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Betrayal (1983 film)

Betrayal film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Jones
Produced bySam Spiegel
Written byHarold Pinter (play and screenplay)
StarringJeremy Irons
Ben Kingsley
Patricia Hodge
CinematographyMike Fash
Edited byJohn Bloom
Distributed by20th Century Fox (United States)
Virgin Group (United Kingdom)
Release date
  • 19 February 1983 (1983-02-19)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Betrayal is a 1983 film adaptation of Harold Pinter's 1978 play of the same name. With a semi-autobiographical screenplay by Pinter, the film was produced by Sam Spiegel and directed by David Jones. It was critically well received, praised notably by New York Times film critic Vincent Canby[1] and by Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert.[2] Distributed by 20th Century Fox International Classics (USA), it was first screened in movie theaters in New York in February 1983.[3]


Betrayal follows significant moments in the seven-year extramarital affair of art gallery owner Emma (Patricia Hodge) with literary agent Jerry (Jeremy Irons), the best friend of her husband Robert (Ben Kingsley), a London publisher. With titles such as "Two years earlier" and "One year earlier," nine sequences are shown in reverse chronological order with Emma and Jerry meeting for the first time at the conclusion of the film.

Pinter based the drama on his seven-year (1962-69) clandestine affair with television presenter Joan Bakewell, who was married to producer-director Michael Bakewell. At the time, Pinter was married to actress Vivien Merchant.[4][5]


  • Jeremy Irons as Jerry
  • Ben Kingsley as Robert
  • Patricia Hodge as Emma
  • Avril Elgar as Mrs. Banks
  • Ray Marioni as Waiter
  • Caspar Norman as Sam
  • Chloe Billington as Charlotte, age five
  • Hannah Davies as Charlotte, age nine
  • Michael König as Ned, age two
  • Alexander McIntosh as Ned, age five


Pinter's screenplay was nominated for a 1983 Academy Award for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Gale 256, 415).[6]


  1. ^ Vincent Canby, "Movie Review: Betrayal (1983: Pinter's 'Betrayal,' Directed by David Jones"[permanent dead link], New York Times, February 20, 1983. Web. Retrieved on February 7, 2009.
  2. ^ Roger Ebert, "Betrayal", Chicago Sun-Times, March 18, 1983. Rpt. Web. Retrieved on February 7, 2009.
  3. ^ Susan Hollis Merritt, Pinter in Play: Critical Strategies and the Plays of Harold Pinter (1990; Durham and London: Duke UP, 1995) 236, 300. The first film reviews of such New York commercial screenings cited by Merritt date from 20 February 1983 (236-39).
  4. ^ Michael Billington, Harold Pinter, rev. and expanded ed. (1996; London: Faber and Faber, 2007) 264–67.
  5. ^ Joan Bakewell, The Centre of the Bed (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2003). ISBN 0-340-82310-0. (Two chapters deal with the relationship and affair with Pinter.)
  6. ^ Academy Awards Database Archived 2012-01-14 at the Wayback Machine, accessed September 14, 2007.

External links