Laurence Olivier

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM (22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an English actor and director who, along with his contemporaries Ralph Richardson, Peggy Ashcroft and John Gielgud, dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century. He also worked in films throughout his career, playing more than fifty cinema roles. Late in his career, he had considerable success in television roles. His family had no theatrical connections, but Olivier's father, a clergyman, decided that his son should become an actor. After attending a drama school in London, Olivier learned his craft in a succession of acting jobs during the late 1920s. In 1930 he had his first important West End success in Noël Coward's Private Lives, and he appeared in his first film. In 1935 he played in a celebrated production of Romeo and Juliet alongside Gielgud and Ashcroft, and by the end of the decade he was an established star. In the 1940s, together with Richardson and John Burrell, Olivier was the co-director of the Old Vic, building it into a highly respected company. There his most celebrated roles included Shakespeare's Richard III and Sophocles's Oedipus. In the 1950s Olivier was an independent actor-manager, but his stage career was in the doldrums until he joined the avant garde English Stage Company in 1957 to play the title role in The Entertainer, a part he later played on film. From 1963 to 1973 he was the founding director of Britain's National Theatre, running a resident company that ...

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A Bridge Too Far (1977)

Action-packedDramatic

Operation Market Garden, September 1944. The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Richard Attenborough
CAST:  Dirk Bogarde  •  James Caan  •  Michael Caine  •  Sean Connery

Operation Market Garden, September 1944. The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Richard Attenborough
CAST:  Dirk Bogarde  •  James Caan  •  Michael Caine  •  Sean Connery

A Little Romance (1979)

Sleep-throughFunnyRomanticCharming

A young American girl and a young French boy meet in Paris and fall in love, with the assistance of an old man and his stories.  (more)

DIRECTION:  George Roy Hill
CAST:  Diane Lane  •  Thelonious Bernard  •  Laurence Olivier  •  Sally Kellerman

A young American girl and a young French boy meet in Paris and fall in love, with the assistance of an old man and his stories.  (more)

DIRECTION:  George Roy Hill
CAST:  Diane Lane  •  Thelonious Bernard  •  Laurence Olivier  •  Sally Kellerman

As You Like It (1936)

Film version of Shakespeare's comedy of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to win the attention of the one she loves.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Paul Czinner
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Felix Aylmer  •  Elisabeth Bergner  •  John Laurie

Film version of Shakespeare's comedy of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to win the attention of the one she loves.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Paul Czinner
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Felix Aylmer  •  Elisabeth Bergner  •  John Laurie

Battle of Britain (1969)

In 1940, the Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle against the might of the Luftwaffe for control of the skies over Britain, thus preventing the Nazi invasion of Britain.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Guy Hamilton
CAST:  Harry Andrews  •  Michael Caine  •  Trevor Howard  •  Curd Jürgens

In 1940, the Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle against the might of the Luftwaffe for control of the skies over Britain, thus preventing the Nazi invasion of Britain.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Guy Hamilton
CAST:  Harry Andrews  •  Michael Caine  •  Trevor Howard  •  Curd Jürgens

Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965)

A woman reports that her young daughter is missing, but there seems to be no evidence that she ever existed.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Otto Preminger
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Carol Lynley  •  Keir Dullea  •  Martita Hunt

A woman reports that her young daughter is missing, but there seems to be no evidence that she ever existed.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Otto Preminger
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Carol Lynley  •  Keir Dullea  •  Martita Hunt

Clash of the Titans (1981)

Action-packedFantasticalWhimsicalAdventurous

To win the right to marry his love, the beautiful princess Andromeda, and fulfil his destiny, Perseus must complete various tasks including taming Pegasus, capturing Medusa's head, and battling the Kraken monster.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Desmond Davis
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Claire Bloom  •  Maggie Smith  •  Jack Gwillim

To win the right to marry his love, the beautiful princess Andromeda, and fulfil his destiny, Perseus must complete various tasks including taming Pegasus, capturing Medusa's head, and battling the Kraken monster.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Desmond Davis
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Claire Bloom  •  Maggie Smith  •  Jack Gwillim

