‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ by Samuel Beckett | Beckett on Film | 2001


In Krapp’s Last Tape, which was written in English in 1958, an old man reviews his life and assesses his predicament. We learn about him not from the 69-year-old man on stage, but from his 39-year-old self on the tape he chooses to listen to. On the ‘awful occasion’ of his birthday, Krapp was then and is now in the habit of reviewing the past year and ‘separating the grain from the husks’. He isolates memories of value, fertility and nourishment to set against creeping death ‘when all my dust has settled’.

‘Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn’t want them back.’

Krapp’s Last Tape

Running time: 58 minutes

The Beckett on Film project includes all 19 plays of Samuel Beckett, considered the most significant Irish playwright of the 20th century. Many of these outstanding filmed productions have received critical acclaim at prestigious international film festivals around the world including New York, Toronto and Venice.


Atom Egoyan’s writing and direction for film, television and theatre have been acclaimed throughout the world. He has won numerous awards including the Grand Prix and the International Critics’ Award at the Cannes Film Festival and two Academy Award nominations. His films include Felicia’s Journey, the award-winning The Sweet HereafterExoticaCalendarThe Adjuster, Speaking Parts, Family Viewing and Next of Kin.

‘I am fascinated by human interaction with technology. Beckett explores the contrast between memory and recorded memory as Krapp reminisces on his 69th birthday, struggling to reconcile perception and reality. Technology is an enormous issue today, so Beckett’s themes are hugely relevant. The human inability to communicate in reality is brought into sharp focus.’
–Atom Egoyan


The vast credit list of John Hurt in film, theatre, and television has earned him a number of awards worldwide, including three BAFTAs and two Oscar nominations. His film credits include: Alan Parker’s Midnight Express (Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, and a nomination for an Oscar); David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (British Academy Award for Best Actor; Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for Best Actor); Ridley Scott’s Alien (BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor); Stephen Frears’ The Hit; John Irvin’s Champions; and 1984. Most recently his performance in Love and Death on Long Island earned him a nomination for the Best Actor of the Year Award from the British Film Critics’ Circle. He most recently starred in Captain Correlli’s Mandolin.