In the eighteenth century, in a small village in Ireland, Redmond Barry (Ryan O'Neal) is a young farm boy in love with his cousin Nora Brady (Gay Hamilton). When Nora gets engaged to British Captain John Quin (Leonard Rossiter), Barry challenges him to a duel of pistols. He wins and escapes to Dublin, but is robbed on the road. Without an alternative, Barry joins the British Army to fight in the Seven Years War. He deserts and is forced to join the Prussian Army, where he saves the life of his Captain and becomes his protégé and spy of Irish gambler Chevalier de Balibari (Patrick Magee). He helps Chevalier and becomes his associate until he decides to marry the wealthy Lady Lyndon (Marisa Berenson). They move to England and Barry, in his obsession of nobility, dissipates her fortune and makes a dangerous and revengeful enemy.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Warner Brothers would only finance this movie on the condition that Stanley Kubrick cast a Top 10 box-office star (from the annual Quigley Poll of Top Money-Making Stars) in the lead. Ryan O'Neal was the number two box-office star of 1973, topped only by Clint Eastwood. Ironically, this was his only time in the top 10, as exhibitors, who voted the list, attributed the success of Love Story (1970) (one of the top grossers at the time) to O'Neal's co-star Ali MacGraw, and named her to the list in 1971. The other top 10 stars were 3. Steve McQueen, 4. Burt Reynolds, 5. Robert Redford, 6. Barbra Streisand, 7. Paul Newman, 8. Charles Bronson, 9. John Wayne, and 10. Marlon Brando. Thus, the only actors Kubrick could cast in the role and receive Warner Brothers' financial backing for his decidedly non-commercial project were O'Neal and Redford. The other Top 10 stars were too old or inappropriate for the role (particularly in the case of Streisand, who would not assay a "male" role until Yentl (1983) in 1983). Both O'Neal and Redford were Irish, both had box-office appeal and both were young enough to play the role, though Redford was five years older than the thirty-two-year old O'Neal in 1973. At the time O'Neal was the bigger star, having also garnered a Best Actor Oscar nomination for "Love Story". However, Kubrick apparently offered the part to Redford first, who turned it down, and thus O'Neal was cast. Redford's star would soon eclipse O'Neal's, as he would zoom to the top of the box-office charts the next year after the successes of The Sting (1973) and The Way We Were (1973), clocking in at number one in 1974, a position he also would anchor in 1975 and 1976. O'Neal dropped off the Top 10 list after 1973. His 1973 appearance to this day represents his sole appearance on that list. See more »
The Narrator says: "It would require a great philosopher and historian to explain the causes of the famous Seven Years' War." Actually, the reasons for the Seven Years' War are quite clear and well known. Prussia had invaded a rich Austrian region 16 years before, which it wanted to reconquer with its allies. Meanwhile, Britain and France had been fighting for almost a century (with some relative peaceful years) over worldwide colonies. Stanley Kubrick probably wanted to make a statement about the uselessness of war. See more »
[two figures visible on the horizon prepare to duel. Three witnesses stand between them]
Gentlemen, cock your pistols! Gentlemen...
...aim your pistols!
...had been bred, like many other young sons of a genteel family, to the profession of the law.
And there is no doubt he would've...
...made an eminent figure in his profession...
[...] See more »
In the midst of the many wonderful films made by Stanley Kubrick, it is strange to note how rarely people mention "Barry Lyndon".
The film portrays an unusual young Irish man, Redmond Barry, and his endeavours as he is forced to leave his home and tries to make good his life elsewhere. His life away from home starts out as a career in the British Army; only to evolve in surprising ways and lead to as different places as a position of trust within the Prussian Army and later a title of nobility, gained by what our time can only measure as rather disgraceful means.
Some consider Barry Lyndon a slow and tedious film and it is in deed past three hours in length, but this is because of the artistic flow of a film that strays not only to tell a tale about a man who is by no means neither hero nor villain, but also a film which is in no hurry and takes the time for every detail to sink into the mind and heart of the viewer. Some of the scenic images in "Barry Lyndon" are in themselves pieces of art, rendered with a passion for the landscapes and the man-made structures within them.
The myth that all scenes were recorded using no artificial lighting no doubt stems from the very realistic lights during indoor takes, and some of them truly did not feature artificial light. This is but one of the many details that so easily conveys a sense of a realistic portray of the era; the 18th century and the time after the seven-year war in the later half of the century. The impressive atmosphere and the wonderfully picturesque scenarios along with the fact that the entire plot moves at a calm pace makes this film a very pleasant experience.
"Barry Lyndon is", amidst Kubricks' many masterpieces, a film so easily dismissed due to length and the fact that it is overshadowed by others, but I deeply recommend this film to anyone who would like to see a film both for the plot line, the story and the pure enjoyment of the images presented. Stanley Kubrick made many great films and this one is most definitely one of them! KimotoCat
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