Dracula (1979)

Romanticized adaptation of Bram Stoker's 1897 classic. Count Dracula is a subject of fatal attraction to more than one English maiden lady, as he seeks an immortal bride.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Badham
CAST:  Frank Langella  •  Laurence Olivier  •  Donald Pleasence  •  Kate Nelligan

Romanticized adaptation of Bram Stoker's 1897 classic. Count Dracula is a subject of fatal attraction to more than one English maiden lady, as he seeks an immortal bride.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Badham
CAST:  Frank Langella  •  Laurence Olivier  •  Donald Pleasence  •  Kate Nelligan

Fire Over England (1937)

The film is a historical drama set during the reign of Elizabeth I (Flora Robson), focusing on the English defeat of the Spanish Armada, whence the title. In 1588, relations between Spain and England are at the breaking point. With the support of Queen Elizabeth I, ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  William K. Howard
CAST:  Flora Robson  •  Raymond Massey  •  Leslie Banks  •  Laurence Olivier

The film is a historical drama set during the reign of Elizabeth I (Flora Robson), focusing on the English defeat of the Spanish Armada, whence the title. In 1588, relations between Spain and England are at the breaking point. With the support of Queen Elizabeth I, ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  William K. Howard
CAST:  Flora Robson  •  Raymond Massey  •  Leslie Banks  •  Laurence Olivier

49th Parallel (1941)

In the early days of World War II, a German U-boat is sunk in Canada's Hudson Bay. Hoping to evade capture, a small band of German soldiers led by commanding officer Lieutenant Hirth attempts to cross the border into the United States, which has not yet entered the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Michael Powell
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Leslie Howard  •  Eric Portman  •  Raymond Lovell

In the early days of World War II, a German U-boat is sunk in Canada's Hudson Bay. Hoping to evade capture, a small band of German soldiers led by commanding officer Lieutenant Hirth attempts to cross the border into the United States, which has not yet entered the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Michael Powell
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Leslie Howard  •  Eric Portman  •  Raymond Lovell

Hamlet (1948)

Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Sir Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet continues to be the most compelling version of Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy. Olivier is at his most inspired—both as director and as the melancholy Dane himself—as ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Laurence Olivier
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Jean Simmons  •  John Laurie  •  Esmond Knight

Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Sir Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet continues to be the most compelling version of Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy. Olivier is at his most inspired—both as director and as the melancholy Dane himself—as ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Laurence Olivier
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Jean Simmons  •  John Laurie  •  Esmond Knight

Henry V (1944)

In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Laurence Olivier
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Renée Asherson  •  Ralph Truman  •  Ernest Thesiger

In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Laurence Olivier
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Renée Asherson  •  Ralph Truman  •  Ernest Thesiger

Inchon (1982)

A noisy and absurd re-telling of the great 1950 invasion of Inchon during the Korean War which was masterminded by General Douglas MacArthur.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Terence Young
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Jacqueline Bisset  •  Ben Gazzara  •  Toshirō Mifune

A noisy and absurd re-telling of the great 1950 invasion of Inchon during the Korean War which was masterminded by General Douglas MacArthur.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Terence Young
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Jacqueline Bisset  •  Ben Gazzara  •  Toshirō Mifune

Khartoum (1966)

EpicAction-packedClassicEmotional

English General Charles George Gordon is appointed military governor of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan by the Prime Minister. Ordered to evacuate Egyptians from the Sudan, Gordon stays on to protect the people of Khartoum, who are under threat of being conquered by a Muslim army.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Basil Dearden  •  Eliot Elisofon
CAST:  Charlton Heston  •  Laurence Olivier  •  Richard Johnson  •  Ralph Richardson

English General Charles George Gordon is appointed military governor of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan by the Prime Minister. Ordered to evacuate Egyptians from the Sudan, Gordon stays on to protect the people of Khartoum, who are under threat of being conquered by a Muslim army.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Basil Dearden  •  Eliot Elisofon
CAST:  Charlton Heston  •  Laurence Olivier  •  Richard Johnson  •  Ralph Richardson

