Barry Lyndon

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Barry Lyndon is a 1975 period film by Stanley Kubrick loosely based on the 1844 novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray. It recounts the exploits of an 18th century Irish adventurer, particularly his rise and fall in English society. Ryan O'Neal stars as the title character.

Although the film was only a modest commercial success at the time, and had a mixed critical reception, in recent years it has come to be regarded as one of Kubrick's finest films and as a classic of world cinema. It was part of Time magazine's poll of the 100 best films as well as the Village Voice poll conducted in 1999 and was ranked #27 in Sight and Sound's 2002 film critics poll. Director Martin Scorsese has cited Barry Lyndon as his favorite Kubrick film. Quotations from it appeared in such disparate works as Ridley Scott's The Duellists, Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence, Wes Anderson's Rushmore and Lars von Trier's Dogville.

Contents

Plot

The film is divided into two halves, which are announced with title cards.

In the opening scene, set in 1750s Ireland, the father of Irishman Redmond Barry (Ryan O'Neal) is killed in a duel by a businessman over a disputed sale of some horses. This detail is related by the film's narrator (the voice of Michael Hordern), who comments ironically on the events that transpire. The widow (Marie Kean), disdaining offers of marriage, devotes herself to the raising of her son.

When Barry is a young man, he falls in love with his cousin, Nora Brady (Gay Hamilton). She likes him well enough to seduce him, but when the well-off English Captain John Quin (Leonard Rossiter) appears on the scene, the poverty-stricken Barry is quickly dropped. She and her whole family are set on relieving their financial difficulties with an advantageous marriage. Barry refuses to accept the situation and (seemingly) kills Quin in a duel.

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