Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • PG
  • Drama, Romance
  • 1979
  • 170 mins




Fine but slightly un-British feeling adaptation of Hardy's novel from Roman Polanski. Natassja Kinski stars as the ill-fated country girl


There are quite a few things wrong with this attractive but rather shallow adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel, 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles', the third screen version.

Although Kinski's beauty is exquisitely framed and she copes well with the characterization of the innocent country girl corrupted and discarded by polite society, her slightly German-accented English is disconcerting.

So, too, is the background as it was shot in Normandy rather than Dorset because of the extradition treaty between Britain and the USA, where Polanski was wanted on a morals charge. Still, the film won Oscars for Cinematography, Costume Design and Art Direction.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth, John Collin, Rosemary Martin, Leigh Lawson, David Markham
  • Director: Roman Polanski
  • Screen Writer: John Brownjohn, Roman Polanski, Gérard Brach
  • Writer (Book): Thomas Hardy
  • Producer: Claude Berri
  • Photographer: Ghislain Cloquet, Geoffrey Unsworth
  • Composer: Philippe Sarde

In a nutshell

Not a high point in Polanski's career but not without its merits.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4


    Katell Quillévéré's family-based drama follows Suzanne, a teenage mother who falls for a gangster

  • Film4

    The Purge

    Ethan Hawke stars in James DeMonaco's drama about a sanctioned night where all crime is legal

  • Channel 4 Blog

    BIFA brings 2015 nominated films to cinemas

    BIFA-nominated films including the Film4-backed 45 Years, The Lobster, Macbeth, Amy and Ex Machina will be available in cinemas nationwide from 23 November in a special public screenings event. The

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Film4-backed films receive 41 nominations at the BIFAs

    Film4 has received a total of 41 nominations for the films it has backed at this year¿s British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), with the nomination lists for the Best British Film and Best Director a

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register