IMDb > The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)
The French Lieutenant's Woman
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The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) More at IMDbPro »

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The French Lieutenant's Woman -- Anna and Mike portray two characters in a film set in 19th century England who fall in love despite the fact that Mike's character is engaged.
The French Lieutenant's Woman -- A film is being made of a story, set in 19th century England, about Charles, a biologist who's engaged to be married...


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Down 22% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
John Fowles (novel)
Harold Pinter (screenplay)
View company contact information for The French Lieutenant's Woman on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 October 1981 (USA) See more »
She was lost from the moment she saw him.
A film is being made of a story, set in 19th century England, about Charles, a biologist who's engaged to be married... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 13 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
An inspiration to Goths everywhere See more (55 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Meryl Streep ... Sarah / Anna

Jeremy Irons ... Charles Henry Smithson / Mike
Hilton McRae ... Sam
Emily Morgan ... Mary
Charlotte Mitchell ... Mrs. Tranter
Lynsey Baxter ... Ernestina
Jean Faulds ... Cook

Peter Vaughan ... Mr. Freeman
Colin Jeavons ... Vicar
Liz Smith ... Mrs. Fairley
Patience Collier ... Mrs. Poulteney
John Barrett ... Dairyman

Leo McKern ... Dr. Grogan
Arabella Weir ... Girl on Undercliff
Ben Forster ... Boy on Undercliff
Catherine Willmer ... Dr. Grogan's Housekeeper
Anthony Langdon ... Asylum Keeper
Edward Duke ... Nathaniel

Richard Griffiths ... Sir Tom
Graham Fletcher-Cook ... Delivery Boy

Richard Hope ... 3rd Assistant

Michael Elwyn ... Montague
Toni Palmer ... Mrs. Endicott
Cecily Hobbs ... Betty Anne
Doreen Mantle ... Lady on Train

David Warner ... Murphy

Alun Armstrong ... Grimes
Gérard Falconetti ... Davide (as Gerard Falconetti)

Penelope Wilton ... Sonia
Joanna Joseph ... Lizzie
Jude Alderson ... Red Haired Prostitute (as Judith Alderson)
Cora Kinnaird ... 2nd Prostitute
Orlando Fraser ... Tom Elliott
Fredrika Morton ... Girl
Alice Maschler ... 2nd Girl
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Harriet Walter ... (scenes deleted)

Michael Dickins ... Fisherman (uncredited)
Georgina Hale ... Actress at Wrap Party (uncredited)
Vicky Ireland ... (uncredited)
Janet Rawson ... (uncredited)
Clare Travers-Deacon ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Karel Reisz 
Writing credits
John Fowles (novel)

Harold Pinter (screenplay)

