoving. One cannot understand why Cordelia loves this man, why Kent risks his life to follow and protect him, and why the Fool never dreams of deserting him. Yet one also cannot understand why Goneril and Regan despise him. There is simply nothing there to inspire extreme emotions one way or the other, except of course among those who hate being bored.

Sam Mendes has directed with his customary lack of freshness and insight. The opening scene is dominated by a dais with microphones, an overly-familiar prop in current Shakespearean productions. Lear murders the Fool in a fit of insanity, just as he did 30 years ago at the RSC (Adrian Noble, 1982). The final scene degenerates into postmodern abstraction, and becomes almost unrecognizable in the process. Edgar and Edmund do not square off in a duel: Edgar simply enters and stabs his strangely unresisting brother to death. Goneril and Regan die onstage rather than off, but the other actors seem barely to notice. Gloucester's cadaver is also lugged in, again occasioning little or no reaction. The dying Edmund does not try to redeem himself by saving the lives of Lear and Cordelia. There are other cuts, yet for all these added lacunae, the scene is staged and played in a desultory manner that robs it of any impact. The rest of the production is directorially unremarkable, and in fact routine.

Finally, there are no worthwhile performances among the ensemble. Kate Fleetwood, a congenitally creepy actress, plays Goneril like a sinister vamp in an old talking movie. Anna Maxwell Martin dishes up a giddy, quasi-psychotic Regan whose blithering delivery is sometimes incomprehensible. As Gloucester, Stephen Boxer gets a surprising number of laughs for a man with a pair of bleeding sockets. Sam Troughton's characterization of Edmund is limited to wearing glasses when pretending to be decent and removing them when not. His lanky brother Edgar (Tom Brooke) appears to be suffering from Asperger's syndrome. He stares at the ground rather than Edmund during his initial scenes, and greets the news of his father's intention to kill him with an almost shrugging carelessness. This autistic insensibility merges so smoothly into the maunderings of Poor Tom that one cannot be sure if Edgar is ever lucid. Adrian Scarborough's Fool, a pint-sized spiv in a pinstriped suit, isn't funny, trenchant, poignant or haunting, but he does have a nice singing voice. The other supporting actors are forgettable, and I have forgotten them.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed