John Schlesinger's solid adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel sees three rival suitors vying for the affections of the beautiful Bathsheba Everdene (Julie Christie decked out in a variety of bonnets and frilly dresses), who has just inherited a farm. The men in her life are stout, whiskered yeoman Gabriel Oak (Alan Bates), an impoverished local farmer; neurotic, repressed squire William Boldwood (Peter Finch); and handsome rascal Sgt Troy (Terrence Stamp), who dresses as if he's Flashman and breaks women's hearts for a hobby.Thanks to cameraman Nic Roeg and production... designer Richard MacDonald (who also worked for Joseph Losey), 19th-century Dorset looks as pretty and as picturesque as a John Constable reproduction on top of a biscuit tin. Not that Schlesinger or screenwriter Frederic Raphael underplay the duress of rural life. We see the hardship of the farm workers' lives as the seasons turn. The film opens with a spectacular sequence in which Gabriel Oak's dog drives his flock of sheep over a cliff, thereby forcing him into penury. Whether hunger or heartbreak, every character here suffers. Bathsheba (like the model Christie plays in Darling) is a free-spirit in a society in which women's rights are severely restricted. --Geoffrey Macnab [show more]
I have watched this film so many times yet I never tire of the characters. Julie Christie is superb in the lead role, her beauty and charm shine through in her loving yet temperamental character. Terrence Stamp the handsome rogue who steals her hearty and nearly destroys her is captivating. The sop who loses everything is wonderfully portrayed by Peter Finch. Alan Bates the tough, stoic hero who stands by her to the end and says the immortal words ............................................. but i had better not tell you as it would spoil it for you but when you hear them you will know!!
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