Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
Scholars Online Educational Resources


All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale

Available versions

1982: Elijah Moshinsky

2015: Michael Almereyda

1982: Elijah Moshinsky

This is the BBC Shakespeare series version of Cymbeline, and it is inevitably limited by the modest budgetary constraints that limited the whole process. The innate weirdness and incoherence of the play cannot wholly be papered over, either. At the same time, it does carry the emotional weight of the play fairly well, and it features a number of first-rate performances.

Properly conceived, irrespective of the title, I think this is fundamentally Imogen’s story, and the fact that that part is carried by the redoubtable Helen Mirren makes the whole film work, because she was able to achieve the necessary balance of pluck and strength with vulnerability. Cymbeline himself is played by Richard Johnson (whose Shakespeare acting chops were already well established by this point — he was in two of the productions of Antony and Cleopatra, in one of which he plays Antony himself). Belarius, the lovable old man, is played by Michael Gough, whom those of a certain age may remember as Alfred in the 1980s-90s Batman sequence. He’s very competent, and it’s hard not to find him engaging.

This film is not perfect. It’s not clear that the play itself will allow itself to be perfected in performance, because its structure is too undisciplined and problematic. All in all, though, this is a very good version of the play — as good as one is likely to find. It’s not a play that’s done frequently, and to date this version has no worthy cinematic successors. If present trends are much of an indicator, it may not have any for some time to come.

Arviragus: David Creedon

Belarius: Michael Gough

British Captain: Peter Aldwyn

British Captain: Terence McGinity

Caius Lucius: Graham Crowden

Cloten: Paul Jesson

Cornelius: Hugh Thomas

Cymbeline: Richard Johnson

Frenchman: Allan Hendrick

Gaoler: Ray Mort

Gentlewoman: Aimée Delamain

Guiderius: Geoffrey Burridge

Helen: Patsy Smart

Iachimo: Robert Lindsay

Imogen: Helen Mirren

Jupiter: Michael Hordern

Lord: Nicholas Young

Mother: Madge Ryan

Philario: Geoffrey Lumsden

Pisanio: John Kane

Posthumus: Michael Pennington

Queen: Claire Bloom

Sicilius Leonatus: Marius Goring

Singer: Nigel Robson

Soothsayer: Patricia Hayes