The Mayor of Casterbridge (2003)





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Movie Info

Produced for the BBC in 2001, The Mayor of Casterbridge is the second British miniseries version of Thomas Hardy's 1886 novel (the first was filmed in 1978). This time, Ciarán Hinds stars as Michael Henchard, an unemployed drunkard who, in a moment of greedy delirium, sells his wife, Susan (Juliet Aubrey), and their infant daughter, Elizabeth Jane, to a passing sailor -- for a price of five pounds. Sobering up the next day, Henchard conducts a frenzied search for his family, only to find that they have already gone. Swearing off liquor, Henchard promises to re-invent himself as a solid and dependable citizen. He succeeds so thoroughly in this endeavor that, 18 years later, he has risen to the rank of mayor of Casterbridge. About to make his reformation complete by wedding attractive young Lucetta (Polly Walker), Henchard is aghast to discover that his wife and now-grown daughter (played as an adult by Jodhi May), have returned home. Hounded by his conscience, Henchard bends over backward to make amends to his loved ones -- only to revert to his old, disreputable self when things go terribly wrong. Meanwhile, a new intrigue has blossomed vis-à-vis a romantic triangle involving Elizabeth Jane, Lucetta, and handsome, righteous Donald Farfrae (James Purefoy). The Mayor of Casterbridge made its U.S. debut August 17, 2003, on the A&E cable channel.
Drama , Television
Directed By:
In Theaters:
A&E Television Networks


Ciarán Hinds
as Michael Henchard
James Purefoy
as Donald Farfrae
Jodhi May
as Elizabeth-Jane
Juliet Aubrey
as Susan Henchard
Polly Walker
as Lucetta
Clive Russell
as Newson
Ben Crompton
as Abel Whittle
Henry Goodman
as Joshua Jopp
Annette Badland
as Mrs. Stannidge
Michael Beint
as Councilman
David Bradley
as Councilor Vall
Victoria Byrne
as Lucetta's Maid
David Calder
as Grower
Judy Cornwell
as Mother Cuxsom
Trevor Peacock
as Christopher Conly
Tony Haygarth
as Solomon Longways
Elliot Head
as Walter
Jean Marsh
as Vagrant Woman
Richard Moore
as Chalkfield
Sophie Stanton
as Nance Mockridge
Susan Jane Tanner
as Staylaces Dealer
James Walker
as Priest
Alan Williams
as Stubbard
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Critic Reviews for The Mayor of Casterbridge

All Critics (1)

[F]resh and pertinent...

Full Review… | August 8, 2004
Flick Filosopher

Audience Reviews for The Mayor of Casterbridge

Though I have not read this Hardy novel, I am familiar with the classic author (Return of the Native, Tess of the d'Urbevilles). This work seemed to be true to Hardy, and to the time and culture he was writing about. It is colorful, lovely to look at, suspenseful when appropriate, and has a measure of tragedy. I like the work BBC does with classics. They are always authentic.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

This movie can be described in two words: slow and boring. I only made it through the first half. I couldn't stand to watch something so dull for more than 2 hours.

Emily Bielewicz
Emily Bielewicz

This is a beautiful film, superbly acted by actors of depth and sublety. Powerful, touching and never ham-handed, it brings to life the tragic tale of a complicated man who was not so bad as momentarily misguided and simply an angry sort of drunk. The fact that he knows better and makes his missteps with regret make his end all the more tragic. James Purefoy is a pleasure to behold, and it is wonderful that he never plays to his looks, but disregards them entirely. (Making him all the more irresistable.) Elizabeth Jane is portrayed by a young woman perfect for the part, the only criticism being an overused expression of a crooked smile. I wish she had more range with her coy look, but perhaps that is all that comes out with a genuine emotion for this woman. Wish they'd spent a few more dollars on the musical score. Polly Walker, Ciaran Hines and James Purefoy happily all hooked up again for the fabulous two season series "Rome", which is breathtaking. But this film is a jewel and shouldn't be missed. Of course, Thomas Hardy isn't too bad himself. Highly recommend.

Heather Kelley
Heather Kelley

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