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Chimes at Midnight

Released Mar 17, 1967 1h 55m History Drama List
96% Tomatometer 51 Reviews 85% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings
Henry IV (John Gielgud) usurps the English throne, sets in motion the factious War of the Roses and now faces a rebellion led by Northumberland scion Hotspur (Norman Rodway). Henry's heir, Prince Hal (Keith Baxter), is a ne'er-do-well carouser who drinks and causes mischief with his low-class friends, especially his rotund father figure, John Falstaff (Orson Welles). To redeem his title, Hal may have to choose between allegiance to his real father and loyalty to his friend. Read More Read Less
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Chimes at Midnight

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Chimes at Midnight

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Critics 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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Critics Reviews

View All (51) Critics Reviews
Richard Brody New Yorker ...multiple dimensions of tragedy and devises a passionately vigorous repertory of images to embody it... Nov 21, 2020 Full Review Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic Welles' vision and imagination is unmatched in film. His use of light in a forbidding, dark castle is a wonder. Rated: 5/5 Jan 28, 2016 Full Review Chris Nashawaty Entertainment Weekly 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. Rated: A Jan 15, 2016 Full Review James Berardinelli ReelViews Most are advised that watching the movie feels more like homework than entertainment. Rated: 2.5/4 Aug 30, 2021 Full Review Matthew Rozsa matthewrozsa.com Welles may be best known for his 1941 film "Citizen Kane," but as far as I'm concerned, "Chimes at Midnight" is his magnum opus. Rated: 4/4 Dec 18, 2020 Full Review Eve Tushnet Patheos ...aside from that small tug on Superman's cape I have only grateful praise for this thing. Aug 14, 2020 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (137) audience reviews
Alec B Welles is obviously a great Falstaff but not in the ways you'd expect. His bold performance consistently defies conventional takes on the character. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 12/14/23 Full Review Irene M I watched it when really tired and fell asleep :( Essentially its a lot of Shakespearean dialogue outside of a play. Good to see Orson Welles. the battle scene was gruesome. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 09/04/23 Full Review George S Welles twistedly demonstrating a version of himself and Gielgud glibly delivering presumably the best Shakespeare monologue in cinema history Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/02/23 Full Review Audience Member Superlatively photographed and well-acted version of Shakespeare's Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, concentrating on the changing relationship between Falstaff and Hal, as the responsibilities of kingship force a cooling of their hedonistic games. The final cold rebuttal and Falstaff's subsequent death are especially moving. A very fine adaptation by Welles. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/27/23 Full Review Audience Member In as brilliant an adaptation of Shakespeare as has graced the screen, Welles meticulously extrapolates from several of the bard's great works and pieces together an astonishingly original masterpiece that is somehow highly evocative of Welles while maintaining the utmost fidelity to the source material. That Welles was able to even complete this ambitious work in the midst of so many crippling limitations is incredible; that it somehow proves so consummately constructed is nearly miraculous. The famous Battle of Shrewsbury sequence is a particularly jaw-dropping accomplishment, in that it offers a painstaking spectacle of medieval warfare that is as elaborate, convincing, and breathtaking as any that this viewer has ever seen. The mise-en-scene envelops us in as authentic an evocation of Shakespearean mirth and tragedy as could ever be hoped for, all the while granting Welles the opportunity to shine in a role that he was truly born to play. Watch, relish, and then gleefully emote over the days that ye have seen! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/14/23 Full Review Tony S Superb Shakespeare adaptation by a great director, with an excellent twist on a character of Falstaff and probably the best of Welles's acting career on display. In fact, this is might as well be an improvement on a how Falstaff was handled by the master himself and all that is communicated by just one look and a smile. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 08/26/21 Full Review Read all reviews
Chimes at Midnight

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis Henry IV (John Gielgud) usurps the English throne, sets in motion the factious War of the Roses and now faces a rebellion led by Northumberland scion Hotspur (Norman Rodway). Henry's heir, Prince Hal (Keith Baxter), is a ne'er-do-well carouser who drinks and causes mischief with his low-class friends, especially his rotund father figure, John Falstaff (Orson Welles). To redeem his title, Hal may have to choose between allegiance to his real father and loyalty to his friend.
Director
Orson Welles
Producer
Ángel Escolano, Emiliano Piedra, Harry Saltzman
Screenwriter
William Shakespeare, Raphael Holinshed, Orson Welles
Distributor
Peppercorn-Wormser
Production Co
Alpine Films
Genre
History, Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Mar 17, 1967, Original
Rerelease Date (Theaters)
Jan 1, 2016
Release Date (Streaming)
Aug 30, 2016
Box Office (Gross USA)
$123.4K
Runtime
1h 55m
Sound Mix
Mono
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