Othello (1965) - Rotten Tomatoes

Othello (1965)

Othello (1965)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Othello Photos

Movie Info

As directed by Otto Schenk, this most unusual version of Giuseppe Verdi's 1887 opera Othello (adapted from Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name) isn't actually a stage-bound theatrical production. It was shot for German television in 1965 on elaborate sets, but was also done with "roving" cameras, which liberates the material from a sense of staginess and gives it an unprecedented level of intimacy. It stars Wolfgang Windgassen as Othello, Sena Jurinac as Desdemona and Norman Mittelmann as Iago. The Südfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester, the Chor der Wiener Staatsoper and the Wiener Sängerknaben lend added musical support, with Argeo Quadri conducting and Norbert Balatsch serving as chorus master. Gerhard Hruby designed the sets, and Leni Bauer Ecsi did the costumes. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi


Maggie Smith
as Desdemona
Sena Jurinac
as Desdemona
Willy Ferenz
as Montano
Leo Heppe
as Herold
Robert Lang
as Roderigo
Harry Lomax
as Duke of Venice
David Hargreaves
as Senate Officer
Malcolm Terris
as Senate Officer
Keith Marsh
as Senator
William Hobbs
as Cypriot Officer
Trevor Martin
as Cypriot Officer
Christopher Timothy
as Cypriot Officer
Janie Booth
as Company
John McEnery
as Company
Dan Meaden
as Company
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News & Interviews for Othello

Critic Reviews for Othello

All Critics (10)

Even with its imperfections and politically incorrect presentation, this film is a memorable achievement.

October 24, 2007
Film Threat

It's a bloated corpse of a movie, running a numbing 166 minutes with only Olivier's lifeblood to sustain it.

Full Review… | September 6, 2007
Combustible Celluloid

Whether taken as a cultural relic or the definitive screen treatment, Othello demands to be seen for Olivier's bravura, high-wire performance.

August 5, 2007
Groucho Reviews

A great cinematic touchstone.

July 17, 2007

It's a stagy and uneven enactment of the play, but what players on this stage!

August 14, 2003
Nick's Flick Picks


July 18, 2003
Movie City News

Audience Reviews for Othello

It's a fine Shakespeare adaptation that might feel too stagey for the screen but the actors elevate it. Looking through 2015 eyes, it was hard to take Lawrence Olivier seriously in head to toe really poorly done black face that just made the movie seem like a joke but what of Olivier is under that make up shines out of it. Maggie Smith and Joyce Redman steal the show and some of the men are great as well. The costumes are excellent and the production design is great but the story is kind of boring

Kyle Bailey
Kyle Bailey

The worst Olivier Shakespearean film that I have seen. Not only is Olivier shockingly displayed in blackface but the portrayal is no Hamlet or Henry V. Even the film's filming locations lack imagination.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

This version of Shakespeare's famous tragedy is based on a National Theater Company's interpretation. It was shot on a shoestring budget and it features minimalist set pieces and backdrops. The distinguished cast includes Maggie Smith (Desdemona), Robert Land (Roderigo), Dereck Jacobi (Cassio), Joyce Redman (Emilia) and Frank Finlay (A terrific Iago). Othello definitely feels stagey, but the performances are affecting and the story stays true to the Bard's story. It's a perfectly fine film if one can deal with the fact that Laurence Olivier is donning blackface and talking in a guttural accent while playing the title role.

Ryan Valentine
Ryan Valentine

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