Ralph Richardson

Ralph Richardson

Highest Rated: 100% Khartoum (1966)

Lowest Rated: 21% Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)

Birthday: Dec 19, 1902

Birthplace: Tivoli Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, UK

Sir Ralph Richardson was one of the most esteemed British actors of the 20th century and one of his country's most celebrated eccentrics. Well into old age, he continued to enthrall audiences with his extraordinary acting skills -- and to irritate neighbors with his noisy motorbike outings, sometimes with a parrot on his shoulder. He collected paintings, antiquities, and white mice; acted Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Sophocles; and instructed theatergoers on the finer points of role-playing: "Acting," he said in a Time article, "is merely the art of keeping a large group of people from coughing." Like the Dickens characters he sometimes portrayed, Richardson had a distinctly memorable attribute: a bulbous nose that sabotaged his otherwise noble countenance and made him entirely right for performances in tragedies, comedies, and tragicomedies. In testament to his knowledge of poetry and rhyme, he married a woman named Meriel after his first wife, Muriel, died. Fittingly, Ralph David Richardson was born in Shakespeare country -- the county of Gloucestershire -- in the borough of Cheltenham on December 19, 1902. There, his father taught art at Cheltenham Ladies' College. When he was a teenager, Ralph enrolled at Brighton School to take up the easel and follow in his father's brushstrokes. However, after receiving an inheritance of 500 pounds, he abandoned art school to pursue his real love: creating verbal portraits as an actor. After joining a roving troupe of thespians, the St. Nicholas Players, he learned Shakespeare and debuted as Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice in 1921. By 1926, he had graduated to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and, four years later, appeared on the stage of England's grandest of playhouses, London's Old Vic. Ralph had arrived -- on the stage, at least. But another four years passed before he made his first film, The Ghoul, about a dead professor (Boris Karloff) who returns to life to find an Egyptian jewel stolen from his grave. Richardson, portraying cleric Nigel Hartley, is there on the night Karloff returns to unleash mayhem and mischief. From that less-than-auspicious beginning, Richardson went on to roles in more than 70 other films, many of them classics. One of them was director Carol Reed's 1948 film, The Fallen Idol, in which Richardson won the Best Actor Award from the U.S. National Board of Review for his portrayal of a butler suspected of murder. Three years later, he won a British Academy Award for his role in director David Lean's Breaking the Sound Barrier, about the early days of jet flight. In 1962, Richardson won the Cannes Film Festival's Best Actor Award for his depiction of James Tyrone Sr., the head of a dysfunctional family in playwright Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. Because of Richardson's versatility, major studios often recruited him for demanding supporting roles in lavish productions, such as director Laurence Olivier's Richard III (1954), Otto Preminger's Exodus (1960), David Lean's Dr. Zhivago (1965), and Basil Dearden's Khartoum (1966). While making these films, Richardson continued to perform on the stage -- often varooming to and from the theater on one of his motorbikes -- in such plays as Shakespeare's Henry IV (Part I and II), Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, and Sheridan's School for Scandal. He also undertook a smorgasbord of movie and TV roles that demonstrated his wide-ranging versatility. For example, he played God in Time Bandits (1981), the Chief Rabbit in Watership Down (1978), the crypt keeper in Tales From the Crypt (1972), the caterpillar in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1972), Wilkins Micawber in TV's David Copperfield (1970), Simeon in TV's Jesus of Nazareth (1977), and Tarzan's grandfather in Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984). In his spare time, he portrayed Dr. Watson on the radio. Sir Ralph Richardson died in 1983 of a stroke in Marylbone, London, England, leaving behind a rich film legacy and a th


