Betrayal (1983): Harold Pinter on Screen with Ben Kingsley and Jeremy Irons

Harold Pinter’s screenplay for the intimate, piercing  marital drama, “Betrayal,” directed by David Jones, was Oscar-nominated, but did not win (see below).

Jeremy Irons has betrayed his best friend, Ben Kingsley, by having an affair with Kingsley’s wife, Patricia Hodge.

Structurally, the story moves backward in time, from two years after the affair ended to its beginnings, nine years earlier.

The text was more absorbing as a theater piece, and while as a movie is too verbose, there is no denying that it is superlatively acted by the three leads.

Pinter’s own affair with Lady Antonia Fraser, which occupied the tabloids for a while, no doubt contributed to the texture of the play.


Oscar Nominations: 1

 Screenplay: Harold Pinter

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner was James L. Brooks, for “Terms of Endearment,” which also won Best Picture and other Oscars.

Two years earlier, in 1981, Pinter was nominated for adapting to the screen “The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” based on the novel by John Fowles.

This category was dominated by the Brits in 1981.  The other nominees were: Julius J. Epstein (better known for “Casablanca”) for “Reuben, Reuben,” also a British movie, and the English writers, Ronald Harwood for “The Dresser,” and Willy Russell for “Educating Rita.”