A nematic liquid crystal light shutter with improved angle of view by the incorporation of retardation plate means disposed in front of the liquid crystal cell to compensate for the off-axis performance of the device due to the birefringent nature of the liquid crystal material. When the transparent plates of the liquid crystal display are rubbed or otherwise aligned at right angles to each other to effect a twisted-nematic structure, two retardation plates are employed, the net retardation of each being less than or equal to the net retardation of the liquid crystal material itself. On the other hand, when the plates are rubbed or otherwise aligned parallel to each other, three retardation plates can be employed. The retardation plates can be incorporated into the front polarizer which is to be used on the display. Also disclosed is a liquid crystal display device having an exceedingly high speed of response.