Lady Caroline Lamb (1972)

Lady Caroline Lamb, dissatisfied in her marriage, has an affair with the dashing Romantic poet Lord Byron.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Robert Bolt
CAST:  Sarah Miles  •  Jon Finch  •  Richard Chamberlain  •  John Mills

Lady Caroline Lamb, dissatisfied in her marriage, has an affair with the dashing Romantic poet Lord Byron.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Robert Bolt
CAST:  Sarah Miles  •  Jon Finch  •  Richard Chamberlain  •  John Mills

Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)

Tsar Nicholas II, the inept last monarch of Russia, insensitive to the needs of his people, is overthrown and exiled to Siberia with his family.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Franklin J. Schaffner
CAST:  Michael Jayston  •  Janet Suzman  •  Roderic Noble  •  Ania Marson

Tsar Nicholas II, the inept last monarch of Russia, insensitive to the needs of his people, is overthrown and exiled to Siberia with his family.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Franklin J. Schaffner
CAST:  Michael Jayston  •  Janet Suzman  •  Roderic Noble  •  Ania Marson

Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

Satire about the First World War based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of War" and focusing mainly on the members of one family (last name Smith) who go off to war. Much of the action in the movie revolves around the words of the marching ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Richard Attenborough
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Vanessa Redgrave  •  Maggie Smith  •  John Mills

Satire about the First World War based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of War" and focusing mainly on the members of one family (last name Smith) who go off to war. Much of the action in the movie revolves around the words of the marching ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Richard Attenborough
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Vanessa Redgrave  •  Maggie Smith  •  John Mills

Othello (1965)

The 1965 version of the Shakespeare play.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Stuart Burge
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Maggie Smith  •  Joyce Redman  •  Frank Finlay

The 1965 version of the Shakespeare play.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Stuart Burge
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Maggie Smith  •  Joyce Redman  •  Frank Finlay

Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five unmarried daughters, and Mrs. Bennet is especially eager to find suitable husbands for them. When the rich single gentlemen Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy come to live nearby, the Bennets have high hopes. But pride, prejudice and ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Robert Z. Leonard
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Greer Garson  •  Edward Ashley  •  Marten Lamont

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five unmarried daughters, and Mrs. Bennet is especially eager to find suitable husbands for them. When the rich single gentlemen Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy come to live nearby, the Bennets have high hopes. But pride, prejudice and ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Robert Z. Leonard
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Greer Garson  •  Edward Ashley  •  Marten Lamont

Rebecca (1940)

SuspensefulRomanticBrilliantDark

Story of a young woman who marries a fascinating widower only to find out that she must live in the shadow of his former wife, Rebecca, who died mysteriously several years earlier. The young wife must come to grips with the terrible secret of her handsome, cold ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Alfred Hitchcock
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Joan Fontaine  •  George Sanders  •  Judith Anderson

Story of a young woman who marries a fascinating widower only to find out that she must live in the shadow of his former wife, Rebecca, who died mysteriously several years earlier. The young wife must come to grips with the terrible secret of her handsome, cold ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Alfred Hitchcock
CAST:  Laurence Olivier  •  Joan Fontaine  •  George Sanders  •  Judith Anderson

Richard III (1955)

Having helped his brother King Edward IV take the throne of England, the jealous hunchback Richard, Duke of York, plots to seize power for himself. Masterfully deceiving and plotting against nearly everyone in the royal court, including his eventual wife, Lady Anne ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Laurence Olivier
CAST:  Cedric Hardwicke  •  Nicholas Hannen  •  Laurence Olivier  •  Ralph Richardson

Having helped his brother King Edward IV take the throne of England, the jealous hunchback Richard, Duke of York, plots to seize power for himself. Masterfully deceiving and plotting against nearly everyone in the royal court, including his eventual wife, Lady Anne ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Laurence Olivier
CAST:  Cedric Hardwicke  •  Nicholas Hannen  •  Laurence Olivier  •  Ralph Richardson
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