Alec Guinness

Alec Guinness

15 Episodes

Heralded by Peter Ustinov as “the outstanding poet of anonymity” for his virtuosic ability to disappear into a role, British cinema icon Alec Guinness was the ultimate example of character actor as movie star, renowned for his nuanced, fully inhabited performances and dazzling range. Beginning his film career under the direction of David Lean in the acclaimed Dickens adaptations GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST, Guinness was soon launched to international stardom with his brilliant turns in a run of beloved Ealing comedies: the delightful crime caper THE LAVENDER HILL MOB; the razor-sharp satire THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT; and the wickedly funny KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS, which contains no fewer than nine quintessential Guinness performances. His extraordinary adaptability and chameleonic genius is on full display in this extensive career survey, which also includes Carol Reed’s classic espionage satire OUR MAN IN HAVANA and rarities such as THE SCAPEGOAT and THE PRISONER.

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Alec Guinness
  • Alec Guinness Teaser

    Episode 1

  • Great Expectations

    Episode 2

    Directed by David Lean • 1946 • United Kingdom

    One of the great translations of literature into film, David Lean's GREAT EXPECTATIONS brings Charles Dickens's masterpiece to robust on-screen life. Pip, Magwitch, Miss Havisham, and Estella populate Lean's magnificent miniature, beautifully photog...

  • Oliver Twist

    Episode 3

    Directed by David Lean • 1948 • United Kingdom

    Expressionistic noir photography suffuses David Lean's OLIVER TWIST with a nightmarish quality, fitting its bleak, industrial setting. In Dickens' classic tale, an orphan wends his way from cruel apprenticeship to den of thieves in search of a tru...

  • Kind Hearts and Coronets

    Episode 4

    Directed by Robert Hamer • 1949 • United Kingdom
    Starring Alec Guiness, Dennis Price, Valerie Hobson

    Director Robert Hamer’s fiendishly funny KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS stands as one of Ealing Studios’ greatest triumphs, and one of the most wickedly hilarious black comedies ever made. Dennis Pr...

  • Last Holiday

    Episode 5

    Directed by Henry Cass • 1950 • United Kingdom
    Starring Alec Guinness, Beatrice Campbell

    Told by his doctor he has no more than a few months to live, drab British workingman George Bird (Alec Guinness) decides to spend his savings on lodging at a seaside resort. Once there, however, he finds his...

  • The Lavender Hill Mob

    Episode 6

    Directed by Charles Crichton • 1951 • United Kingdom
    Starring Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Sidney James

    Alec Guinness is a prim and respectable bank clerk who organizes a gang to steal gold bullion and smuggle it out of the country as Eiffel Tower souvenir paperweights. Delightful acting,...

  • The Man in the White Suit

    Episode 7

    Directed by Alexander Mackendrick • 1951 • United Kingdom
    Starring Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker

    A young laboratory assistant in a textile mill infuriates management and labor when he invents an indestructible, stain-resistant fabric and tries to put it on the market. One of the...

  • The Card

    Episode 8

    Directed by Ronald Neame • 1952 • United Kingdom
    Starring Alec Guinness, Glynis Johns

    Alec Guinness and Glynis Johns are at their best in THE CARD, a story of an enterprising young man determined to succeed in a hard, cruel world. In the course of his upward climb, he meets an equally sharp-w...

  • The Captain’s Paradise

    Episode 9

    Directed by Anthony Kimmins • 1953 • United Kingdom
    Starring Alec Guinness, Yvonne De Carlo, Celia Johnson

    Alec Guinness is at his peerless best in this frothy, soufflé-light comedy. He stars as Captain Henry St. James, a ship’s captain bouncing between ports in Gibraltar and North Africa and...

  • The Prisoner

    Episode 10

    Directed by Peter Glenville • 1955 • United Kingdom
    Starring Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins

    Unfolding in an unnamed Eastern European country after World War II, THE CARDINAL is a stripped-down struggle of wills between two archetypal characters. The Cardinal (Alec Guinness) has been arrested and...

  • The Horse’s Mouth

    Episode 11

    Directed by Ronald Neame • 1958 • United Kingdom

    In Ronald Neame's film of Joyce Cary's classic novel, Alec Guinness transforms himself into one of cinema's most indelible comic figures: the lovably scruffy painter Gulley Jimson. As the ill-behaved Jimson searches for a perfect canvas, he dete...

  • The Scapegoat

    Episode 12

    Directed by Robert Hamer • 1959 • United Kingdom
    Starring Alec Guiness, Bette Davis, Nicole Maurey

    In this taut mystery based on a novel by Daphne du Maurier, Alec Guiness plays both schoolteacher John Barratt and wealthy Count Jacques de Gue, who meet while John is on vacation in France and ...

  • Our Man in Havana

    Episode 13

    Directed by Carol Reed • 1959 • United Kingdom
    Starring Alec Guiness, Maureen O’Hara, Burl Ives

    Based on the novel by Grahame Greene, this witty spy comedy stars Alec Guiness as Jim Wormold, a vacuum-cleaner salesman in Cuba who joins the British Secret Service in order to keep up with his da...

  • Tunes of Glory

    Episode 14

    Directed by Ronald Neame • 1960 • United Kingdom

    In Ronald Neame's Tunes of Glory, the incomparable Alec Guinness inhabits the role of Jock Sinclair, a whiskey-drinking, up-by-the-bootstraps commanding officer of a peacetime Scottish battalion. Sinclair is a lifetime military man, who expects ...

  • Damn the Defiant!

    Episode 15

    Directed by Lewis Gilbert • 1962 • United Kingdom
    Starring Alec Guinness, Dirk Bogarde, Anthony Quayle

    Alec Guinness must battle a mutinous crew and Napoleon’s fleet in this rousing historical adventure. As commander of the British warship H.M.S. Defiant, the humane Crawford (Guinness) strive...