Richard III is an action drama film adaption of William Shakespeare's play of the same name. It was directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film stars Sean Bean as Richard III and Christian Bale as Henry VI. The film is a modern interpretation of the play, and incorporates its elements of a civil war into that of a gang war in England.
The film was released in American and British cinemas in August 2015, and received critical acclaim from critics and fans of Shakespeare's original material - the praise was directed almost solely at Bean's performance, and he won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role.
After a brutal end to a gang war, a veteran gangster named Richard determines to gain dominion of the York gang, presently occupied by his brother, Edward. Under the influence of cocaine, he resolves that he must become a villain and use dishonourable means to achieve his goal. He first manages to turn Edward against his own lieutenant, Clarence, who is excommunicated in The Tower (A prison used solely by the gang) for disloyalty. Next, he wins the hand of the leader Henry's wife Anne, even as she follows the hearse bearing the body of her husband - flashbacks reveal that Richard orchestrated his death. As part of his plan, Richard succeeds in convincing influential gang members Hastings and Buckingham that the queen and her half of the gang are to blame for Clarence's imprisonment. Hired murderers carry out his instructions to murder Clarence, who dies brawling with the assassins.
Richard joins the other members of the hostile factions and vows to his brother Edward that he would hold the peace in the streets. Edward learns that Clarence has been put to death by Richard, but dies before he can give the order to revoke it. When the young claimant to leadership Edward is sent for from Ludlow to be elected, Richard resolves to prevent him from standing in his way, even though he is conflicted by his familial connection to Edward. Now his lieutenant, Buckingham promises to separate the prince from his mother's kindred. When Richard imprisons several of her allies, executing them, Edward's frightened mother Margaret seeks sanctuary for her son.
With a great display of courtesy and devotion, Richard has Edward and his brother lodged in the Tower. Finding that Hastings remains loyal to the prince, Richard has the man murdered. Next, Richard convinces the Lord Mayor of London that he has acted only for the security of both his and Margaret's territories. He has Buckingham slander the dead Edward, implying that the late leader's children are illegitimate and that Edward himself was basely born, scorning the right that Edward had as the leader of the York gang. When the entirety of the gang, headed by the lord mayor, offer him leadership, Richard accepts it with pretended reluctance. Arrangements are made for his election.
To secure his position, the Richard suggests to Buckingham that the young 'princes' are to be silenced, but Buckingham falters at the thought of such a monstrous deed. Richard, socked, learns that Henry, a charismatic gang member who has elected to have a seperate gang to Richard's, has gathered several of Richard's allies as his own. This turn of events does not deter Richard from trying to take control. He has rumors spread that Anne is mortally ill, and then betrays and murders his way to further control. Buckingham, now treated disdainfully and denied the promised control of of certain territories, resolves to join Henry. Anne dies, and Richard offers himself as husband for his niece, Elizabeth, who denies him violently. Henry arrives and claims leadership for himself, offering a peace that Richard can never truly extricate for them.
Richard puts a price on Henry's head and leads his gang to meet with Henry's, intending to wipe them out the next day. That night, Richard takes a sever dose of cocaine and is haunted by apparitions of his own victims, who tauntingly predict his downfall. They appraise Henry, calling him a hero, much to Richard's rage. The two gangs explode into the streets in a vicious battle, during which Richard fights but upon discovering that he is outnumbered intends to flee in a car, which has its tyres shot while speeding, causing it to crash and Richard to be injured. Richard tries to hail a car as he escapes the battle, but Henry appears and the two engage in a violent gunfight which becomes a knife fight, which Henry eventually wins, killing Richard.
Henry becomes the gang leader and pacifies both sides, ensuring peace on the streets of London.
- Sean Bean as Richard III, an ambitious gangster who is obsessed with ruling the underworld of London.
- Christian Bale as Henry VI, a charismatic and wise gangster and Richard's archenemy, who is solely intent on ridding London of Richard.