Wednesdays With Will: Richard III (1995)

In 1995, Ian McKellen was not a well known actor. He had performed in a few major releases for the US market, and quite a few productions for the UK market in his 30 years of performing. 1995 would not be his breakout year (that would come a couple of years later with his critically acclaimed turns in Bill Condon’s God’s And Monsters and Bryan Singer’s Apt Pupil and his star making turns in Singer’s X-Men and Peter Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings.) But in 1995, McKellen starred in this adaption of William Shakespeare’s Richard III.

This production features lush visuals and and a 1940s setting with Nazi imagery. This works extremely well in translating Shakespeare’s classic world of greed, power, and corruption.

The film is also wonderfully cast with Ian McKellen heading things up. He is joined with Annette Benning as Queen Elizabeth, Jim Broadbent as the Duke of Buckingham, Kristen Scott Thomas as Lady Anne, and a young Robert Downey Jr as Lord Rivers. It is a true reminder of how good Downey has always been despite his personal problems he was experiencing at the time.

Richard III is currently streaming on Netflix.

Directed by

Richard Loncraine

Produced by Stephen Bayly
Lisa Katselas Paré
Written by William Shakespeare (play)
Ian McKellen
Richard Loncraine
Starring Ian McKellen
Annette Bening
Jim Broadbent
Robert Downey Jr.
Kristin Scott Thomas
Maggie Smith
Adrian Dunbar
Dominic West
Music by Trevor Jones
Cinematography Peter Biziou
Editing by Paul Green
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s)
  • December 29, 1995
Running time 104 minutes

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