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King Lear Resources

Movie or TV Productions

King Lear, 1987

Jean-Luc Godard directed this strange Sci-Fi re-imagining of "Don Learo" and his daughter, Cordelia (played by Molly Ringwald).

King Lear, 1971

King Lear, directed by Peter Brook, stars Paul Scofield as King Lear. This bleak, existentialist interpretation is one of the most influential modern productions of the play.

A Thousand Acres, 1997

A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley's novel based on King Lear, won the Pulitzer Prize and was later made into a movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Jessica Lange. The story is set in rural Iowa and tells the story of a farmer who tries to divide his land among his three daughters.

Ran, 1985

Ran, Kurosawa's epic Japanese film, mixes King Lear with stories of the samurai. The film won a 1985 Academy Award and was nominated for four more.

The Dresser, 1983

The Dresser, Ronald Harwood's play, also made into a film, follows the struggles of an aging British actor who is playing the title role in a production of King Lear.

The King of Texas, 2002

In The King of Texas, Patrick Stewart plays the Lear figure in this TV adaptation of the play set in, you guessed it, Texas.


Ian McKellen as Lear

A clip of Ian McKellen as King Lear. He moans a lot.

Edmund, Edgar and Gloucester are Buddies

The actors playing Edmund, Edgar and Gloucester answer questions about their characters.

Watch King Lear (PBS Great Performances)

Ian McKellen (a.k.a. Gandalf) portrays King Lear in this televised version of the play, directed by Trevor Nunn.


Famous Shakespeare Scholars Talk about King Lear

Got 45 minutes? Listen to the BBC's "In Our Time" podcast on the topic of King Lear. Host Melvyn Bragg talks about the play with famous Shakespeare scholars Jonathan Bate, Catherine Belsey, and Katherine Duncan Jones.

Reduced Shakespeare Company's Lear in 34 Seconds

To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the U.S. premiere of King Lear, NPR invited the Reduced Shakespeare Company to perform King Lear… in 34 seconds. Listen to the podcast here.

Ian McKellen's Performance as Lear

This NPR All Things Considered episode from 2007 discusses Ian McKellen's stage performance.

'Fool' A Funny, Ribald Retelling Of 'King Lear'

Author Christopher Moore discusses his re-telling of King Lear on NPR's Talk of the Nation.


King Lear Performances

King Lear from past Royal Shakespeare Company performances.

Shakespeare Illustrated: King Lear

This website presents famous paintings of the play's scenes and characters.

William Blake's Lear and Cordelia in Prison (c. 1779)

Check out this pen and ink water color by poet (and artist!) William Blake, compliments of the Tate Museum.

A Series of King Lear-Inspired Art

In this selection of great art that was inspired by King Lear, the pieces have been gathered from a diverse range of artists, styles, and time periods, and have been arranged in a way that helps to summarize (chronologically) the play.


"Diagnosing Lear"

This article chronicles doctors' attempts to figure out what mental illness Lear might have had.

"Howl? Nay, Express His Lighter Purpose"

The New York Times bashes Kevin Kline's 2007 theater production of King Lear.

Play Review

Variety magazine reviews Ian McKellen's 2007 production of King Lear.


Royal Shakespeare Company's Guide to King Lear

The Royal Shakespeare Company prepared a guide to King Lear. Thanks, RSC.

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