The War of the Roses: Royal Shakespeare Company (1965)
4.3 of 5 from 46 ratings
'The Wars of the Roses' is a compelling version of the RSC's landmark production of William Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy and Richard III. Adapted and directed for the stage by Peter Hall and John Barton, The Wars of the Roses was acknowledged on its premiere in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1963 as one of defining Shakespeare productions of the post-war years. Working with a stellar cast including Ian Holm, Peggy Ashcroft, David Warner and Janet Suzman, Hall and Barton conjured up a vivid medieval world to reveal how the manoeuvrings and mendacities of the fifteenth century are echoed by politicians in our own time. The BBC harnessed state-of-the-art production techniques to capture the three plays on John Bury s mammoth and menacing steel set. As BBC executive Michael Bakewell said at the time, his aim was to get to the heart of the production , and these recordings have an immediacy and intensity that has rarely been equalled by Shakespeare on television. The Wars of the Roses is presented here in its original form, as three plays first broadcast in 1965 and unseen since then. Recently digitally restored, the trilogy can now be recognised as one of the greatest achievements of the Royal Shakespeare Company and of British television in the 1960s. Extras include a 20-minute film, Making The Wars of the Roses, which features interviews with original cast members David Warner and Janet Suzman. They discuss their experiences of being part of one of the mightiest stage productions of our time. Bernard Levin wrote in the Daily Mail that is was a production of epic, majestic grandeur, a landmark and a beacon in post-war English theatre.