Barry Lyndon

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Barry Lyndon is a 1975 film about an Irish rogue who wins the heart of a rich widow and assumes her dead husband's position in 18th Century aristocracy.

Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Written by Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon, itself based on the life of Andrew Robinson Stoney, by William Makepeace Thackeray.


  • No lad who has liberty for the first time, and twenty guineas in his pocket, is very sad, and Barry rode towards Dublin thinking not so much of the kind mother left alone, and of the home behind him, but of tomorrow, and all the wonders it would bring.
  • Barry's first taste of battle was only a skirmish against a small rearguard of Frenchmen who occupied an orchard beside a road down which, a few hours later, the English main force would wish to pass. Though this encounter is not recorded in any history books, it was memorable enough for those who took part.
  • It is well to dream of glorious war in a snug armchair at home, but it is a very different thing to see it first hand. And after the death of his friend, Barry's thoughts turned from those of military glory to those of finding a way to escape the service to which he was now tied for another six years. Gentlemen may talk of the age of chivalry, but remember the ploughmen, poachers and pickpockets whom they lead. It is with these sad instruments that your great warriors and kings have been doing their murderous work in the world.
  • A lady who sets her heart upon a lad in uniform must prepare to change lovers pretty quickly, or her life will be but a sad one. This heart of Lieschen's was like many a neighbouring town and had been stormed and occupied several times before Barry came to invest it.
  • The Prussian service was considerably worse than the English. The life that the private soldier led was a frightful one. Punishment was incessant, and every officer had the right to inflict it. The gauntlet was the most common penalty for minor offences. The more serious ones were punishable by mutilation or death. At the close of the Seven Years' War, the army, so renowned for its disciplined valour, was officered by native Prussians. But it was composed, for the most part, of men from the lowest levels of humanity, hired or stolen from almost every nation in Europe. Thus Barry fell into the very worst of courses and company and was soon very far advanced in the science of every kind of misconduct.
  • Five years in the army, and some considerable experience of the world, had by now dispelled any of those romantic notions regarding love with which Barry commenced life. And he began to have it in mind, as so many gentlemen had done before him, to marry a woman of fortune and condition. And, as such things so often happen, these thoughts closely coincided with his setting first sight upon a lady who will henceforth play a considerable part in the drama of his life: the Countess of Lyndon, Viscountess Bullingdon of England, Baroness of Castle Lyndon of the Kingdom of Ireland, a woman of vast wealth and great beauty. She was the wife of The Right Honourable Sir Charles Reginald Lyndon, Knight of the Bath, and Minister to George III at several of the smaller Courts of Europe, a cripple, wheeled about in a chair, worn out by gout and a myriad of diseases. Her Ladyship's Chaplain, Mr. Runt, acted in the capacity of tutor to her son, the little Viscount Bullingdon, a melancholy little boy, much attached to his mother.
  • Barry was born clever enough at gaining a fortune, but incapable of keeping one. For the qualities and energies which lead a man to triumph in the former case are often the very cause of his undoing in the latter.
  • If he had murdered Lord Bullingdon, Barry could hardly be received with greater contempt and coldness than what now followed him in town and country. His friends fell away from him. And a legend arose of his cruelty to his stepson.
  • Now all the bills came down on him together. All the bills he had been contracting for the years of his marriage and which the creditors sent in with a hasty unanimity. Their amount was frightful. Barry was now bound up in an inextricable toil of bills and debts, of mortgages and insurances, and in all the evils attendant upon them. And Lady Lyndon's income was hampered almost irretrievably to satisfy these claims.
  • Barry had his faults, but no man could say of him that he was not a good and tender father. He loved his son with a blind partiality. He denied him nothing. It is impossible to convey what high hopes he had for the boy and how he indulged in a thousand fond anticipations as to his future success and figure in the world. But fate had determined that he should leave none of his race behind him, and that he should finish his life poor, lonely, and childless.
  • (final lines) Utterly baffled and beaten, what was the lonely and broken-hearted man to do? He took the annuity and returned to Ireland with his mother to complete his recovery. Sometime later he travelled to the Continent. His life there, we have not the means of following accurately. But he appears to have resumed his former profession of a gambler without his former success. He never saw Lady Lyndon again.


Second: Gentlemen, cock your pistols! Gentlemen...
Narrator: Barry's father...
Second: ...aim your pistols!
Narrator: ...had been bred, like many other young sons of a genteel family, to the profession of the law.
Second: One!
Narrator: And there is no doubt he would've...
Second: Two!
Narrator: ...made an eminent figure in his profession...
Second: Three!
[the two duelists fire at each other, one of them collapses]
Narrator: ...had he not been killed in a duel, which arose over the purchase of some horses.

