Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

King John: The Life and Death of (1984, David Giles)

TitleKing John: The Life and Death of
Release LocationsGB
DirectorDavid Giles
MediumColor video
Length2 hrs, 35 mins
Audiencecollege and university
general public
Play ConnectionsKing John (interpretation)
SeriesThe Shakespeare Plays
Media Collections


The rarely filmed King John returned to the screen for the third time in this production that made use of the celebrated Claire Bloom as Constance and the comic actor, Leonard Rossiter, as King John. Many will remember Rossiter's performance as the pusillanimous British officer in Stanley Kubrick's widely acclaimed film of the Thackeray novel, Barry Lyndon. Rossiter is superb at looking frightened, confused, cunning, sinister and terrified all at once. He is ideal for the role of that unhappy and careworn monarch, whose most memorable achievement, or non-achievement, the signing of Magna Charta, was generated by pressure from his enemies. Shakespeare's play makes no mention of Magna Charta, of course

Description from Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. ©1990 Kenneth S. Rothwell. Cited by permission. — Added 2008-11-14

Cast Overview

King JohnLeonard Rossiter
Queen ElinorMary Morris
Prince HenryRusty Livingstone
ArthurLuc Owen
ConstanceClaire Bloom
BlanchJanet Maw
Lady FaulconbridgePhillida Law
Philip The BastardGeorge Costigan
FaulconbridgeEdward Hibbert
GurneyMike Lewin
PembrokeRobert Brown
SalisburyJohn Castle
BigotJohn Flint
HubertJohn Thaw
PeterAlan Collins
English HeraldCarl Oately
MesengerTom Brown
MessengerRonald Chenery
ExecutionerIan Brimble
Philip Of FranceCharles Kay
DauphinJonathan Coy
LymogesGordon Kaye
MeluneJohn Moreno
ChatillionWilliam Whymper
French HeraldIan Barrett
CitizenClifford Parrish
PandulphRichard Wordsworth

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorDavid Giles
ProducerShaun Sutton
Literary ConsultantJohn Wilders
Video EditorStan Pow
ComposerColin Sell
Production ManagerJenny Macarthur
MakeupElizabeth Rowell
CostumesJuanita Waterson
Vision MixerShirley Coward
LightingHoward King
Visual EffectsColin Mapson
SoundChick Anthony
CameraGeoff Field
Production AssociateFraser Lowden
ProductionChris Pensel
PropertiesRoger Wood

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell