Barry Lyndon


3h 7m 1975
Barry Lyndon

Brief Synopsis

An Irish rogue cheats his way to the top of 18th-century British society.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Historical
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
1975
Location
Ireland; England, United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 1.66 : 1

Synopsis

A gentlemanly rogue travels the battlefields and parlors of 18th century Europe determined to make for himself the life of a nobleman through seducing, gambling and fighting his way up the social ladder.

Crew

Ken Adam

Production Designer

Margaret Adams

Production Secretary

George Akers

Sound Editor

John Alcott

Director Of Photography

John Alcott

Dp/Cinematographer

Bob Anderson

Coach

Bill Aylmore

Armourer

Johann Sebastian Bach

Music

Ron Bareham

Accounting Assistant

Gloria Barnes

Wardrobe Assistant

Ron Beck

Wardrobe Supervisor

Bill Beecham

Painter

David Berglas

Advisor

Lou Bogue

Gaffer

Alan Boyle

Makeup

Ann Brodie

Makeup

Bill Brodie

Assistant Art Director

Milena Canonero

Costume Designer

Patrick Carey

Camera

Jill Carpenter

Makeup

Malcolm J Christopher

Unit Manager

Terence Clegg

Production Manager

Brian Cook

Assistant Director

Yvonne Coppard

Makeup

Tony Cridlin

Grip

Gary Dahms

Costumes

Yvonne Dahms

Costumes

Barbara Dally

Makeup

Norman Dickens

Wardrobe Assistant

Richard Dicker

Dresser

Vernon Dixon

On-Set Dresser

Ken Dolbear

Property Buyer

David Dowler

Color Timer

Jack Edwards

Costumes

Andros Epaminondas

Assistant

Pierre Fournier

Other

Michael Fowlie

Property Master

Laurie Frost

Camera Assistant

Don Geraghty

Unit Manager

Anthony Goldstone

Other

Robin Gregory

Sound Recordist

Carolyn Hall

Accounting Assistant

George Frederick Handel

Music

Jan Harlan

Executive Producer

Rudolf Hertzog

Production Manager

Susie Hill

Hairdresser

Rodney Holland

Sound Editor

Dodo Humphreys

Camera Assistant

Joyce James

Hairdresser

Peter Krook

Assistant Editor

Stanley Kubrick

Producer

Stanley Kubrick

Screenplay

Tony Lawson

Editor

Joe Lee

Construction Manager

James Liggat

Casting

Judy Lloyd-rogers

Costumes

Douglas Milsome

Camera Focus Puller

John Mollo

Advisor

Michael Molloy

Camera Operator

Arthur Morgan

Location Assistant

George Mossman

Animal Wrangler

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Music

Peter Munt

Wrangler

Cleo Nethersole

Dresser

Maud Onslow

Hairdresser

Loretta Ordewer

Production Secretary

Giovanni Paisiello

Music

Pat Pennelegion

Production Secretary

Luke Quigley

Grip

June Randall

Continuity

Leonard Rosenman

Music

Leonard Rosenman

Music Supervisor

Leonard Rosenman

Music Conductor

Willy Rothery

Costumes

Bill Rowe

Dubbing Mixer

Roy Scammell

Stunts

Jan Schlubach

Art Director

Franz Schubert

Music

Chris Seddon

Dresser

Larry Smith

Electrician

Ulla-britt Soederlund

Costume Designer

Geraldine Stephenson

Choreographer

Michael Stevenson

Assistant Director

Ron Taylor

Camera Operator

William Makepeace Thackeray

Source Material (From Novel)

David Tomblin

Assistant Director

John Trehy

Production Accountant

Douglas Twiddy

Production Manager

Antonio Vivaldi

Music

Daphne Vollmer

Hairdresser

Roy Walker

Art Director

Terry Wells

Propman

Moray Welsh

Other

Bernie Williams

Associate Producer

Colin Wilson

Wardrobe Assistant

Francis Wilson

Wardrobe

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Historical
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
1975
Location
Ireland; England, United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 1.66 : 1

Award Wins

Set Decoration

1976

Best Cinematography

1975

Best Costume Design

1975

Best Score

1975

Award Nominations

Best Director

1975
Stanley Kubrick

Best Picture

1975

Best Writing, Screenplay

1976
Stanley Kubrick

Articles

Barry Lyndon


After startling audiences with the provocative near-future vision of A Clockwork Orange (1971), a critical and commercial hit worldwide but condemned in Britain for its portrait of a society out of control, Stanley Kubrick cast his eye back in time for his next picture. Unable to finance his dream project, an epic biography of Napoleon, he settled on the William Makepeace Thackeray novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon, the story of an Irish scoundrel born in poverty who marries into high society and squanders a fortune reaching for a title in the 18th century. He's a deserter, a gambler, a cheat, and a philanderer who is outmaneuvered by the mercenary society he attempts to conquer and he narrates his story as if he were the hero of a grand, honorable quest, which Thackeray undercuts with his satirical prose. The elaborate tale, which he titled simply Barry Lyndon (1975) for the film, features battle scenes, seductions, duels, high society gambling dens, lavish manors and castles, and a vast cast of characters, and it allowed Kubrick to draw upon the enormous research he had done for Napoleon.

Kubrick hoped to shoot the entire film in England, preferably within driving distance of his London home, but he didn't like the look of most period pieces, which were largely recreated on soundstages, and insisted upon shooting it entirely on location, exteriors and interiors alike. That was a challenge for production designer Ken Adam, who previously created the memorable sets of Dr. Strangelove (1964) for the director (as well as a number of James Bond films), and his crew had to expand their search and scout locations throughout England and Ireland. Kubrick was determined to avoid electrical lights, shooting it entirely by sunlight and, for the interiors, candlelight, to evoke the quality of 18th century paintings. However, the high-speed film of the seventies was unable to accommodate such low light. His answer was to use a camera lens that had been developed for the NASA Apollo program by the German Zeiss Company. In the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures Warner Bros. chairman John Calley reports that Kubrick bought the old BNC Mitchell cameras used for rear projection shooting, which had long since been replaced with a new process, from the studio in the early seventies. A few months later Calley was told by the Warner camera department that those cameras were irreplaceable, among the finest ever built. That was only one reason that Kubrick wanted them; they were also the only motion picture cameras that would (with a little reengineering) be able to mount the enormous Zeiss 50mm lens. According to Ed Di Giulio, who rebuilt the mounting plate on the camera, the fastest lens available to filmmakers today still doesn't match it. With such minimal light available, cinematographer John Alcott (who had shot A Clockwork Orange) had to open the lens up all the way, resulting in a shallow depth of field that captured both the light and the flatness of 18th century paintings.

For the leading role of poor-born Irishman Redmond Barry, according to biographer Vincent Lobrutto, Kubrick initially approached Robert Redford. When Redford dropped out Kubrick turned to Ryan O'Neal, who was best known for screwball comedies but was, in 1972, one of the top box office draws in the world. O'Neal wears an eternal expression of yearning sincerity as the country boy whose destiny turns him into a master cad without losing that wide-eyed look of pained, guileless innocence. For the Countess of Lyndon, who gives the upstart his social standing and new name, he cast model turned actress Marisa Berenson, who had been in Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice (1971) and Bob Fosse's Cabaret (1972). There was no screen test, she recalled later, and she knew little of the project beyond the era, but she agreed immediately. His only request: "He asked me to stay out of the sun," she said, to preserve her pale, ivory-like skin.

Many of the supporting roles were filled by performers with whom he had previously worked, including Patrick Magee and Steven Berkoff from A Clockwork Orange and Leonard Rossiter from 2001. Hardy Kruger was cast at the last minute, taking over the role of the Prussian officer Potzdorf from Oskar Werner (who Kubrick dismissed after three weeks), from a screen test filmed by proxy in Germany. Newcomer Leon Vitali, cast as the Barry's resentful stepson as a young man, became a close friend and valued collaborator. He went on to be Kubrick's personal assistant on The Shining (1980) and casting director on Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

Stanley Kubrick's agreement with Warner Bros. gave him complete creative control over his films and Warner Bros. co-chairmen John Calley and Terry Semel valued Kubrick so much that they agreed to finance the film for $2.5 million with only a bare outline of the story. Their only condition was that he sign a top box-office star for the lead, which O'Neal satisfied. Shy about publicity, given the furor over A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick kept details of the project under wraps and even changed the names of the characters in his initial treatment so the source novel (which at the time was very obscure) would not be recognized. The production, which Kubrick reluctantly moved to Ireland, started shooting in September 1973 and quickly ran over budget, due to poor weather, constant rewriting, and Kubrick's own perfectionist tendencies, routinely taking as many as 50 takes per scene. Exhaustion set in with the cast and crew and Kubrick reluctantly agreed to a Christmas break only after it became clear that the locations would not be available over the holidays. There was another stoppage after threats were made against Kubrick's life and the production relocated to England for the rest of the shoot. The production ultimately shot for 300 days over two years, the budget ballooned to over $11 million by the time it was over, and the finished film ran over three hours.

Apart from a few sympathetic critics (Roger Ebert and Time magazine's Richard Schickel were champions), American reviews were not kind to the film and many contemporary reviewers found it dull and plodding and pretentious. And while it was well received commercially and critically in Europe, it was a financial disappointment in the U.S. Fellow filmmakers, however, were impressed. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won four Oscars in all: for cinematography, art direction, costume design, and adapted score. In subsequent years, the film has been reassessed as one of Kubrick's finest achievements and it even placed on the top 100 films of all time in the most recent "Sight and Sound" critics poll.

Sources:
Stanley Kubrick , John Baxter. Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1997.
Stanley Kubrick: A Biography, Vincent LoBrutto. Donald I. Fine Books, 1997.
Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, documentary directed by Jan Harlan. Warner Bros. Home Video, 2001.
IMDb

By Sean Axmaker
Barry Lyndon

Barry Lyndon

After startling audiences with the provocative near-future vision of A Clockwork Orange (1971), a critical and commercial hit worldwide but condemned in Britain for its portrait of a society out of control, Stanley Kubrick cast his eye back in time for his next picture. Unable to finance his dream project, an epic biography of Napoleon, he settled on the William Makepeace Thackeray novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon, the story of an Irish scoundrel born in poverty who marries into high society and squanders a fortune reaching for a title in the 18th century. He's a deserter, a gambler, a cheat, and a philanderer who is outmaneuvered by the mercenary society he attempts to conquer and he narrates his story as if he were the hero of a grand, honorable quest, which Thackeray undercuts with his satirical prose. The elaborate tale, which he titled simply Barry Lyndon (1975) for the film, features battle scenes, seductions, duels, high society gambling dens, lavish manors and castles, and a vast cast of characters, and it allowed Kubrick to draw upon the enormous research he had done for Napoleon. Kubrick hoped to shoot the entire film in England, preferably within driving distance of his London home, but he didn't like the look of most period pieces, which were largely recreated on soundstages, and insisted upon shooting it entirely on location, exteriors and interiors alike. That was a challenge for production designer Ken Adam, who previously created the memorable sets of Dr. Strangelove (1964) for the director (as well as a number of James Bond films), and his crew had to expand their search and scout locations throughout England and Ireland. Kubrick was determined to avoid electrical lights, shooting it entirely by sunlight and, for the interiors, candlelight, to evoke the quality of 18th century paintings. However, the high-speed film of the seventies was unable to accommodate such low light. His answer was to use a camera lens that had been developed for the NASA Apollo program by the German Zeiss Company. In the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures Warner Bros. chairman John Calley reports that Kubrick bought the old BNC Mitchell cameras used for rear projection shooting, which had long since been replaced with a new process, from the studio in the early seventies. A few months later Calley was told by the Warner camera department that those cameras were irreplaceable, among the finest ever built. That was only one reason that Kubrick wanted them; they were also the only motion picture cameras that would (with a little reengineering) be able to mount the enormous Zeiss 50mm lens. According to Ed Di Giulio, who rebuilt the mounting plate on the camera, the fastest lens available to filmmakers today still doesn't match it. With such minimal light available, cinematographer John Alcott (who had shot A Clockwork Orange) had to open the lens up all the way, resulting in a shallow depth of field that captured both the light and the flatness of 18th century paintings. For the leading role of poor-born Irishman Redmond Barry, according to biographer Vincent Lobrutto, Kubrick initially approached Robert Redford. When Redford dropped out Kubrick turned to Ryan O'Neal, who was best known for screwball comedies but was, in 1972, one of the top box office draws in the world. O'Neal wears an eternal expression of yearning sincerity as the country boy whose destiny turns him into a master cad without losing that wide-eyed look of pained, guileless innocence. For the Countess of Lyndon, who gives the upstart his social standing and new name, he cast model turned actress Marisa Berenson, who had been in Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice (1971) and Bob Fosse's Cabaret (1972). There was no screen test, she recalled later, and she knew little of the project beyond the era, but she agreed immediately. His only request: "He asked me to stay out of the sun," she said, to preserve her pale, ivory-like skin. Many of the supporting roles were filled by performers with whom he had previously worked, including Patrick Magee and Steven Berkoff from A Clockwork Orange and Leonard Rossiter from 2001. Hardy Kruger was cast at the last minute, taking over the role of the Prussian officer Potzdorf from Oskar Werner (who Kubrick dismissed after three weeks), from a screen test filmed by proxy in Germany. Newcomer Leon Vitali, cast as the Barry's resentful stepson as a young man, became a close friend and valued collaborator. He went on to be Kubrick's personal assistant on The Shining (1980) and casting director on Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Stanley Kubrick's agreement with Warner Bros. gave him complete creative control over his films and Warner Bros. co-chairmen John Calley and Terry Semel valued Kubrick so much that they agreed to finance the film for $2.5 million with only a bare outline of the story. Their only condition was that he sign a top box-office star for the lead, which O'Neal satisfied. Shy about publicity, given the furor over A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick kept details of the project under wraps and even changed the names of the characters in his initial treatment so the source novel (which at the time was very obscure) would not be recognized. The production, which Kubrick reluctantly moved to Ireland, started shooting in September 1973 and quickly ran over budget, due to poor weather, constant rewriting, and Kubrick's own perfectionist tendencies, routinely taking as many as 50 takes per scene. Exhaustion set in with the cast and crew and Kubrick reluctantly agreed to a Christmas break only after it became clear that the locations would not be available over the holidays. There was another stoppage after threats were made against Kubrick's life and the production relocated to England for the rest of the shoot. The production ultimately shot for 300 days over two years, the budget ballooned to over $11 million by the time it was over, and the finished film ran over three hours. Apart from a few sympathetic critics (Roger Ebert and Time magazine's Richard Schickel were champions), American reviews were not kind to the film and many contemporary reviewers found it dull and plodding and pretentious. And while it was well received commercially and critically in Europe, it was a financial disappointment in the U.S. Fellow filmmakers, however, were impressed. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won four Oscars in all: for cinematography, art direction, costume design, and adapted score. In subsequent years, the film has been reassessed as one of Kubrick's finest achievements and it even placed on the top 100 films of all time in the most recent "Sight and Sound" critics poll. Sources: Stanley Kubrick , John Baxter. Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1997. Stanley Kubrick: A Biography, Vincent LoBrutto. Donald I. Fine Books, 1997. Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, documentary directed by Jan Harlan. Warner Bros. Home Video, 2001. IMDb By Sean Axmaker

