Othello (1995)



Critic Consensus: Perhaps less than the sum of its parts, Othello is still highly entertaining, and features excellent performances from Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh.

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Actor Oliver Parker made his directorial debut with this adaptation of the tragic play by William Shakespeare that abridges the original text by half and ups the quotient of sex and violence. Laurence Fishburne stars as the Moorish general Othello, who returns a hero after crushing an invasion attempt by the Turkish army near Cyprus. Pledged to marry the lovely Desdemona (Irene Jacob), Othello ignores the advice of his intended's father, who tells him that she may have a deceptive nature. Othello's aide Iago (Kenneth Branagh), jealous over the elevation of his rival, Cassio (Nathaniel Parker, the director's real-life brother) to lieutenant, begins scheming to make Othello believe that Desdemona and Cassio are carrying on an affair. On the slimmest of evidence, Iago manages to manipulate Othello's suspicious, distrustful nature. Played previously in black face on film by actors Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier, Parker's production of Othello (1995) was the first major cinematic production to cast an African-American in the title role.
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Irène Jacob
as Desdemona
Michael Maloney
as Roderigo
Anna Patrick
as Emilia
Indra Ove
as Bianca
Michael Sheen
as Lodovico
André Oumansky
as Gratiano
Philip Locke
as 1st Senator
John Savident
as 2nd Senator
Gabriele Ferzetti
as The Duke of Venice
Pierre Vaneck
as Brabantio
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Critic Reviews for Othello

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (12)

A highly engaging attempt at Shakespeare's most domestic tragedy.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Branagh's superb performance...guarantees this film an immediacy that any audience will understand.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Davies has done an admirable job of condensing the sprawling action.

October 15, 2002
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Parker has shown how involving and moving Shakespeare can still be on the screen.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The movie is roughly on the same cinematic level as the Mel Gibson Hamlet, though it tends to get under your skin a little more once it gets rolling.

December 31, 1999
USA Today
Top Critic

Passion, like outpourings of iambic pentameter, isn't part of this picture's equation.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Othello


The evil Iago(Kenneth Branagh) pretends to be friend of Othello(Laurence Fishburn) in order to manipulate him to serve his own end, comes up with a devious plan to suspect that Othello's wife Desdemona(Irene Jacob) of infidelity. Oliver Parker's directorial debut is a bit of a disappointment. The language is so hard to comprehend(unless you are familiar with Shakespear's vocabulary), the cast is kinda distracting(thanks to Jacob since she still sounds French) and Kenneth Branagh as the evil snitch Iago, he mostly does his Woody Allen homage by talking to us in front of the camera. Laurence Fishburn as Othello is kind of on the quiet side since I felt this film wasn't about him but about his jealous friend Lago who wants Othello's power.

Brian R
Brian R

Super Reviewer

Fishburne's Othello has more more money associated with it than Welles' work but it is nonetheless as effective thanks to Laurence himself and a darkly effective Iago played to the hilt by Kenneth Branagh.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


this was a great film. not quite the entire original story, but a great film with good acting. the themes in this sory are powerful and the degredation of the likeable othello is dissapointing but interesting to watch.

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer

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