The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (Othello) (1952)



Critic Consensus: This ragged take on Othello may take liberties with the source material, but Orson Welles' genius never fails to impress.

Movie Info

Anyone interested in making a low-budget movie ought to see Orson Welles' screen adaptation of William Shakespeare's Othello, a striking example of how much can be achieved with very little money. For years, stories about this singularly troubled movie circulated more widely than the film itself; Welles began shooting Othello without securing full financing, so he would gather his cast, assemble a crew, and shoot until his money ran out. He would then take an acting assignment to raise some … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 31, 1999
United Artists



as Othello

as Desdemona

as Roderigo

as Emilia

as Brabantio

as Bianca

as Senator
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (Othello)

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (14)

Seldom has a director encountered so many frustrations and obstacles, and turned those obstructions into inspirations, integrating them into his vision.

Full Review… | June 26, 2014
Boston Globe
Top Critic

A Shakespeare movie that lives and breathes like few others.

Full Review… | April 22, 2014
Time Out
Top Critic

Othello came together in defiance of any unifying principle beyond the scrappy vision of its director. It's a work of seat-of-the-pants grandeur.

Full Review… | April 22, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

There is no excuse not to see it.

Full Review… | April 21, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

Low-budget but visually stunning.

Full Review… | June 18, 2008
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

The visual rhetoric is synchronised with the verbal imagery: they hit sensory overload together.

Full Review… | June 18, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (Othello)


Absolutely breathetaking B&W cinematography is the primary reason to see adaptation of Othello. While the blackface is a little hard to take seriously, Orson does give a hell of a performance. Worth seeing if you dig the bard.

Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

Marvellous depiction of Othello made on a slim buget but with the acting chops to make up for it. A fine exampel of the Welles film style that makes a movie a classic no matter what it cost to make.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Very slow and drawn out for the majority. However, the film does hold a compelling tale, strong characters, very good directing, excellent performances (especially from Welles, which comes to no surprise) and very powerful sequences, especially in the epic final act. Ultimately, "Othello" isn't the greatest Shakespeare tale nor best Orson Welles film, but that hardly matters.

Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron Johnson

Super Reviewer

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