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Barry Lyndon

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Barry Lyndon

Barry Lyndon


  • Released

  • Rating

  • Genre

    • Drama
    • Romance
    • War


In the eighteenth century, in a small village in Ireland, Redmond Barry is a young farm boy in love with his cousin Nora Brady. When Nora engages to the British Captain John Quin, Barry challenges him for a duel of pistols. He wins and escapes to Dublin, but is robbed on the road. Without any other alternative, Barry joins the British Army to fight in the Seven Years War.



  • Ryan O'Neal
    Ryan O'Neal
    Redmond Barry Lyndon
  • Marisa Berenson
    Marisa Berenson
    Lady Lyndon
  • Patrick Magee
    Patrick Magee
    The Chevalier de Balibari
  • Hardy Krüger
    Hardy Krüger
    Capt. Potzdorf
  • Diana Körner
    Diana Körner
  • Gay Hamilton
    Gay Hamilton
    Nora Brady
This page uses the themoviedb.org API.
Posted (edited)

The BBC had a few Stanley Kubrick films on recently that I recorded. This is one I had never seen before. I had no idea what to expect, didn't even know the basic story till just before watching it. Although the story itself is not that gripping, it's very slow paced (deliberately) and title character not that likeable at times, I was very impressed. I see the Threadstarter here classes it as "Drama, Romance, War". There is not much romance in it. Drama yes. There's a couple of battle scenes but most of it is not a war film. I wouldn't call it comedy but it's not that serious and has comical scenes. It's based on a novel by William Makepeace Thackery, more famous for Vanity Fair. It was made in 1975 with Ryan O'Neil in the title role.  I won't try to summarize the entire plot; it would take too long as the film is about 3 hours. It's split into 2 parts; no idea if it was Thackery or Kubrick that did that.

Part I. Redmond Barry is a young Irishman born in the late 18th century who sort of drifts where fate takes him. He is forced to leave home having won a duel against a British officer. He gets robbed, with no money joins the army, goes to war on the continent. He deserts, spends a few weeks keeping a lonely German woman company, ends up pressed into the German army, saves the life of his captain who rewards him with another job after the war. He is sent to spy on another Irish man posing as Austrian aristocrat. Redmond however sides with the man he's been sent to spy on they now set off around Europe making a very good income by cheating at cards. 

Part II of the film Redmond decides it's time to settle down and he's found the perfect woman, the very wealthy Lady Lyndon. He just has to wait for her elderly husband to die first. It isn't a long wait. He decides on a new name combining his old and new life and becomes Barry Lyndon. Lady Lyndon's son hates Barry who treats him badly. She and Barry have a son of their own, he invites his mother to come and live with them, he starts to get in with the right people with a view to getting a title of his own and things look good. But he's been spending far too much, his son dies in a riding accident and his step son, now grown up, starts to stand up for himself. Barry's world collapses round him and the film just ends with him and his mother going back to, I assume, their original simple farm house home.

It is stunningly made. It got many award nominations, and some wins, for best film, direction, production design, costume and cinematography. There are many long, lingering scenes that you could have a still artworks, where the camera just pans over a landscape or focusses in on close ups. One in particular is when Barry's son is on his death bed and the camera just zooms in on Barry, his wife and son all holding each other's hands.

I would have to give this 5/5.



Edited by djw180
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I've not seen this in about ten years, but I remember loving it at the time, and how gorgeous it looks.  Like @djw180 said, every frame in this film is a painting, Kubrick's best looking film.  I think it gets overlooked a lot in his filmography because of how slow and understated it is compared to Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket etc.  

I'll have to have a re-watch of this.

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