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The Heiress (1949)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  10 February 1950 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 8,906 users  
Reviews: 113 user | 48 critic

A young naive woman falls for a handsome young man who her emotionally abusive father suspects is a fortune hunter.



(written for the screen by), (written for the screen by), 3 more credits »
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Title: The Heiress (1949)

The Heiress (1949) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Won 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Vanessa Brown ...
Betty Linley ...
Mona Freeman ...
Selena Royle ...
Paul Lees ...
Harry Antrim ...
Russ Conway ...
David Thursby ...


In the mid-1800's, the wealthy Sloper family - widowed surgeon Dr. Austin Sloper, his adult daughter Catherine Sloper (Dr. Sloper's only surviving child), and Dr. Sloper's recently widowed sister Lavinia Penniman - live in an opulent house at 16 Washington Square, New York City. They have accrued their wealth largely through Dr. Sloper's hard work. Despite the lessons that Dr. Sloper has paid for in all the social graces for her, Catherine is a plain, simple, awkward and extremely shy woman who spends all her free time alone doing embroidery when she is not doting on her father. Catherine's lack of social charm and beauty - unlike her deceased mother - is obvious to Dr. Sloper, who hopes that Lavinia will act as her guardian in becoming more of a social person, and ultimately as chaperon if Catherine were ever to meet the right man. The first man ever to show Catherine any attention is the handsome Morris Townsend, who she met at a family party. Catherine is initially uncertain as to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A truly great motion picture (one-sheet) See more »


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 February 1950 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Die Erbin  »

Box Office


$2,600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on September 11, 1950 with Olivia de Havilland reprising her film role. See more »


In the scene when Catherine and her father have a heated disagreement and he leaves the room, you see Catherine seated with her left hand in an open palm in a vertical orientation but in the next cut shot, from the front view her left hand is now face down on her leg. See more »


Aunt Penniman: Can you be so cruel?
Catherine Sloper: Yes, I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters.
See more »


Referenced in The Age of Innocence (1993) See more »


Galop di bravura
(1849) (uncredited)
Music by Julius Schulhoff
Dance music at the party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Triumph for two great stars.
5 July 2004 | by (Adelaide Australia) – See all my reviews

There is no doubt that "The Heiress" was a triumph for two great stars - Olivia de Havilland and Ralph Richardson. Made over 50 years ago, this film is still extremely watchable, and the performances stand up as good as anything today. de Havilland's Oscar was well and truly warranted, as this is an acting achievement which covers every range of emotion from innocence to cruelty in an amazing way. As the plain daughter of a very bitter man, she is able to convey the frustrations, hurt and bitter revenge in a way that is completely believable - just a stunning characterization. As the unfeeling father Ralph Richardson shows his class, and warranted Best Supporting Actor recognition. Montgomery Clift was miscast to a certain degree, but under William Wyler's direction, he got through Okay. But truly, the film belongs to the two headliners alone.

25 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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