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Tom and Viv (1994)

Willem Dafoe and Miranda Richardson star as T.S. Eliot and his mercurial first wife Vivienne Haigh-Wood. Though legally married until Haigh-Wood's death in 1947, the couple separated in 1933 and Haigh-Wood was committed to a mental institution. The movie focuses on the early years of their marriage and Eliot's discovery of his wife's emotional imbalances. Willem Dafoe really captures Eliot's angular, morose appearance.

Murder in the Cathedral (1951)

This is the film adaptation of Eliot's 1953 play about the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket. It also marks Eliot's one and only Hollywood turn—he voices the role of the Fourth Tempter, an off-stage character.

Ashes (1975)

This New Zealand film, inspired by Eliot's writing, stars Sam Neill as a priest questioning his faith. Eliot joined the Anglican Church in 1927 and always referred to himself as an "Anglo-Catholic." Read his poem "Ash Wednesday" to set the mood for the movie.

The Waste Land (1995)

As you can imagine, Eliot's poetry doesn't exactly translate easily to the silver screen. Irish actress Fiona Shaw, however, does a fascinating job bringing his words to life. This short film is based on her performance of The Waste Land, a one-woman show directed by Deborah Warner, in which she performs the entire 434-line poem.

Voices and Visions: T.S. Eliot (1995)

There aren't many documentaries about T.S. Eliot's life, but this hard-to-find video gets high marks for its insightful treatment of the poet and his poetry.

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