[Redmond Barry sees a lone figure down the road, his back facing him]
Redmond Barry: Excuse me, sir!
[Man turns around aiming dual pistols at Barry]
Captain Feeny: Good morning again, young sir!
[a young man on horseback approaches and holds Barry up from behind with a pistol]
Captain Feeny: Don't even think about it. Get down off that horse. Raise your hands high above your head, please. Come forward... stop. How do you do? I'm Captain Feeny.
Redmond Barry: Captain Feeny?
Captain Feeny: Captain Feeny at your service.
Redmond Barry: THE Captain Feeny?
Captain Feeny: None other. May I introduce you to my son, Seamus.
Seamus: How do you do?
Redmond Barry: How do you do?
Captain Feeny: To whom have I the honour of speaking?
Redmond Barry: My name's Redmond Barry.
Captain Feeny: How do you do Mr. Barry? And now I'm afraid we must get on to the more regrettable stage of our brief acquaintance. Turn around, and keep your hands high above your head, please.
[Seamus frisks Barry and finds a pouch full of money]
Seamus: There must be 20 guineas in gold here, father!
Captain Feeny: Well, well, well. You seem to be a very well set up young gentleman, sir!
Redmond Barry: Captain Feeny, that's all the money my mother had in the world. Mightn't I be allowed to keep it? I'm just one step ahead of the law myself. I killed an English officer in a duel, and I'm on my way to Dublin until things cool down.
Captain Feeny: Mr. Barry, in my profession we hear many such stories. Yours is one of the most intriguing and touching I've heard in many weeks. Nevertheless, I'm afraid I cannot grant your request. But I'll tell you what I will do. I'll allow you to keep those fine pair of boots which in normal circumstances I would have for myself. The next town is only 5 miles away, and I suggest you now start walking.
Redmond Barry: Mightn't I be allowed to keep my horse?
Captain Feeny: I should like to oblige you, but with people like us, we must be able to travel faster than our clients. Good day, young sir.
[Barry soon is a few paces ahead of the robbers]
Captain Feeny: You can put down your hands now, Mr. Barry!

[Barry has just been arrested by the Prussians for impersonating a British officer]
Redmond Barry: I'm under arrest? Captain Potzdorf, sir! I'm a British officer.
Captain Potzdorf: You are a liar! You are an impostor. You are a deserter. I suspected you this morning, and your lies and folly have confirmed this to me. You pretend to carry dispatches to a British general who has been dead these ten months. You say your uncle is the British Ambassador in Berlin, with the ridiculous name of O'Grady. Now, will you join and take the bounty sir, or will you be given up?
Redmond Barry: I volunteer.

Redmond Barry: Sir, I... I have a confession to make to you. I'm an Irishman. And my name is Redmond Barry. I was abducted into the Prussian army two years ago, and now have been put into your service by my Captain Potzdorf, and his uncle, the Minister of Police... to serve as a watch upon your... actions... and to give information to the same quarter.
Narrator: The Chevalier was as much affected as Barry at thus finding one of his countrymen. For he too was an exile from home, and a friendly voice, a look, brought the old country back to his memory again.

Sir Charles Lyndon: Have you done with my Lady?
Redmond Barry: I beg your pardon?
Sir Charles Lyndon: Come, come, sir. I'm a man who would rather be known as a cuckold than a fool.

Sir Charles Lyndon: [Laughs] The cheek! He wants to step into my shoes. He wants to step into my shoes! Is it not a pleasure Gentlemen for me, as I am drawing near the goal - to find my home such a happy one - my wife so fond of me, that she is even now thinking of appointing a successor? Isn't it a comfort to see her like a prudent housewife - getting everything ready for her husband's departure?
Redmond Barry: I hope you're not thinking of leaving us soon, Sir Charles?
Sir Charles Lyndon: Not so soon my dear as you may fancy, perhaps. Why man I've been given over many times these four years. And there was always a candidate or two - waiting to apply for the situation. I'm sorry for you, Mr. Barry. It grieves me to keep you or any gentleman waiting. Had you not better arrange with my doctor or have the cook flavour my omelet with arsenic, eh? What are the odds, gentlemen, that I live to see Mr. Barry hang yet?
Redmond Barry: Sir, let those laugh that win.

Lord Bullingdon: Don't you think he fits my shoes very well, Your Ladyship? [kneels to his young half-brother] Dear child, what a pity it is I am not dead, for your sake. The Lyndons would then have a worthy representative, and enjoy all the benefits, from the illustrious-blooded Barrys of Barryville. Would they not, Mister Redmond Barry?
Lady Lyndon: From the way I love this child, my lord, you ought to know how I would have loved his elder brother...had the latter proved worthy of any mother's affection!
Lord Bullingdon: Madam! I have borne, as long as any mortal could endure, the ill treatment of the insolent Irish upstart whom you've taken into your bed. It is not only the lowness of his birth, and the general brutality of his manners, which disgusts me. But also the shameful nature of his conduct towards Your Ladyship, his thoroughly un-gentry-like behaviour, his open infidelity, his shameless robberies and swindling of my property...and of yours. And so -- as I cannot personally chastise this lowbred ruffian, as I cannot bear to witness his treatment of you, and as I loathe his horrible society as if it were the plague -- I have decided to leave my home and never return, at least during his detested life, or during my own. [Lady Lyndon runs from the room in tears, dragging Bryan with her. Barry pounces on Bullingdon, whom he proceeds to choke and thrash, much to the shock of their guests]


  • B-brave. A-acknowledging. R-resilient. R-reckless. Y-yielding. L-lovelorn. Y-yearning. N-noble. D-deceptive. O-ominous. N-narcissistic.
  • In the 18th Century, it takes much guile for an Irish lad without prospects to win the prestige and privileges of English nobility. It takes far more than guile to avoid losing them.
  • The tale of a rogue who conned his way to the top...and back again.
  • Upstart. Soldier. Hero. Deserter. Scoundrel. Opportunist. Family man. Adulterer. Ruffian. Pariah. Victim.
  • Great was his rise -- and much greater his fall.
  • Let those laugh that win...while they can laugh and do win.
  • After reaching the top, where can you go -- except down? [1]




  1. Barry Lyndon – Taglines. IMDB. Retrieved on 3 January 2022.
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