Burton & Taylor

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Burton & Taylor
Directed by Richard Laxton
Produced by Lachlan Mackinnon
Jessica Pope
Andrew Wood
Written by William Ivory
Starring Helena Bonham Carter
Dominic West
Music by John Lunn
BBC America
Distributed by BBC Four
BBC America
Release date(s)
  • 22 July 2013 (2013-07-22)
(BBC Four/HD)
Running time 82 mins
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Burton & Taylor is a BBC Four TV film directed by Richard Laxton, and based on the legendary acting duo and former husband and wife, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, during their preparation for a 1983 theatrical production of the play, Private Lives. The film stars Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West in the titular roles.


Focusing on one of the most fascinating, glamorous and tempestuous relationships of the 20th century, Burton & Taylor shows an insight into the 'private lives' of two the most famous movie stars of their day, Elizabeth Taylor (Helena Bonham Carter) and Richard Burton (Dominic West).



The film was mainly shot in the Chiswick area, with filming lasting only 18 days. Bonham Carter visited an astrologer whilst preparing for her role as Elizabeth Taylor as she wanted a different take on Taylor's character and persona. Bonham Carter and West both have mentioned in interviews that they listened to numerous recordings of the stars, as well as reading books such as Furious Love by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger. West even visited the birthplace of Burton in attempt to discover more about the actor.[1]


In its original airing on BBC Four, Burton & Taylor received an impressive 1.13 million viewers.[2] Both Bonham Carter and West received widespread praise for their performances in the film, with Alex Hardy of The Times labelling the drama as "perfect" and added of Bonham Carter's performance as Taylor, "(She) conducted the world around her in a sing-song voice that moved octaves within one phrase, the fragile sliding into the manipulative". Sam Wollaston of The Guardian wrote "Bonham Carter and West are excellent. There's a crackle between them... They become two people who clearly are and always will be in love, but can never be together, for reasons of health and safety. It is another very good double act".[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2013 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Helena Bonham Carter Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Nominated
Satellite Award Best Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Dominic West Nominated
Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Helena Bonham Carter Nominated
2014 British Academy Television Awards British Academy Television Award for Best Actor Dominic West Nominated
British Academy Television Award for Best Actress Helena Bonham Carter Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Movie/Miniseries Nominated
Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries Helena Bonham Carter Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Helena Bonham Carter Pending


  1. ^ "Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter: being Burton and Taylor". The Guardian. 13 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Royal baby arrival fails to beat Coronation Street in ratings". Digital Spy. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Helena Bonham Carter And Dominic West Win Over Critics With Burton And Taylor". Contact Music. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 

External links[edit]