Directed by Stanley Kubrick, UK/USA/Ireland, 1975, 184 mins

With Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee

Stanley Kubrick’s back catalogue is so august, that it’s perhaps inevitable that Barry Lyndon is less well known than the likes of The Shining or 2001, but the opportunity to see it on the big screen again reveals what a magnificent film it is. Based on Thackeray’s 1844 novel about a roguish adventurer, its sumptuous production design and measured pace reveals assured filmmaking of the highest order.

Ryan O’Neal is perfectly cast as the pretty boy with the empty head, while Michael Horden’s narration undercuts the swashbuckling adventures of Lyndon with a melancholy sadness perfectly suited to Kubrick’s coolly detached direction. As the film ebbs and flows from comedy to tragedy, this is epic storytelling rarely seen in today’s cinema, and a timely reminder of just how ambitious film making in this country could be in the 70s.

It’s extraordinary to think that only two years later Star Wars would infantilise the blockbuster movie forever, consigning grown up movies to the art house, where they have largely remained since. Barry Lyndon is not only a period film, but from a period in movie-making that is gone forever.

By David Vass

To book a ticket for the film on the 30 August click here