The Bad Lord Byron

The Bad Lord Byron
Directed by David MacDonald
Produced by Aubrey Baring
Starring Dennis Price
Mai Zetterling
Music by Cedric Thorpe Davie
Cinematography Stephen Dade
Edited by James Needs
Triton Films
Distributed by GFD (UK)
Release dates
Running time
85 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget ₤200,000[1] or £223,900[2]
Box office £75,000 (by 1953)[2]

The Bad Lord Byron is a 1949 British historical drama film centered on the life of Lord Byron. It was directed by David MacDonald and starred Dennis Price as Byron with Mai Zetterling, Linden Travers and Joan Greenwood.[3]

The film sees life from the perspective of Lord Byron, seriously wounded in Greece where he is fighting for Greek independence. From his deathbed, Byron remembers his life and many loves, imagining that he's pleading his case before a celestial court.[4]



The film was announced in 1944 by Two Cities with Eric Portman to play the title role.[5]

Critical reception and box office

A critic for Time Out has written of the film:

Not as bad as its reputation would suggest, since it is well acted and stylishly shot, but the script is undeniably silly. Starting with Byron (Price) dying in Greece, it cuts to a celestial trial at which the women in his life appear to give evidence, their stories being seen in flashback. The fatuous point is to determine whether Byron is a great poet and fighter for liberty or a bad, evil rake. Very basic stuff, historically inaccurate and not made any more convincing by the eventual revelation that the judge is Byron himself (though his lines have hitherto been delivered by someone else).[4]

The film was a box-office disaster. In 1949 it had earned £22,400, recording a loss of £179,200.[2]


  1. Geoffrey Macnab, J. Arthur Rank and the British Film Industry, London, Routledge (1993) p183
  2. 1 2 3 Andrew Spicer, Sydney Box Manchester Uni Press 2006 p 211
  3. "Bad Lord Byron | BFI | BFI". Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  4. 1 2 TM (Tom Milne). "The Bad Lord Byron". Time Out. London. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  5. Andrew Spicer, "The Apple of Mr. Rank’s Mercatorial Eye’: Managing Director of Gainsborough Pictures"

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