Barry Lyndon (1975)

At long last Redmond Barry became a gentleman—and that was his tragedy.

An Irish rogue uses his cunning and wit to work his way up the social classes of 18th century England, transforming himself from the humble Redmond Barry into the noble Barry Lyndon.

A lady who sets her heart upon a lad in uniform must prepare to change lovers pretty quickly, or her life will be but a sad one.
First thing that is patently obvious is that as a visual piece of work the film has few peers, from stunning shots of rolling hills to the lavish period detail, it quite literally is breath taking. The attention to detail by director Stanley Kubrick and cinematographer John Alcott is admirable, whilst the costumes are of the highest order. I have never read the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray so have no frame of reference as regards the portrayals we witness unfolding. I have read that many find the film lacking in the humorous wit that is rife in Thackeray's page turner, yet Kubrick's take is full of satire surrounding the social standing that is the core beat of the story - well it certainly had me smiling anyways.
The film is pretty downbeat, thus, for a three hour movie it can bog down many a viewers patience. Which puts this into the movie for mood scenario bracket - because I personally wouldn't want to watch it if I was having a particularly blue day, so that is something newcomers to the film might want to bear in mind. There seems to be much division as regards Ryan O'Neal's performance in the film, and again having not read the novel I couldn't tell you if he nailed it. What I do know is that he seems perfect for the tone of the movie, and that really shouldn't be seen as a negative in my opinion. My only gripe really with it is that as a story it really doesn't engage me, I really didn't care about what happened to our title character or the assorted people close in his rapidly annoying world. Is that Kubrick's fault? Well he did his job with much style, the story just doesn't warrant a three hour epic, even when it's dressed up as splendidly as this most assuredly is. 8/10

Hawk Films, Peregrine, Warner Bros. Pictures by Stanley Kubrick, William Makepeace Thackeray.
Stars: Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Krüger.

Genres: Adventure, Drama, History, War

Keywords: based on novel or book palace british army fencing epic debt ireland british soldier 18th century seven years war nobility prussia


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