3 Great Acting Performances of Richard III

History Hit

2 mins

03 Aug 2018

As the last English King to die in battle is finally given his resting place in Leicester Cathedral, we have delved through the archives to find 3 great portrayals of the history that has surrounded the monarch who died 530 years ago.

Whilst again Richard continues to grab the airtime through Channel 4 live coverage in the UK all week, it is clear that the facts and myths have combined to provide a platform for some of the very best actors in the world to interpret William Shakespeare’s story.

Shakespeare had written his play ‘Richard III’ in 1592 near the end of the Tudor Period. Dan Snow and Jessie Childs discuss this infamous royal family on the History Hit podcast.Listen Now

1. Ian McKellen playing Richard III in 1995

Ian McKellen starred in this 1995 adaption of Richard Eyre’s National Theatre production. McKellen made unconventional uses of some key British landmarks by sometimes moving them through early CGI to new locations within the United Kingdom, including the moving of St Pancras train station for the seat of government.

The film is a well-shot rich production that cinematically draws parallels with the award-winning production of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

2. Laurence Olivier playing Richard III in 1955

Laurence Olivier took on a triple role in the 1955 production of Richard III by taking on the jobs of director, producer and Richard III. The cast includes many notable Shakespearean actors and shows Richard conspiring to take the throne from his brother Edward IV.

3. Peter Cook as Richard III in 1983

Responsible for some of the funniest UK TV, Peter Cook wasn’t known for his Shakespearean roles, but he excelled playing a comic take on the king in the hugely successful TV series, Blackadder.

Shakespeare’s works perhaps would not have been so widespread today if it had not been for the invention of the printing press. Explore the story of the printing press in the documentary, How the Printing Press Changed the World. Watch Now