Barry Lyndon

Film , Drama
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(9 user reviews)
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Barry Lyndon

Stanley Kubrick's stately, sumptuous drama returns to the big screen where it belongs

‘I demand satisfaction!’ These words echo throughout Stanley Kubrick’s sedate, sumptuous eighteenth-century satire, as men in outrageous frocks challenge one another to pistols at dawn over matters of love and honour. But any audience member who goes seeking the same is liable to leave disappointed: for all its dry wit and visual splendour, this 1975 adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel might be the great director’s least satisfying, most disconcerting film – and that’s what makes it extraordinary.

Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal) is an Irish rogue who kills his rival in a duel, joins the British Army and heads to Prussia to fight in the Seven Years’ War. He’s a thug, a gambler, a traitor, a womaniser, a soldier and a loving dad – but O’Neal stays blank-faced, and in true Kubrick fashion we never get a real grip on his character. But that’s surely the point: no man is ever just one thing, and Barry (later Lyndon, when he marries a rich widow) is whoever he needs to be in the circumstances.

‘Barry Lyndon’ is best known for its photography – Kubrick borrowed a low-light camera from Nasa so he could shoot in candlelight – and it is uniquely, heart-stoppingly gorgeous. But there’s much more to it: this is a story of identity, and the lack of it. And it’s fascinating.

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday July 29 2016
Duration: 184 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Screenwriter: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Ryan O'Neal
Marisa Berenson
Patrick Magee
Hardy Kr├╝ger
Steven Berkoff
Gay Hamilton
Marie Kean

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|9
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robert Gale

love and politics.a movie that you can watch again.a piece of art.They don't make them like they used to

robert Gale

love and politics.a movie that you can watch again.a piece of art.They don't make them like they used to

Gort

Actually I much prefer Fasbinder's film "Effi Briest" which came out a little bit earlier. Both films begin the same with a narration and very cold direction, centered around a person which lived in one of those past periods, but while Fassbinder's film kept his way on exploring drama of the person in the non functioning society, Kubrick's film went on exploring technical limits of cinematography.

Gort

Actually I much prefer Fasbinder's film "Effi Briest" which came out a little bit earlier. Both films begin the same with a narration and very cold direction, centered around a person which lived in one of those past periods, but while Fassbinder's film kept his way on exploring drama of the person in the non functioning society, Kubrick's film went on exploring technical limits of cinematography.

Simon Treves

Glorious languorous trip - as enthralling and bold as 2001. Plus it has one of the most sublime soundtracks in motion picture history.

Simon Treves

Glorious languorous trip - as enthralling and bold as 2001. Plus it has one of the most sublime soundtracks in motion picture history.

BetteDillinger

This film is a definite visual feast for the eyes, and could be enjoyed for that alone. Kubrick's familiar angles and cinematic slights of hand make it even more entertaining. Also, Bach's Sarabande is intoxicating in its intense beauty, which just build climactically throughout the film. Glorious. However, the central character is never truly fleshed out by Ryan O'Neil, and this viewer finds that is the ultimate tragedy of the film. The most intense scenes of drama show a lack of passion from him that is frustrating. If I find myself wondering whom I would cast to replace the lead, I know I am watching a pretty average performance. A masterpiece and required viewing for film students nevertheless. Hey, it's Stanley Kubrick.