For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
3.7
725 Ratings

Tess

Directed by Roman Polanski
United Kingdom, 1979
Drama

Synopsis

Directed by recently exiled Polish-American director Roman Polanski, this lushly photographed Franco-British production of the Thomas Hardy novel, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, is a stunning portrayal of an innocent adrift in a hostile, chaotic world.

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
Tess Directed by Roman Polanski

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1981 | 3 wins including: Best Cinematography

1981 | 3 nominations including: Best Picture

What are people saying?

  • msmichel's rating of the film Tess

    Had the chance to see a re-mastered issue projected at TIFF lightbox representing my first viewing of the film since the eighties. Polanski offered a mostly faithful if subdued adaptation of the Hardy classic with the contributions of the artisans involved often overcoming the performers. Kinski makes a fine Tess evolving from timid peasant to firebrand over the 3 hour runtime. Winner of 3 Academy awards.

  • Dzimas's rating of the film Tess

    I thought this was one of the most successful adaptations of a novel to film. Kinski was perfect as Tess, and the film moved with the same beautiful pace as the novel, bringing the story just as evocatively to its tragic end.

  • Roscoe's rating of the film Tess

    A surprisingly lifeless affair. Subpar performances, with Peter Firth's reptilian Angel Clare setting some kind of standard for sheer Implausibility as a Romantic Hero.

  • ASHES IN THE HOURGLASS's rating of the film Tess

    I don't really know what to conclude. It has moments of affecting drama and is constantly beautiful (Nastassja Kinski is a screen goddess). However, the length seems unearned with sequences that evaporate in my memory and most male characters are just complete douches. Even other feminist films at least give their male characters SOME dimensions. Still, overall, it's worth watching.

  • Phil Worfel's rating of the film Tess

    Absolutely beautiful in all aspects. I can't speak to its fidelity to the novel in regards to its translation of characters or plot to the screen but most of the talent bring a lot to their respective roles giving the film a vital quality while maintaining a deliberate pace. Kinski does an admirable job and makes good choices but doesn't bring much range to the character. Still a striking beauty on the screen.

  • filmcapsule's rating of the film Tess

    Equal parts achingly romantic and deviously cruel. Anyone who doesn't see Polanski in this isn't looking hard enough.

  • n/a's rating of the film Tess

    Polanski’s grotesqueries recede to subtleties and Kinski, with a storyline reliant on tiny narratorial incongruities: the contrast of the tranquility of the countryside alongside the inner turmoil of the characters; the profusion of crossing paths, roads, intersections, entrances, and exits; and at last beginning with the end credits, signifying from the outset some haunting irrevocabilities...

  • A47's rating of the film Tess

    "Why not make the most of life?" This one really needs a restoration. Entire conversations in the silence. Polanski's Barry Lyndon; his fullest exhibition of female existentialism. Cocks and nipples litter the first half. Good old fashion rejection goes a long way -shitty honeymoon. "All is vanity." No, not even toil can free you from your pedigree. See, life is hard for the beautiful.