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The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (Othello) (1952)



Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 26
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 2

This ragged take on Othello may take liberties with the source material, but Orson Welles' genius never fails to impress.


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 2

This ragged take on Othello may take liberties with the source material, but Orson Welles' genius never fails to impress.



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 3,893

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Movie Info

Anyone interested in making a low-budget movie ought to see Orson Welles' screen adaptation of William Shakespeare's Othello, a striking example of how much can be achieved with very little money. For years, stories about this singularly troubled movie circulated more widely than the film itself; Welles began shooting Othello without securing full financing, so he would gather his cast, assemble a crew, and shoot until his money ran out. He would then take an acting assignment to raise some

Aug 31, 1999

United Artists

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Latest News on The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (Othello)

December 6, 2005:
Rob Schneider Weighs in on the Ethnic Casting Debate
In classic Rob Schneider fashion, Rob Schneider has penned an open letter to the New York Times...


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All Critics (26) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (2) | DVD (1)

Seldom has a director encountered so many frustrations and obstacles, and turned those obstructions into inspirations, integrating them into his vision.

June 26, 2014 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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A Shakespeare movie that lives and breathes like few others.

April 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
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Othello came together in defiance of any unifying principle beyond the scrappy vision of its director. It's a work of seat-of-the-pants grandeur.

April 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
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There is no excuse not to see it.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
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Low-budget but visually stunning.

June 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
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The visual rhetoric is synchronised with the verbal imagery: they hit sensory overload together.

June 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Othello joins a gallery of ... Welles protagonists such as ... Kane and Macbeth, whose desire to believe themselves masters of their domains lead ... to solitary tragic fates.

May 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

A stunning film.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A marvelous, very un-stage-like and brisk adaptation that never compromises the spirit of its source.

June 18, 2008

Welles genius behind the camera brings one of the Bard's darkest plays to life.

June 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The text of the original play has been slashed to its bare bones, with bravura cinematography and editing also helping make this a taut, visceral experience.

August 29, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Though made on the cheap, it has the rich arty look of an avant-garde Expressionist work that few big-budget films ever achieve so well.

June 24, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Noir drama without the usual suspects...dark, macabre and delightfully done.

October 17, 2003
Blunt Review

Audience Reviews for The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (Othello)

Absolutely breathetaking B&W cinematography is the primary reason to see adaptation of Othello. While the blackface is a little hard to take seriously, Orson does give a hell of a performance. Worth seeing if you dig the bard.
November 22, 2010

Super Reviewer

Marvellous depiction of Othello made on a slim buget but with the acting chops to make up for it. A fine exampel of the Welles film style that makes a movie a classic no matter what it cost to make.
February 6, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Very slow and drawn out for the majority. However, the film does hold a compelling tale, strong characters, very good directing, excellent performances (especially from Welles, which comes to no surprise) and very powerful sequences, especially in the epic final act. Ultimately, "Othello" isn't the greatest Shakespeare tale nor best Orson Welles film, but that hardly matters.
December 14, 2010
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron Johnson

Super Reviewer

The opening scene of this film is infamous for a reason; Orson Welles instantly submerges his audience in a film that is inventive, daring and eye-popping. Welles takes a miniscule budget (relatively speaking) and makes it look like a big budget. This is an imaginative piece in every way; not just in terms of the film itself, but in how it came to be made. The movie speaks for itself. Filled with stunning compositions and camera movement, passionate performances and brisk pacing, this is a thrilling piece of art to look at.
September 11, 2010

Super Reviewer

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  • Othello (The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice) (1952) (DE)
  • The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (UK)
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