John Gielgud - Rotten Tomatoes

John Gielgud

Highest Rated:   97% Chimes at Midnight (1965)
Lowest Rated:   13% Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   South Kensington, London, England, UK
One of the theatre's greatest legends, Sir John Gielgud spent almost 80 of the 96 years of his life appearing in countless plays that saw him portray every major Shakespearean role. The last surviving member of a generation of classical actors that included Laurence Olivier, Peggy Ashcroft, and Ralph Richardson, Gielgud worked up to a month before his death, performing in over 50 films and numerous television productions when he wasn't busy with his stage work.The grandnephew of famed stage actress Ellen Terry, Gielgud was born in London on August 14, 1904. He received his education at Westminster School and would have studied to be an architect had he not rebelled against his parents by announcing his plans to be an actor. Persuading his parents to let him train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Gielgud promised them that if he had failed to make a stage career by the age of 25, he would become an architect. As it turned out, Gielgud was playing Hamlet by the time he was 26, having made his stage debut eight years earlier at the Old Vic. His reputation was made in 1924, when he played Romeo to rave reviews; in addition to Hamlet, roles in plays by Chekov and Ibsen followed, and in 1928, Gielgud traveled to the U.S. for the first time to play the Grand Duke Alexander in The Patriot. The epitome of the kind of old-school Englishness associated with the Victorian theatre, he went on to break theatre box office records when he brought his Hamlet to Broadway in the 1930s.Gielgud began appearing on the big screen in the 1920s, and over the course of the next seven decades, he lent his name to films of every imaginable genre and level of quality. In addition to starring in a number of film adaptations of Shakespeare, he could be seen in projects as disparate as Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight (1967), the 1977 porn extravaganza Caligula, and Peter Greenaway's Prospero's Books (1991), in which he was able to fulfill a lifelong dream by playing the role of the Shakespearean patriarch Prospero.In 1981, Gielgud was awarded his only Oscar for his portrayal of Dudley Moore's butler in Arthur; he reprised the role for the film's 1988 sequel, despite the fact that the character had died. Gielgud continued to appear onscreen until the year preceding his death, making enthusiastically-received turns in Shine (1996), in which he played pianist David Helfgott's mentor; Al Pacino's Looking for Richard (1996); and Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth (1998), in which he made a brief appearance as the Pope.Gielgud also did notable work on television, particularly in Brideshead Revisited (1981), which cast him as a stodgily eccentric patriarch, and Merlin (1998), a lavish and well-received take on Arthurian legend. He wrote several books as well, including an autobiography entitled Early Stages. Gielgud was knighted in 1953 and was honored on his 90th birthday with the decision to rename the West End's Globe Theatre as the Gielgud Theatre. He died on May 21, 2000, at the age of 96, having spent the last 25 years of his life with his partner, Martin Hensler.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Great Performances
  • Actor
2010
67% Never Apologize: A Personal Visit With Lindsay Anderson
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet The Harvest of Sorrow
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Beckett on Film
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Heartbreak House
  • Actor
1999
82% Elizabeth
  • The Pope
1998
36% Quest For Camelot
  • Merlin
1998
80% Merlin
  • King Constant
1998
No Score Yet The Noel Coward Trilogy
  • Actor
1998
No Score Yet Tichborne Claimant
  • Cockburn
1998
No Score Yet A Dance to the Music of Time
  • Actor
1997
95% Hamlet
  • Priam
1996
43% The Portrait of a Lady
  • Mr. Touchett
1996
91% Shine
  • Prof. Cecil Parkes
1996
81% Looking for Richard
  • Himself
1996
50% The Leopard Son
  • Narrator
1996
50% Dragonheart
  • King Arthur
1996
No Score Yet Gulliver's Travels
  • Actor
1996
80% Haunted
  • Dr. Doyle
1995
47% First Knight
  • Oswald
1995
No Score Yet Scarlett
  • Actor
1994
No Score Yet Best of Friends
  • Actor
1994
39% The Power of One
  • Headmaster
1992
36% Shining Through
  • Sunflower
1992
67% Prospero's Books
