Barry Lyndon
215px-Barry Lyndon A
Theatrical release poster

Directed by

Stanley Kubrick

Produced by

Stanley Kubrick

Jan Harlan

Written by

Stanley Kubrick

Based on

"The Luck of Barry Lyndon"

William Makepeace Thackeray


John Alcott

Editing by

Tony Lawson

Running time

185 minutes

Barry Lyndon is a 1975 film that was directed, co-produced, and written by Stanley Kubrick. It was based on the 1844 picaresque novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray. Kubrick's completists and devoted fans often say that Barry Lyndon is Kubrick's most underrated film. As with most of his films, it initially received a mixed response for its slow pace and long running time; it also did not do well commercially, although today it is regarded as a cinematic masterpiece. Barry Lyndon is American filmmaker Martin Scorsese's favorite Kubrick film, as stated by Scorsese himself.


In 18th century aristocracy, an Irish rogue wins the heart of a rich widow and assumes the position of her dead husband. The film depicts the rise and fall of this rogue, who is named Redmond Barry. He leaves home seeking a fortune after apparently killing someone in a duel. Through mishaps and accidents, he ends up fighting in the Seven Years' War. However, he decides to flee and live a life among Europe's elite.


Although considered underrated, it is often stated that Barry Lyndon is one of the most beautifully filmed pictures ever made. It puts cinematography into very high regard and prominence, one of the visual innovations that Kubrick would be known for, as well as pioneering special effects in 2001: A Space Odyssey and heavy use of Steadicam in The Shining. Much of the film's photography was also achieved without electric lighting and instead used candlelight to fit the time period. Many shots of the film zoom out from a portion of one's face or their clothing to a painting-like shot that bears resemblance to the European art of the 1600s, leaving it to reveal much of the background and not just the subject.


Although Barry Lyndon opened to mixed reviews, it was still nominated for many awards, especially being recognized by the Academy Awards:


Best Art Direction Ken Adam, Roy Walker, Vernon Dixon
Best Cinematography John Alcott
Best Costume Design Milena Canonero, Ulla-Britt Soderlund
Best Musical Score Leonard Rosenman


Best Director Stanley Kubrick
Best Picture Stanley Kubrick
Best Adapted Screenplay Stanley Kubrick

The BAFTA, who usually recognized Kubrick films, also gave awards:


Best Direction Stanley Kubrick
Best Cinematography John Alcott


Best Film Stanley Kubrick
Best Art Direction Ken Adam, Roy Walker, Vernon Dixon
Best Costume Design Milena Canonero, Ulla-Britt Soderlund

Barry Lyndon was named one of the 100 greatest films by TIME Magazine, and in 1999, the film was a part of a Village Voice poll. In a 2002 Sight and Sound poll, film critics ranked Barry Lyndon the 27th greatest film ever made.