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Looking for Richard (1996)

tomatometer

81

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 47
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 9

Looking for Richard a smart, fascinating behind-the-scenes look at adapting Shakespeare.

71

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 4

Looking for Richard a smart, fascinating behind-the-scenes look at adapting Shakespeare.

audience

79

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 6,289

My Rating

Movie Info

A workshop of William Shakespeare's Richard III inspires actor-director Al Pacino's breezy documentary, which aims to make the playwright accessible to contemporary American audiences. Though a noteworthy cast of stage actors and Hollywood stars (including Kevin Spacey, Winona Ryder, and Alec Baldwin) gathers to work on the play, Looking for Richard does not present a straightforward filmed version of the scheming, deformed king's rise and fall. Instead, Pacino turns the cameras on the rehearsal

Jun 19, 2007

Columbia Pictures

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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (9) | DVD (5)

This runs 118 minutes, but it felt like six or seven hours.

July 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

High-spirited and infectiously energetic.

June 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pacino's first film as writer/director is a marvellously intelligent, witty and imaginative exploration of the problems faced by anyone wishing to act in Shakespeare or translate the plays to film.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are actors' rehearsals and performances, and Mr. Pacino interviews experts, conducts man-on-the-street polls and stages collegial arguments with his cronies. Thus emerges the intricate story of Richard's ambition.

May 21, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The last half-hour drags.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An astute, funny, loving and occasionally even beautiful documentary about actors preparing to do a play.

January 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An energetic but unsatisfying behind the scenes account of actors dress rehearsing or in street clothes rehearsing to do the Shakespeare play Richard III.

January 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

succeeds in giving us a greater appreciation for Shakespeare

January 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

That the film is a must for Pacino fans goes without saying; the surprise is how generally enjoyable it all is.

July 3, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Almost inadvertently Pacino comes up with what must be one of the best films of his career.

July 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

A first-rate study of a famous actor coming to grips with a world-class challenge.

June 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

The film is sloppily pieced together, as Pacino appears unsure of exactly what he wants to achieve.

June 15, 2007

It's a true labor of love and one of the high points in his distinguished career.

August 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A remarkable entertainment; funny, fascinating, and always entertaining.

September 11, 2005 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

Wonderful documentary for those who love Shakespeare, those who love actors, those who love Pacino ...

September 9, 2005
Las Vegas Review-Journal

A crowd-pleasing exploration of Shakespeare's most melodramatic potboiler.

July 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Kids seeing this film first may well end up with a better understanding of the Bard's work.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Pacino has made an informative, engrossing and hugely enjoyable movie that stands as a work of pure entertainment, almost as powerful as its inspiration.

January 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Fascinating and ingenius.

June 12, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

Brilliant deconstruction of the bard. Should be mandatory viewing in our schools.

October 28, 2003
Needcoffee.com

Shakespeare's play is much closer to the audience than it was before.

September 26, 2003 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

At the end you expect Al Pacino to cry, 'A point! A point! My kingdom for a point!'

June 6, 2003 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Audience Reviews for Looking for Richard

It is hard to imagine a world in which William Shakespeare has not, in one way or another, impacted our world. From how we view entertainment to the plans of our Government, they have all been influenced by the plays, sonnets, and poems of this one man. But with entertainment has Shakespeare impacted the most. To date, he is the only playwright whose works have been preformed the most, interpreted the most, and above all else, cherished the most. However, there is only one group of people that can say that they have been impacted the most by his works and that is actors. Now, why actors? That is because the only true, real way to understand Shakespeare is to act out one of his plays and live the life his creations have lived. Now, in the ninty nineties, actor Al Pacino (The Godfather Trilogy, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, Carlito's Way) decided to go and direct a handful of films to show the world in a way an actor sees. One of these films is this documentary that chronicles Pacino's involvement in a production of Richard III (said to be the most confusing, yet most preformed play written by Shakespeare). While showing his involvement, he says at the beginning that he is also wanting to show the world the Shakespeare he loves and his views. With numerous interviews with random people on the streets of New York and fellow actors, we can see that Shakespeare has sense become something of an idea that people only know the basics of but no one really knows who or what he is. Now, I first heard of this documentary completely by accident when I was looking up films to do with Al Pacino. When I sat down and watched this documentary, what it done was reopen my eyes to the power of Shakespeare and the legacy that he created for us all. But what really captivated me was how difficult it is for professional actors to preform Shakespeare. I know of people that think that, for actors, it is easy due to them being trained. Well, this film shows that, along with how confused the actors get over the story of Richard III. But what really makes this entire documentary stand out is how Al Pacino filmed rehearsals, made his own mini-film of Richard III (as in, found locations, got the costumes, and filmed a traditional film), and shows to such lengths to understand the mind of Shakespeare and his life. While all of that is going on, Pacino does try to make a point: Americans can have an understanding and an appreciation for Shakespeare. Early in this documentary, there is an interview with a person who, in a rather obscene way, say that the only people who even take Shakespeare seriously are the Japanese. And he is right. Over the past few decades, as English speaking nations (mostly America) start to bastardize their own language, other cultures have adapted into our past of playwrights and learn their own magic from these printed words. Plus, as said by one British Professor in the film, when America does a Shakespeare play, they just end up mimicking the British in such a way that it brings pure disgrace. Al Pacino had set out a complete quest to prove that America can still learn from and love Shakespeare, and if you are asking if he is able to accomplish that, you must see this documentary. It will open your eyes and give you a complete appreciation for the works of the man who is considered to be the greatest English playwright in history.
September 20, 2011
Zach Brehany

Super Reviewer

A documentary about the making of a movie... but not really, since they weren't MAKING the movie, they were making the documentary. More an exploration of the play, maybe. I don't know, but I found it fascinating all the same.
January 4, 2007
nuheart
Steve B.

Super Reviewer

Self-indulgent crap. A decent cast is all its got working for it.
November 19, 2006
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

A study of acting from the master, Al Pacino. Although it's not totally concise, this is a very entertaining examination of the measures taken by actors to develop a character, and of Shakespeare's role in modern society. Highly recommended for Pacino fans and aspiring actors.
February 12, 2009
michaelcorleone

Super Reviewer

    1. Elizabeth I: The loss of such a lord includes all harm.
    – Submitted by Melania R (2 years ago)
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