Far from the Madding Crowd (2015 film)

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Far from the Madding Crowd
Official British poster
Directed byThomas Vinterberg
Screenplay byDavid Nicholls
Based onFar from the Madding Crowd
by Thomas Hardy
Produced by
CinematographyCharlotte Bruus Christensen
Edited byClaire Simpson
Music byCraig Armstrong
Distributed byFox Searchlight Pictures
Release dates
  • 17 April 2015 (2015-04-17) (Istanbul Film Festival)
  • 1 May 2015 (2015-05-01) (United Kingdom, United States)
Running time
119 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom[2]
Budget£12 million[3]
Box office$30.2 million[4]

Far from the Madding Crowd is a 2015 British[2] romantic drama film directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, Michael Sheen, and Juno Temple. An adaptation by David Nicholls of the 1874 novel Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, it is the fourth film adaptation of the novel.[5]


The film is set in about 1870 in Britain. While Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is working on her aunt's farm in Dorset, she meets a neighbouring farmer, Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts). As they get to know one another, he proposes, but the headstrong Bathsheba declines, saying she is too independent. One night, his new sheepdog chases Gabriel's entire flock off a cliff. After settling his debts, he is penniless, and leaves in search of work. In contrast, Bathsheba inherits a farm from her uncle and leaves to take charge of it.

While at a fair trying to find employment, Gabriel sees recruiting officers. A girl, Fanny Robbin, points out one of the soldiers, Sergeant Frank Troy, her sweetheart. She suggests Gabriel seek employment at a farm in Weatherbury. Gabriel arrives to find several buildings on fire and saves the barn from destruction. At dawn the next day, he is introduced to the farm's new mistress, Bathsheba, who hires him as a shepherd. In the meantime, Fanny goes to the wrong church for her wedding and Troy, apparently jilted, is devastated.

While in town trading her seed, Bathsheba sees her neighbour William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. Bathsheba sends Boldwood a Valentine as a joke, and he, both offended and intrigued, soon proposes marriage. Bathsheba delays giving him a final answer, and Gabriel admonishes her for toying with Boldwood's affections. She is stung by his criticism, and fires him, but the next day, given a crisis with the sheep that only he can manage, she goes after him and successfully persuades him to return.

One night while out walking, Bathsheba meets Frank Troy, who expresses admiration for her; the next day he returns to help with the harvest. He flirts with Bathsheba and arranges a secret meeting. At their rendezvous in the woods, he shows off his swordplay, telling her not to flinch as he swings his sword around her head and body. He embraces her passionately and Bathsheba is left in a daze. Gabriel warns her against Troy, but she elopes with him. Returning to the farm, the newly married couple celebrate with all the workers and Troy begins to show his bad side. When Gabriel seeks help to protect the hayricks from an approaching storm, Troy, belligerent and drunk, refuses to take him seriously. Gabriel single-handedly tries to cover the harvest with tarpaulins and Bathsheba, ashamed of Frank's drunken behaviour, comes out into the stormy weather to help. Chastened, she tells Gabriel that she was a fool to fall prey to Frank's flattery.

One day in town, Troy sees Fanny begging. She tells him of her error on their wedding day, and reveals that she is pregnant. He sends her to the workhouse while promising to take care of her. When he asks Bathsheba for £20, she refuses, having become annoyed at his gambling. Fanny and her baby die in childbirth; their coffin is delivered to Bathsheba's farm, Fanny's last known address. The words "Fanny Robbin and child" are on the coffin, but Gabriel surreptitiously erases "and child" while bringing it in. Bathsheba recognises Fanny's name, notices the erasure, opens the coffin, and discovers the mother and baby within. When Troy returns, he bends over the coffin and kisses Fanny's lips. When Bathsheba protests, he responds that even in death Fanny means more to him than Bathsheba ever could. In grief he goes to the beach, where he strips off his uniform and swims far into the ocean; everyone believes he has drowned.

Left with Frank's gambling debts, Bathsheba worries she may lose the farm. Boldwood offers to buy it and merge it with his property, offering Gabriel a position as bailiff, and again proposes marriage. Bathsheba agrees to consider his offer. On the eve of the Christmas party he plans to throw, Boldwood tells Gabriel that he is aware of Gabriel's feelings for Bathsheba, and shows Gabriel the engagement ring he plans to offer her. At the party, Boldwood graciously invites Gabriel and Bathsheba to dance together; she again asks Gabriel what she should do, and he answers that she should "Do what is right." Leaving the dance, she discovers Troy, outside, alive and well. Having been rescued from drowning, he has faked his death for some weeks. He demands money from Bathsheba, claiming it was unfair that he gave up his profession and now lives off nothing while she has money and a house. Frank grabs her roughly, screaming that she is still his wife and must obey him. Enraged, Boldwood emerges from the house and kills Frank with a single blast from his double-barrelled shotgun, for which he is promptly imprisoned. Gabriel reassures Bathsheba that if it's any consolation Boldwood is bound to be spared his life, for acting in a 'crime of passion'.