Karel Reisz  uncredited

Produced by
Leon Clore .... producer
Geoffrey Helman .... associate producer
Tom Maschler .... associate producer
Original Music by
Carl Davis 
Cinematography by
Freddie Francis (director of photography)
Film Editing by
John Bloom 
Casting by
Patsy Pollock 
Production Design by
Assheton Gorton 
Art Direction by
Allan Cameron 
Norman Dorme 
Terry Pritchard 
Set Decoration by
Ann Mollo 
Costume Design by
Tom Rand 
Makeup Department
Sue Barradell .... makeup artist
Simon Thompson .... hairdresser
Production Management
Chris Burt .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Richard Hoult .... assistant director
Peter Kohn .... second assistant director
Mathew Simmons .... third assistant director
Paul Tivers .... third assistant director
Art Department
Trisha Edwards .... property buyer (as Tricia Edwards)
Dennis Fruin .... property master
Toddy Roche .... property buyer (as Toddie Roche)
Sally Scott .... artist: Sarah's drawings
Fred Walker .... construction manager
Andy Aitken .... plasterer (uncredited)
Mark Fruin .... stand-by propman (uncredited)
Peter Russell .... junior draughtsman (uncredited)
Sound Department
Rocky Phelan .... sound assistant
Bill Rowe .... sound re-recordist
Don Sharpe .... sound editor
Ivan Sharrock .... sound recordist
Ken Weston .... boom operator
Don Banks .... sound camera (uncredited)
Lionel Strutt .... adr mixer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Alan Bryce .... special effects
Nobby Clark .... special effects (as Nobby Clarke)
Paul Corbould .... special effects (uncredited)
Ricky Farns .... special effects (uncredited)
John Humphreys .... sculptor (uncredited)
Garth Inns .... special effects (uncredited)
Michael White .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Nick Wass .... optical cameraman (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Alan Annand .... clapper loader
Frank Connor .... still photographer
Jim Dawes .... grip
Gordon Hayman .... camera operator
Roy Larner .... gaffer
Tim Ross .... focus puller
Steve Blake .... electrician (uncredited)
John Matthews .... best boy (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Maureen Booth .... wardrobe assistant
Austin Cooper .... wardrobe assistant
Brenda Dabbs .... wardrobe supervisor
Joanna Johnston .... assistant to costume designer
Editorial Department
Jeremy Hume .... assistant editor
Chris Kennedy .... second assistant editor
Chris Ridsdale .... assistant editor
Music Department
Carl Davis .... conductor (uncredited)
Brian Gascoigne .... music arranger: additional arrangements (uncredited)
Christopher Palmer .... music assistant: Carl Davis (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Richard Booz .... transportation captain
Colin Morris .... personal driver
Other crew
David Barron .... location manager
Barry Beckett .... location manager
Len Cave .... production accountant
Peter Dolman .... location manager
Kay Fenton .... continuity
Mon Mohan .... title designer
Julia Robinson .... production assistant
Mark Mostyn .... runner (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
124 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 (original rating) | Argentina:Atp (re-rating) | Australia:M | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Finland:S | Iceland:12 | Norway:16 | Peru:14 | Singapore:M18 | Sweden:11 | UK:AA (original rating) | UK:12 (video re-rating) (2001) | UK:15 (video rating) (1986) | USA:R (certificate #26244) | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

The movie has two stars that have both won best acting Academy Awards - Jeremy Irons for Reversal of Fortune (1990) and Meryl Streep for Sophie's Choice (1982) and The Iron Lady (2011), the latter also winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).See more »
Continuity: Charles approaches the shore on a steam powered launch from the north. The next shot is also a shot in motion, suggesting from Charles' viewpoint, of Broad Leys, a white house high up on the shore where Sarah is working. Except the view of Broad Leys is as though from the south.See more »
Sarah:I have long imagined a day such as this. I have longed for it. I was lost from the moment I saw you.
Charles Henry Smithson:I too.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in 10 to Midnight (1983)See more »
Prelude in C minorSee more »


See Jeremy Irons discuss this film
See more »
31 out of 44 people found the following review useful.
An inspiration to Goths everywhere, 19 August 2000
Author: kzoofilm from Portage, MI

If you're researching the beginnings of today's Goth movement, be sure to look at this complex tale of Sarah Woodruff (Meryl Streep), a secretive, pale-skinned outcast in a 19th century English coastal town. Known to the locals as "poor tragedy," she sketches spooky self-portraits, always dresses in black and haunts the sea wall waiting for the return of a Frenchman who seduced and abandoned her. With a single, unforgettable look and such dialogue as "my only happiness is when I sleep; when I wake, the nightmare begins," Sarah bewitches visiting Londoner Charles Smithson (Jeremy Irons, in what turned out to be his big break), a paleontologist and "gentleman of leisure." The tricky screenplay by Harold Pinter contrasts the story of Sarah and Charles with the lives of actors Mike and Anna, who are playing them in a film. Offscreen, Anna is anything but Victorian, indulging in an on-location affair with Mike while her husband is away. The contrasts between the two couples born 100 years apart make for one of the most intriguing films of the early 1980s, and the performances by Irons and Streep are predictably outstanding.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (55 total) »

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Sarah + the french lieutenant biirgiit
Deleted Scene of the "Prostitute" unika08
Meryl Just OK lisam73
Snap Out Of It!! AccidntlTourist
What is Christopher Walken doing in the movie? feodoric
Mike yells 'Sarah'! tiburonbirdred
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