The director dreamed of telling stories entirely through images, and in this extraordinarily beautiful existentialist anti-epic he came close to realizing that goal. In 18th century England his eponymous protagonist peers into the candle-lit dimness of stately homes, seeking clues to correct behavior. He learns enough to rise in society, but not enough to prevent his fall. In its cover story, TIME, almost alone, predicted history would judge the film a masterpiece. Thirty years later, history is beginning to agree.