  • Prospero
1991
No Score Yet Emperor's New Clothes
  • Narrator
1991
No Score Yet The Best of Friends
  • Sydney Cockerell
1991
No Score Yet Strike It Rich
  • Herbert Dreuther
1990
67% Getting It Right
  • Sir Gordon Munday
1989
No Score Yet Summer's Lease
  • Haverford Downs
1989
No Score Yet Appointment with Death
  • Colonel Carbury
1988
13% Arthur 2: On the Rocks
  • Hobson
1988
No Score Yet An Evening with Kiri Te Kanawa
  • Actor
1987
86% The Whistle Blower
  • Sir Adrian Chapple
1987
No Score Yet The Canterville Ghost
  • Sir Simon
1987
No Score Yet The Prime Minister
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Romance on the Orient Express
  • Theodore Woodward
1985
57% Plenty
  • Sir Leonard Darwin
1985
No Score Yet The Shooting Party
  • Cornelius Cardew
1985
No Score Yet Camille
  • Duke de Charles
1984
No Score Yet Scandalous
  • Uncle Willie
1984
No Score Yet The Far Pavilions
  • Maj. Louis Cavagnari
1984
No Score Yet Six Centuries of Verse
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet The Wicked Lady
  • Hogarth
1983
No Score Yet The Scarlet and the Black
  • Pape Pie XII
1983
No Score Yet Wagner
  • Actor
1983
No Score Yet Invitation to a Wedding
  • Reverend Clyde Ormiston
1983
87% Gandhi
  • Lord Irwin
1982
No Score Yet The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Charmolue
1982
No Score Yet Inside the Third Reich
  • Speer Sr.
1982
No Score Yet Frankenstein
  • Actor
1982
No Score Yet Priest Of Love
  • Herbert G. Muskett
1981
83% Chariots of Fire
  • Master of Trinity
1981
90% Arthur
  • Hobson
1981
No Score Yet Why Didn't They Ask Evans?
  • Reverend Jones
1981
80% Lion of the Desert (Omar Mukhtar)
  • Sharif El Gariani
1981
No Score Yet Sphinx
  • Abdu-Hamdi
1981
No Score Yet Agatha Christie's Seven Dials Mystery
  • Marquis of Caterhan
1981
No Score Yet Gielgud's Chekhov 3
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet Gielgud's Chekhov 2
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet Gielgud's Chekhov 1
  • Actor
1981
30% The Formula
  • Dr. Esau
1980
90% The Elephant Man
  • Gomm
1980
No Score Yet Dyrygent
  • John Lasocki
1980
24% Caligula
  • Nerva
1979
No Score Yet Richard II
  • John of Gaunt
1979
88% Murder by Decree
  • Prime Minister
1979
No Score Yet Les Miserables
  • Gillenormand
1978
No Score Yet Romeo & Juliet
  • Chorus
1978
No Score Yet Joseph Andrews
  • The Doctor
1977
88% Providence
  • Clive Langham
1977
No Score Yet James Joyce: Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man
  • Preacher
1976
No Score Yet Aces High
  • Headmaster
1976
No Score Yet The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Actor
1976
No Score Yet Galileo
  • Old Cardinal
1975
No Score Yet Edward the King
  • Actor
1975
95% Murder on the Orient Express
  • Beddoes
1974
No Score Yet Gold
  • Farrell
1974
No Score Yet 11 Harrowhouse
  • Meecham
1974
No Score Yet QB VII
  • Actor
1974
No Score Yet Luther
  • Actor
1974
No Score Yet Frankenstein: The True Story
  • Chief Constable (Police)
1973
No Score Yet Lost Horizon
  • Chang
1973
No Score Yet Probe
  • Actor
1972
No Score Yet Home
  • Actor
1972
No Score Yet Julius Caesar
  • Julius Caesar
1970
75% Oh! What A Lovely War
  • Count Berchtold
1969
No Score Yet Sebastian
  • Head of Intelligence
1969
No Score Yet Assignment to Kill
  • Curt Valayan
1968
No Score Yet Charge of the Light Brigade
  • Raglan
1968
50% The Shoes of the Fisherman
  • Elder Pope
1968
No Score Yet Alice In Wonderland
  • Mock Turtle
1966
97% Chimes at Midnight
  • Henry IV
1965
53% The Loved One
  • Sir Francis Hinsley
1965
76% Becket
  • King Louis VII
1964
No Score Yet Hamlet
  • The Ghost
  • Director
1964
No Score Yet Mourir à Madrid (To Die in Madrid)
  • Actor
1963
No Score Yet Cherry Orchard
  • Actor
1962
30% Saint Joan
  • Earl of Warwick
1957
No Score Yet The Barretts of Wimpole Street
  • Edward Moulton-Barrett
1957
74% Around the World in 80 Days
  • Foster
1956
80% Richard III
  • George Duke of Clarence
1956
No Score Yet Romeo and Juliet
  • Chorus
1954
95% Julius Caesar
  • Cassius
1953
91% Hamlet
  • The Ghost
1948
No Score Yet The Prime Minister
  • Benjamin Disraeli
1941
90% Secret Agent
  • Richard Ashenden
1936
No Score Yet Good Companions
  • Inigo Jolifant
1933
No Score Yet The Good Companions
  • Actor
1933

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Masterpiece
1971-2015
  • Sir Sydney Cockerell
  • 1992
  • 1991
No Score Yet Great Performances
2000
  • Actor

Quotes from John Gielgud's Characters