Quotes

It must be very danger for you, to be in the war.
- German Girl
I'm an officer and must do my duty.
- Redmond Barry
Excuse me, sir!
- Redmond Barry
Good morning again, young sir!
- Captain Feeny
Don't even think about it. Get down off that horse. Raise your hands high above your head, please. Come forward...stop. How do you do? I'm Captain Feeny.
- Captain Feeny
Captain Feeny?
- Redmond Barry
Captain Feeny at your service.
- Captain Feeny
Are you done with my lady?
- Sir Charles Lyndon
I beg your pardon, sir?
- Redmond Barry
Come come now Mr. Barry, I'm a man who would rather be known as a cuckold than a fool.
- Sir Charles Lyndon
I'm not sorry. And I'll not apologize. And I'd as soon go to Dublin as to hell.
- Redmond Barry
No lad who has liberty for the first time, and twenty guineas in his pocket, is very sad, and Barry rode towards Dublin thinking not so much of the kind mother left alone, and of the home behind him, but of tomorrow, and all the wonders it would bring.
- Narrator

Trivia

Contrary to legend, this film did use artificial lighting. Artificial lights were used, for example, in the scene where Brian learns he's getting a horse. However, it is true that no artificial lighting was used for candlelit scenes. A lens built by the Carl Zeiss company for NASA was used to shoot scenes lit only by candlelight.

Some of the costumes were genuine antiques bought at auction by costume designer Milena Canonero. A myth grew up that the Academy Award-winning costumes used in the film were genuine antique clothes. This is only partly correct, however. Some of the costumes were bought at auction by costume designer Milena Canonero. Other costumes were custom made specifically for the film and were based on clothing of the period and costumes seen in period paintings.

Production was moved from Ireland to England after Kubrick received word that his name was on an IRA hit list for directing a film featuring English soldiers in Ireland.

Captain Quinn's face during his duel with Barry when he goes to raise his pistol.

When the Grenadiers march in formation toward the Barryville citizens and fire their weapons into the air.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1996

Released in United States December 1975

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1975

Re-released in United States April 21, 2000

Released in USA on video.

Released in United States 1996 (Shown in New York City (American Museum of the Moving Image) as part of program "Stanley Kubrick" August 10 - September 1, 1996.)

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1975

Re-released in United States April 21, 2000 (Film Forum; New York City)

Released in United States December 1975