Tess (1979)

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Director: Roman Polanski
Actors: Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth, Suzanna Hamilton, Rosemary Martin, Leigh Lawson, Richard Pearson, John Collin, Lesley Dunlop, Pascale De Boysson, Caroline Embling, Tony Church, Fred Bryant, Sylvia Coleridge, David Markham, Carolyn Pickles

In 19th-century England a peasant named John Durbeyfield discovers he descends from a noble family, the d'Urbervilles. He sends his eldest daughter Tess to live with Alec d'Urberville, a rich cousin. It soon emerges that the illustrious name was purchased by Alec's father. Tess is seduced by Alec and gives birth to a child that dies in infancy. Whilst attempting to escape from her destiny, she meets a pastor's son named Angel Clare. He falls in love with her and they get married. On their wedding night, Tess reveals her past to him. He cannot forgive her and deserting her, goes off to Brazil. A year later Angel discovers that Tess has become Alec's mistress. Driven to despair, Tess kills her lover and leaves to be with the only man she has ever been passionately in love with her husband.

Status: Normal
Run time: 165mins
Origin: FRANCE
Aspect Ratio:
Audio Formats:

Member Reviews (15)

Faithful re-telling of the tragic story of Thomas Hardy's beautiful Tess Durbeyfield. Strong females being his theme. Would love to have seen this at the cinema.
Posted Sunday, 13 October 2013 See my other reviews
Looks like I'm the only one criticising here... I haven't read the novel, I only can compare this movie to another movies about Tess (there are plenty of them) and describe my perception in general. I'm not a fault-finding person, and I like this sort of stories...but...honestly, Kinski's Tess seems a silly girl (bearly talks, never smiles and always has a blank look) whose unlogical actions evoke no feeling of pity towards her (why kill if she could have simply left him?). The story of a dull girl taking unjustified actions - this is the only "aftertaste" the movie have left in my mind.
Posted Saturday, 25 February 2012 See my other reviews
David S.
I was surprised how good this is. It is long but it is consistently engaging and thoughtful.
Posted Wednesday, 21 October 2009 See my other reviews
Mark L.
An excellent rendition of the famous novel by Thomas Hardy. The difficulties of finding love and a stable life when you are from the lower classes of 19th century England.
Posted Monday, 20 July 2009 See my other reviews
John N.
I happily agree with everything David Stephenson says about this movie. The production team deservedly won 3 Oscars and Polanski's well-known drive to achieve perfection is apparent everywhere . The story, just like the Hardie novel, unfolds at a leisurely pace but never fails to surprise you by the turn of events. The scenes of rural life with not a town in sight and the back-breaking work endured by ordinary country folk, are quite fascinating and add an extra dimension to an absorbing story.
Posted Monday, 28 April 2008 See my other reviews
Allan K.
Posted Wednesday, 23 April 2008 See my other reviews
Gordon M.
It is a classic tale, but you have to feel for poor Tess. If ever there was an innocent victim of cruel circumstance she qualifies. Rather too depressing.
Posted Friday, 4 April 2008 See my other reviews
Elly B.
Good look at the way of life and morals a long time ago. Sad story otherwise.
Posted Thursday, 8 November 2007 See my other reviews
David Stephensen
This must be one of the most successful adaptations of a Victorian novel in history. Those who loved the book are amazed to find how true the movie iis to the original. Kinski is superb. Who, at the age of 17, almost untested as an actor, can perform a major heart-rending role and also master a regional accent in a language that is not her mother tongue? Well, I couldn't have, anyway.
Posted Sunday, 28 October 2007 See my other reviews
Aderito P.
Posted Wednesday, 26 September 2007 See my other reviews
Kornelis V.
Posted Friday, 2 February 2007 See my other reviews
Barbara C.
i injoyed the movie very much
Posted Tuesday, 14 November 2006 See my other reviews
Alison M.
Posted Tuesday, 18 July 2006 See my other reviews
Bruce R.
Posted Friday, 19 May 2006 See my other reviews
Ben H.
I had not seen this film since it was released in 1979. Mostly it has stood the test of time well, though it is a little kitsch in places. Kinski is quite stunning and whilst she is occasionally a bit wooden, the casting fits the Hardy character so perfectly that it remains in my view a pretty faithful adaptataion of the text. Lovingly, if somewhat sentimentally shot and with a mesmerising supporting cast, its a fine film and very rewarding experience if as little hard work.
Posted Friday, 24 March 2006 See my other reviews
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