Tess (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

Tess (1979)

Tess (1979)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A poor British girl finds herself seduced and abandoned by a handsome social climber then attempts to find happiness in marriage to a modest farmer. Her past catches up with her with tragic results in this period drama based on the classic Thomas Hardy novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Gérard Brach, Roman Polanski, John Brownjohn
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 28, 2004
Criterion Collection


Nastassja Kinski
as Tess Durbeyfield
Leigh Lawson
as Alec d'Urberville
Peter Firth
as Angel Clare
Tony Church
as Parson Tringham
John Collin
as John Durbeyfield
David Markham
as Rev. Mr. Clare
Rosemary Martin
as Mrs. Durbeyfield
Richard Pearson
as Vicar of Marlott
John Bett
as Felix Clare
Dicken Ashworth
as Farmer Groby
Tom Chadbon
as Cuthbert Clare
John Barrett
as Old dairy band
Sylvia Coleridge
as Mrs. d'Urberville
Fred Bryant
as Dairyman Crick
Arielle Dombasle
as Mercy Chant
Brigid Eric Bates
as Girls in Meadow
Jeanne Biras
as Girls in Meadow
Peter Benson
as Religious Fanatic
Josine Comellas
as Mrs. Crick
Patsy Smart
as Housekeeper
Forbes Collins
as New tenant
Graham Weston
as Constable
Lesley Dunlop
as Girl in benbouse
John Gill
as Landlord
Jacque Mathou
as Harvester
Jacob Weizbluth
as Yokel at barn-dance
Marilyne Even
as Girl in benbouse
John Barrett
as Old dairy band
Anne Tirard
as Old dairy band
John Moore
as Possman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Tess

Critic Reviews for Tess

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (6)

Tess is a sensitive, intelligent screen treatment of a literary masterwork.

Full Review… | February 19, 2010
Top Critic

Tess tells one rather more about its director's much publicised preoccupations than about Hardy's themes.

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

This is a wonderful film.

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

Without Mr. Polanski's name in the credits, this lush and scenic Tess could even be mistaken for the work of David Lean.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

een in the context of Roman Polanski's career it becomes something rich and strange, shaded into terror by the naturalistic absurdism that is the basis of Polanski's style.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 24, 2012
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Tess

A resonant and visually stunning period piece about a beautiful but unfortunate young woman born in an ungrateful time and divided between two men who are bound to abuse her - and even if the film may feel too long, the cinematography and art direction are a marvel to behold.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Beautiful to look at, not just the scenery but the art direction as well but overlong and somewhat ponderous. Director Polanski's silent tribute to his late wife Sharon Tate at the end of the opening credits with a simple "To Sharon" after his credit is quite moving. She had left the Hardy novel with a note that she thought he would make a fine film of it when she headed back to the states just before her death.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

The mean and downward day by day of a gorgeous peasant girl. beautifully adapted to the screen by Roman Polanski. A film dedicated to his wife Sharon Tate.

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

Tess Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Tess on our Movie forum!