Beckett on Film

Beckett on Film was a project aimed at making film versions of all nineteen of Samuel Beckett's stage plays, with the exception of the early and unperformed Eleutheria. This endeavour was successfully completed, with the first films being shown in 2001.

Beckett on Film
Produced byMichael Colgan
Alan Moloney
Written bySamuel Beckett
StarringPenelope Wilton
Harold Pinter
Julianne Moore
Release date
29 August 2002
Running time
647 minutes

The project was conceived by Michael Colgan, artistic director of Dublin's Gate Theatre. The films were produced by Colgan and Alan Moloney for the Irish broadcaster RTÉ, the British broadcaster Channel 4 and the Irish Film Board. Each had a different cast and director, drawn from theatre, film and other fields.

Ten of the films were screened at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival and some shown on Channel 4 television. On Wednesday, 6 February 2002, the series won the Best TV Drama award at the 6th The South Bank Show Award at the Savoy Theatre in London. The films never enjoyed a general cinematic release, but, in September 2001, all nineteen were screened at the Barbican Centre in London. They were also released in a number of videos and as a four-DVD box set, comprising a souvenir programme and numerous additional features.

A documentary video, titled Check the Gate: Putting Beckett on Film and directed by Pearse Lehane, was released on 5 February 2003. It followed closely the project's work.[1]


Waiting for Godot

The play was originally published in 1952. Of directing the film version, Michael Lindsay-Hogg said, "Beckett creates an amazing blend of comedy, high wit and an almost unbearable poignancy in a funny yet heartbreaking image of man's fate. With the camera, you can pick those moments and emphasise them, making Beckett's rare and extraordinary words all the more intimate [...]. The play is about what it is about. Samuel Beckett would have said it's about two men waiting on the side of the road for someone to turn up. But you can invest in the importance of who is going to turn up. Is it a local farmer? Is it God? Is it salvation? Or is it simply someone who just doesn't show up?

"The important thing is the ambiguity, the fact that it doesn't really state what it is. That's why it's so great for the audience to be part of it: they fill in a lot of the blanks; it works in their imaginations.

"For me, Beckett's view of the world is quite sadly accurate. We are all really just bugs in the carpet."[2][3]

The cast was composed of the following:


Original play published 1957.

Happy Days

Original play published 1960.

Act Without Words I

Original play written 1956.

Act Without Words II

Original play written 1956.

  • A – Pat Kinevane
  • B – Marcello Magni
  • Directed by Enda Hughes
  • Running Time – 11 minutes

Krapp's Last Tape

Original play written 1958.

Rough for Theatre I

Original play written late 1950s.

Rough for Theatre II

Original play written late 1950s.


Original play written 1963.

Come and Go

Original play written 1965.


Original play written 1969.

Not I

Original play written 1972.

That Time

Original play written 1975.

  • Listener and Voices – Niall Buggy
  • Directed by Charles Garrad
  • Running Time – 20 minutes


Original play written 1975.

A Piece of Monologue

Original play written 1980.

  • Speaker – Stephen Brennan
  • Directed by Robin Lefevre
  • Running Time – 20 minutes


Original play written 1981.

Ohio Impromptu

Original play written 1981.


Original play written 1982.

What Where

Original play written 1983.


Reviews were generally laudatory. Michael Dwyer, film correspondent of The Irish Times, called it "Commendably ambitious and remarkably successful, a truly unique collection".[4]


  2. "Waiting for Godot". Beckett on Film. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  3. "Waiting for Godot". Beckett on Film. Archived from the original on 2 April 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
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