Cromwell (1970)



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Movie Info

This biography of Oliver Cromwell recalls the political and religious struggles of 17th-century England. Cromwell is the Anglican religious fanatic who fights corruption and Catholicism with equal zeal. King Charles is the vacillating monarch who believes his crown gives him a direct pipeline to the wisdom of God.

Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Ken Hughes, Ronald Harwood
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 7, 2003
Columbia Pictures


as Oliver Cromwell

as Charles I

as Earl of Manchester

as Queen Henrietta Mari...

as John Carter

as Prince Rupert

as Earl of Strafford

as Hugh Peters

as Sir Edward Hyde

as The Earl of Essex

as Henry Ireton

as Oliver Cromwell II

as Ruth Carter

as General Byron

as Capt. Lundsford

as President Bradshaw

as John Pym

as Richard Cromwell

as Gen. Digby

as Prince of Wales

as John Hampden

as Archbishop Riniuccin...

as Mrs. Cromwell

as Thomas Fairfax

as Henry Cromwell

as Mary Cromwell

as Bridget Cromwell

as Elizabeth Cromwell

as John Lilburne

as Bishop Juxon

as Trooper Hawkins

as Old Man William

as Solicitor General

as The Speaker

as Archbishop Rinucinni

as Drummer Boy

as General Byron

as Capt. Lundsford
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Critic Reviews for Cromwell

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

An impressive cast of Brit thespians yelling dialogue in that declamatory manner that clues you in on the fact that this is important stuff.

Full Review… | May 12, 2010
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

October 6, 2005
Fantastica Daily

July 23, 2005

Audience Reviews for Cromwell

Crowmell tells the story of the man who was the driving force behind the English civil war and the father of English democracy. Oliver Cromwell is played with great intensity by Richard Harris as an honourable and incorruptible man who stuck by his principles despite the burden of his conscience; the fact that he was also a bigoted religious zealot, bullying imperialist and war criminal are all conveniently glossed over. But it would be in a film called "Cromwell", wouldn't it. Alec Guiness juggles the arrogance and inflexibility of Charles I and his refusal to relinquish absolute power even though his life depended upon it, with his more human side as a loving father. It also has some (for the time at least) epic battle sequences but it is very stagy, and may not quicken the pulses of those without an interest in politics and history. A well made and well acted historical drama that resembles an illustrated (albeit not entirely accurate) history lesson rather than Braveheart-like popular entertainment.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Aided by a very good cast, "Cromwell" is a lavish if mostly simplistic spectacle about the conflict between Parliament led by Oliver Cromwell(Richard Harris) and King Charles I(Alec Guinness) that starts in 1640 as England is facing an invasion from Scotland and Cromwell is about to immigrate to America with his family and fellow Puritans. However, the cause of defending farmers from the king's interests intercedes and Cromwell and his allies work tirelessly in Parliament in an escalating fight that leads to civil war.

What works best in "Cromwell" is the contrast between Charles and Cromwell which is expressed perfectly in a great debate about whether ordinary men are capable of extraordinary things. Cromwell takes one side of this argument as he fights for a more just society but loses himself along the way, eventually becoming a tyrant as much as the one he eliminates. On the other hand, the subject of religion is skirted over as is Cromwell's brutal stint in Ireland.(Gore Vidal once wrote that the Puritans left England not because they were persecuted but because they were persecuting everyone else.) The movie's one critical error is in arguing that a country requires a strong head of state to succeed. Just don't knock anarchy if you haven't tried it.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Caught this at the weekend. One of those big historical films that Britain used to make. Harris is excellent and really gets his teeth into the role. Great to see him acting in a 'class' project (sadly he will mostly be remembered by most young people now as an old wizard!). Guiness is also brilliant as Charles and in fact the film suffers once his character is executed. Yes the film is overlong and is probably not historically accurate but they don't make them like this anymore. Shame.

David Sayers
David Sayers

Super Reviewer

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