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Brief Encounter (1974)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 12 November 1974
Two strangers, both married to others, meet in a railroad station and find themselves in a brief but intense affair.



(screenplay), (play) (as Noel Coward) | 1 more credit »
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Credited cast:
Mrs. Gaines
Gwen Cherrell ...
Benjamin Edney ...
Jumoke Debayo ...
Mrs. Harris
Madeleine Hinde ...
Grace (as Madeline Hinde)
Marco Orlandini ...
Patricia Franklin ...
Jack Harding
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Cook ...


Two strangers, both married to others, meet in a railroad station and find themselves in a brief but intense affair.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

12 November 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: Brief Encounter (#24.1)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(edited for TV)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Richard Burton was an 11th hour casting choice replacing Robert Shaw who dropped out See more »


Alec Harvey: It's one thing to close a window. It's another thing to slam it on my fingers.
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Version of Tonight at 8.30: Still Life (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

5 June 2014 | by (Lincolnshire, UK) – See all my reviews

A dreary and lifeless remake of the wonderful 1945 movie. Taking on the Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard roles are Sophia Loren and Richard Burton: she's a housewife, he's a married doctor, and one day they meet at a train station when he gets some grit out of her eye. They're both in town on the same day every week, and they become friends, and they fall in love, but it is a love that cannot be.

And that brief synopsis is about all this charmless lump has in common with the original, being packed as it is with irrelevant scenes and monotonous padding. The movie shows a painful disregard for economical storytelling: almost every scene is a distended thing that drags on forever, full of redundant dialogue. The damn thing grinds on for so long that the title becomes a misnomer. An entirely new subplot about Loren's work at an advice centre wastes every minute it's on screen.

The warmth and atmosphere and delicate longing of the original is nowhere to be found thanks to writer John Bowen endlessly waffling on and director Alan Bridges' apparent determination to make this film as flat and boring as possible. Look at the scene where Burton borrows John Le Mesurier's flat and takes Loren there, only for his friend to come home early. Burton and Le Mesurier talk, and talk, and taaaaaaalk, and the scene drags on way past its natural conclusion, as if Bridges fell asleep in the director's chair and the poor actors had to keep going until he woke up and mumbled 'Cut'.

The movie goes through the motions, but not the emotions. When Burton rattles on about how he and Loren have fallen in love, it's just more hot air. The direction and the characters are so boring that nothing they say has any meaning any more. The scene where Loren's husband tells her he was almost unfaithful is a prime example of that. Even worse is the scene in which Burton and his wife talk about whether they were ever really in love, a scene that is stone cold dead. Stuff like this lessens the impact of the central relationship and weakens the couple's struggle with their feelings for one another.

There's a moment that epitomises how far it strays from the far superior original; it's a small change, but it says a lot. In the 1945 film, Howard and Johnson are talking about the routine of their daily lives and Howard says, 'What exciting lives we do lead.' It was a sweet moment, gently mocking them both. Here Burton says, 'What an exciting life you do lead.' It's not self-deprecating, it just makes Burton's character seem patronising, and any sympathy for him is lost. He's pushy, too, and it doesn't seem as if he wants Loren to admit that they've fallen in love because he knows it's true, it seems as though he's forcing himself on her. It's all wrong.

This is a soulless, stiff movie. It's not sweet, or charming, or heartbreaking, just dead as a doornail, a glass eye. The actors seem to have been told to talk as if they're constipated, dying of a terminal illness and on their way to a funeral all at the same time. Scenes begin badly, become more awkward and mishandled as they go on, drone past the finish line and keep on going until they die a death some time later. The music is downcast, the dialogue is deadening and the photography is as interesting as a puddle of gravy. This movie isn't 'Brief Encounter', it's a zombie.

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