Some time later, Gabriel announces that since the farm is now secure, he'll be emigrating to America in four days' time. As he leaves on foot early in the morning, Bathsheba chases after him on horseback and begs him not to leave, thanking him for all he's done for her, and always believing in her. Gabriel asks her if she would agree were he to propose again. Bathsheba smiles and tells him he needs ask but once more. Gabriel kisses her passionately in response, and they walk back hand in hand.



Mapperton House doubled as Bathsheba Everdene's farm[6]

David Nicholls became attached to the film in 2008.[7] Matthias Schoenaerts was offered the role of Gabriel Oak alongside Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene. Their casting was official in May 2013 with the participation of director Thomas Vinterberg.[8]

Principal photography started on 16 September 2013.[9] The film was shot in Dorset (Sherborne, Mapperton, and Beaminster),[10][11] Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and London.[9]

Mulligan claimed, in an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, that she hand-picked Schoenaerts to play Gabriel Oak after she saw him in the French film Rust and Bone.[12]

Thomas Vinterberg invented the scene in which Sergeant Troy clutches Bathsheba's crotch after the sword tricks because he wanted it to get more drastically sexual.[13] The British crew called it 'the Danish handshake'.[14] Vinterberg suggested that he would have gone much further if it had been a Danish film.[15]


The film was released on 1 May 2015.[16][17]

The first teaser trailer debuted on 23 November 2014. It features the song "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme" performed by Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen. A teaser poster was also revealed to mark the 140th anniversary of the novel of the same name.[18]


Box office[edit]

Far from the Madding Crowd grossed $12.2 million in North America and $17.9 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $30.2 million.[4]

Critical response[edit]

Far from the Madding Crowd received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 84%, based on 193 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Far from the Madding Crowd invites tough comparisons to Thomas Hardy's classic novel – and its previous adaptation – but stands on its own thanks to strong direction and a talented cast."[19] Metacritic gave the film a score of 71 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[20]

Carey Mulligan's performance was critically praised and some considered it better than the 1967 adaptation starring Julie Christie.[21][22] Rolling Stone's Peter Travers, in his three out of four star review, said "Vinterberg may rush the final act, but he brings out the wild side in Mulligan, who can hold a close-up like nobody's business. She's a live wire in a movie that knows how to stir up a classic for the here and now."[23]


  1. ^ "Far From the Madding Crowd (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 3 March 2015. Archived from the original on 9 April 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b "The UK Box Office in 2015" (PDF). British Film Institute: BFI Research and Statistics Unit. 28 January 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 September 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Charlotte Bruus Christensen / Far from the Madding Crowd". British Cinematographer. 15 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 May 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)". Box Office Mojo (Amazon.com). Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  5. ^ Foundas, Scott (2 April 2015). "Film Review: 'Far From the Madding Crowd'". Variety. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  6. ^ IMDb.Com Archived 7 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 26 January 2018
  7. ^ Kemp, Stuart (18 May 2008). "BBC Films has diverse slate". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  8. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (17 May 2013). "Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts Set For Searchlight's 'Far From The Madding Crowd'". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. Archived from the original on 8 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  9. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (16 September 2013). "Searchlight Rounds Out 'Madding' Cast With Michael Sheen, Juno Temple". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd looking for bearded men". BBC News. 25 October 2013. Archived from the original on 13 January 2019. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  11. ^ Bolado, Catherine (1 November 2013). "First glimpse of new Far From the Madding Crowd movie filmed in Beaminster and west Dorset". Bridport News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Carey Mulligan handpicked Matthias Schoenaerts for 'Far from the Madding Crowd'". YouTube. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  13. ^ Murphy, Mekado (30 April 2015). "'Far From the Madding Crowd' (With Movie Trailer): Thomas Vinterberg Narrates a Scene". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Thomas Vinterberg explains the 'Danish Handshake' in Far from the Madding Crowd". YouTube. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  15. ^ Pulver, Andrew (28 April 2015). "Far from the Madding Crowd director Thomas Vinterberg: 'It's always been me-me-me-me – until now'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  16. ^ Thompson, Anne. "Far from the Madding Crowd' To Open from Fox Searchlight Next May". Thompson on Hollywood. Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  17. ^ Miller, Lucasta (25 April 2015). "Far from the Madding Crowd, Does the film live up to Hardy's Novel". Guardian Review Section. Archived from the original on 9 January 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Far From the Madding Crowd: watch the teaser trailer". Telegraph. Archived from the original on 23 November 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  19. ^ "Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 8 April 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  20. ^ "Far From the Madding Crowd". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 29 July 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  21. ^ Jason Best (1 May 2015). "Far From the Madding Crowd Film Review – Magnificent Mulligan dominates ravishing costume drama". Movie Talk. Archived from the original on 5 May 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  22. ^ Christy Lemire (1 May 2015). "Far from the Madding Crowd Movie Review (2015)". RogerEbert.com. Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  23. ^ Peter Travers (1 May 2015). "'Far From the Madding Crowd' Movie Review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 28 June 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2015.

External links[edit]