Highest Rated Movies



34% Battleship JPJ Starboard Gunner $65.2M 2012
No Score Yet The Fugitive Actor 2011
No Score Yet I Wish I Had a House Like This Screenwriter 2007
21% Give My Regards to Broad Street Director 1984
71% Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes Greystoke 1984
No Score Yet Wagner Actor 1983
No Score Yet Invitation to a Wedding Uncle Willie 1983
89% Time Bandits Supreme Being/God 1981
87% Dragonslayer Ulrich 1981
No Score Yet Early Days Actor 1981
82% Watership Down Chief Rabbit 1978
No Score Yet The Man in the Iron Mask Colbert de Voliere 1977
66% Rollerball Librarian 1975
No Score Yet Frankenstein: The True Story Mr. Lacey 1973
No Score Yet A Doll's House Dr. Rank 1973
78% O Lucky Man! Monty, Sir James Burgess 1973
89% Tales From the Crypt Crypt Keeper 1972
No Score Yet Alice's Adventures in Wonderland The Catepillar 1972
No Score Yet Lady Caroline Lamb King 1972
No Score Yet Home Actor 1972
57% Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? Mr. Benton 1971
No Score Yet David Copperfield Mr. Micawber 1970
79% Oh! What A Lovely War Sir Edward Grey 1969
67% Battle of Britain British Minister in Switzerland 1969
64% The Bed Sitting Room Lord Fortnum of Alamein 1969
No Score Yet The Looking Glass War LeClerc 1969
88% The Wrong Box Joseph Finsbury 1966
100% Khartoum Col. J.D.H. Stewart 1966
83% Doctor Zhivago Alexander Gromeko 1965
98% Chimes at Midnight Narrator '''The Narrator''' 1965
No Score Yet Woman of Straw Charles Richmond 1964
No Score Yet Hedda Gabler Actor 1963
No Score Yet The 300 Spartans Themistocles of Athens Themistocles 1962
94% Long Day's Journey Into Night James Tyrone 1962
67% Exodus Gen. Sutherland 1960
No Score Yet Oscar Wilde Sir Edward Carson 1960
94% Our Man in Havana 'C' 1959
84% Richard III Henry Stafford Duke of Buckingham 1956
75% Breaking the Sound Barrier (The Sound Barrier) John Ridgefield 1952
No Score Yet Outcast of the Islands Captain Tom Lingard 1952
No Score Yet The Holly and the Ivy Rev. Martin Gregory 1952
100% The Heiress Dr. Austin Sloper 1950
100% The Fallen Idol Baines $58.2K 1949
No Score Yet Anna Karenina Alexei Karenin 1948
No Score Yet Olivier's Shakespeare Actor 1944
No Score Yet The Silver Fleet Producer Jaap van Leyden 1943
No Score Yet The Day Will Dawn Frank Lockwood 1942
No Score Yet On the Night of the Fire Will Kobling 1939
100% The Four Feathers Capt. John Durrance 1939
No Score Yet Q Planes Actor 1939
89% The Citadel Denny 1938
No Score Yet South Riding Robert Carne 1938
No Score Yet The Divorce of Lady X Lord Mere 1938
No Score Yet The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss (The Amazing Adventure)(Romance and Riches) Waiter 1937
57% The Man Who Could Work Miracles Col. Winstanley 1937
No Score Yet Thunder in the City Henry Graham Manningdale 1937
93% Things to Come Rudolph 1936
No Score Yet Bulldog Jack Morelle 1935
80% Java Head William Ammidon 1935
No Score Yet The Return Of Bulldog Drummond Actor 1934
No Score Yet The Ghoul Nigel Hartley 1933
No Score Yet Friday the 13th Horace Dawes 1933


Baines says: Things happen, things change.

Julie says: People don't change.

Felipe says: But why did you leave Africa?

Baines says: Why, oh, get married you know.

Felipe says: Wasn't there anybody to marry out there in Africa?

Baines says: Ah yes, plenty, but they weren't white.

Felipe says: Must they be white?

Baines says: Um, hmmmm.

Supreme Being says: Do be careful. Don't lose any of that stuff. That's concentrated evil.

Sir David says: We're not easily frightened. And we have the Channel, which is not easily crossed. The last little corporal to try it came a cropper. So don't try dictating terms to us until you're marching down Whitehall. And even then, we won't listen.

Librarian says: Pity. Poor old 13th century.

Gen. Charles Gordon says: And when the Mahdi floats me down the Nile, the government will assume a pained expression and say to Her Majesty and the churchmen and the antislavery people "Well, we did the best we could. We sent Gordon."

Gen. Charles Gordon says: And when the Mahdi floats me down the Nile, the government will assume a pained expression and say to Her Majesty and the churchmen and the antislavery people, 'Well, we did the best we could. We sent Gordon.'

Mr. Gladstone says: Precisely.

Gen. Charles Gordon says: And that will be the end of Gordon. But not of Gladstone.

Mr. Gladstone says: In a nutshell!

Gen. Charles Gordon says: Well I must say, Mr. Gladstone ... you're hardly a bore.

Gen. Charles Gordon says: Well I must say, Mr. Gladstone, you're hardly a bore.