Chimes at Midnight


Chimes at Midnight (1965)


Critic Consensus: A classic story adapted by a filmmaker near his creative peak, Chimes at Midnight unites Welles and Shakespeare - and powerfully distills the best of both.


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Movie Info

In this memorable adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, the friendship between the rogue Falstaff and the wild Prince Hal is fated to end when the young man gives up his dissolute life and assumes the throne England after the death of his father, King Henry IV.

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Critic Reviews for Chimes at Midnight

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (16)

Welles' vision and imagination is unmatched in film. His use of light in a forbidding, dark castle is a wonder.

Jan 28, 2016 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Thanks to an astonishingly crisp restoration, Orson Welles' 1965 Shakespearean masterpiece can now be appreciated by anyone who thought his best days behind the camera ended with Touch of Evil.

Jan 15, 2016 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Quite likely the greatest Shakespearean film ever.

Jan 8, 2016 | Full Review…

See it on the big screen if you can; for all of its flaws it's a glory.

Jan 7, 2016 | Full Review…

The best and most touchingly personal of all Shakespeare adaptations, Chimes At Midnight is pervaded by melancholy and loneliness, even though its characters are almost seen never alone.

Dec 31, 2015 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Sprawling, and hugely ambitious, and containing a glorious Wellesian Falstaff who's as majestic in folly as he is in girth.

Dec 29, 2015 | Full Review…
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Audience Reviews for Chimes at Midnight


Welles is obviously a great Falstaff but not in the ways you'd expect. His bold performance consistently defies conventional takes on the character.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

Perhaps I was not in the mood to take in one of Shakespeare's lesser regarded works but I completely did not enjoy this Welles' masterpiece.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Considering that just about everything Orson Welles directed after "Citizen Kane" was compromised by studio interference and/or budgetary constraints, it's remarkable that he made as many brilliant movies as he did. "Chimes at Midnight" is one of his very best. Magnificent yet flawed, so well does this film mirror both its creator and the character he plays in it, lovable rogue Sir John Falstaff, that its very flaws almost become virtues. Though it is directed, photographed and edited with extraordinary skill, "Chimes at Midnight" contains some of the worst dialogue synching I have ever come across. A restoration of the film has long been rumoured, but such is the quantity of slapdash dubbing, short of creating a brand new soundtrack, no amount of judicious tweaking is ever likely to completely reunite Shakespeare's words with the lips that are uttering them. In spite of this, in spite of the difficult language and the dizzying editing style, which exhilarated but ultimately exhausted me, "Chimes at Midnight" is a wonderful movie.

Stephen M
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

magnificent. the finest shakespeare adaptation i've seen with one of the finest battle scenes ever filmed! absolutely breathtaking. it's criminal that this doesn't have a criterion and armageddon does

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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