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Brief Encounter (1945)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  24 August 1946 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 23,914 users  
Reviews: 183 user | 108 critic

Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband.

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Title: Brief Encounter (1945)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Celia Johnson ...
...
...
Joyce Carey ...
Cyril Raymond ...
Everley Gregg ...
Marjorie Mars ...
Margaret Barton ...
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Storyline

At a café on a railway station, housewife Laura Jesson meets doctor Alec Harvey. Although they are both already married, they gradually fall in love with each other. They continue to meet every Thursday in the small café, although they know that their love is impossible. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of the most precious moments in woman's life!

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 August 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Begegnung  »

Box Office

Budget:

£170,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first choice for the Doctor Alec Harvey had been Roger Livesey, but when David Lean and Anthony Havelock-Allan saw Trevor Howard, in a rough cut of Johnny in the Clouds (1945) they decided to offer the part to Trevor Howard, who at that time was an unknown actor, who had been invalided out of the army. See more »

Goofs

When Laura is running away from Dr. Lynn's apartment in the rain, her book is next to her body, under her purse. Halfway down the street, the angle changes on the still-running Laura, but now the book is outside her purse. And it never gets wet! See more »

Quotes

Myrtle Bagot: [smacks her on the backside] Albert Godby, how dare you!
Albert Godby: I couldn't resist it!
Myrtle Bagot: Oh, well, trouble you for keeping your hands to yourself!
Albert Godby: Oh, you blushing - oh, you look wonderful when you're angry... just like an avenging angel.
Myrtle Bagot: I'll give you avenging angel!... Coming in here taking liberties!
Albert Godby: I thought last Monday, you said you wouldn't object to a friendly little slap.
Myrtle Bagot: Never mind about last Monday... I'm on duty now. And I should think to what would happen if Mr. Saunders should be looking ...
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

Bolero
(uncredited)
from "Spanish Dances"
Music by Moritz Moszkowski
(Played by the small orchestra in the Kardomah Café)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Briefly, a great film
20 June 2002 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

There's not a lot to say. Like many classics this film is simply constructed with all the elements in balance so that none stands out. Everything in it contributes something essential; the lighting, the unromantic railway station sets, the minor characters and of course the music, the ultra-romantic Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no 2. The emotional rollercoaster of the illicit affair has seldom been better portrayed. Perhaps it is a little understated for transatlantic tastes but no-one viewing this movie would not appreciate that the English can be as passionate as the rest of us.

Celia Johnson as Laura and Trevor Howard as Alec are perfect together. It being 1945, they do not get to bed – that would have ruined the audience's sympathy for them in those rather more censorious times. It's all in their minds but their faces give the game away – to each other and to the bystanders. Nothing happens to drag anyone near the awful divorce courts, but you are left wondering whether Celia will ever feel quite the same about her dull, comfortable, patronising and boring husband. As for Alec, he professes he will love her forever but then, he's a man.

Noel Coward produced this film from a short play of his from 1935 (the war and post-war shortages are absent), and his dulcet tones may be recognised in the railway station announcements. David Lean directed, and it is a remarkable collaboration. The action is opened out a little – a row on the lake, a drive in the country - but the scenes from the play set entirely in the railway refreshment rooms still remain the centre of the story. The parallel relationship between Albert the station guard (Stanley Holloway), and Myrtle the refreshment room attendant (Joyce Carey), is an interesting counterpoint to the angst-ridden middle class would-be adulterers. Surely Noel old boy you weren't suggesting that the working class handles this sort of thing better? We see things largely from Laura's point of view and perhaps Alec didn't feel quite so guilty, but their consciences are going to make them pay. A gem of a movie.


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