Othello (1995 film)

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Directed by Oliver Parker
Produced by David Barron
Written by William Shakespeare
Starring Laurence Fishburne
Irène Jacob
Kenneth Branagh
Nathaniel Parker
Michael Maloney
Anna Patrick
Nicholas Farrell
Indra Ové
Michael Sheen
André Oumansky
Philip Locke
John Savident
Gabriele Ferzetti
Pierre Vaneck
Music by Charlie Mole
Cinematography David Johnson
Edited by Tony Lawson
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
December 15, 1995 (1995-12-15)
Running time
123 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $11 million
Box office $2,844,379 (United States)

Othello is a 1995 film based on William Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name. It was directed by Oliver Parker and stars Laurence Fishburne as Othello, Irène Jacob as Desdemona, and Kenneth Branagh as Iago. This is the first cinematic reproduction of the play released by a major studio that casts an African American actor to play the role of Othello, although low-budget independent films of the play starring Ted Lange[1] and Yaphet Kotto[2] predated it.


Main article: Othello

The film, shot in Italy, follows the story of the play closely, but cuts many lines. In addition it adds scenes not in the play, including a sex scene between Othello and Desdemona, dreams in which Othello imagines Desdemona's supposed affair with Cassio, a scene in which Desdemona dances for Othello, a scene in an infirmary where Roderigo and Cassio are treated for their wounds, and a final scene in which the bodies of those killed are buried at sea.



The film was not a financial success, grossing only $2.1 million in the United States on its $11 million budget[3] (however, it had a very limited theater count). It received largely positive reviews, especially for Branagh's Iago. Janet Maslin wrote in the New York Times "Mr. Branagh's superb performance, as the man whose Machiavellian scheming guides the story of Othello's downfall, guarantees this film an immediacy that any audience will understand."[4] Branagh was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance, in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role category.[5]


  1. ^ Othello (1989)
  2. ^ Othello (1980)
  3. ^ Othello (1995) - Box office / business
  4. ^ "Fishburne and Branagh Meet Their Fate in Venice", New York Times, Dec. 14, 1995
  5. ^ Othello (1995) - Awards

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