Equus

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Released 1977

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Equus

Movie Summary

Director:
Sidney Lumet
Released:
1977
Rating:
R

Equus is the acclaimed 1977 adaptation of the venerated play by Peter Shaffer, directed by filmmaking luminary Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Network). The story is told in first-person narrative by Martin Dysart (Richard Burton, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), an English psychiatrist based in a low-security mental hospital. In sweepingly philosophical language, Dysart relates his experiences with Alan Strang (Peter Firth, Lifeforce), a 17-year-old boy arrested for blinding six horses with a metal spike at the riding stable where he was employed. Hesther Saloman (Eileen Atkins), a British magistrate and friend of Dysart, became convinced of Alan's insanity during his trial and talked the court into substituting psychiatric treatment for imprisonment. Dysart agrees to work with Alan and a series of treatment sessions begin in which he attempts to unearth the hidden causes of insanity. Through encounters with Alan, his devotedly Christian mother Dora (Joan Plowright), surly father Frank (Colin Blakely), and employer Harry Dalton (Harry Andrews), Dysart gradually pieces together the religious, sexual, and symbolic phenomena that have created Alan's fractured existence.

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Themes

Classics, Psychological