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Educating Rita (1983)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 28 October 1983 (USA)
In London, the twenty-seven year-old hairdresser Rita decides to complete her basic education before having children as desired by her husband Denny. She joins the literature course in an ... See full summary »




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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Williams ...
Jeananne Crowley ...
Godfrey Quigley ...
Patrick Daly ...
Bursar (as Pat Daly)
Kim Fortune ...
Tiger (as Philip Hurdwood)
Hilary Reynolds ...
Jack Walsh ...
Christopher Casson ...
Rosamund Burton ...


In London, the twenty-seven year-old hairdresser Rita decides to complete her basic education before having children as desired by her husband Denny. She joins the literature course in an open university and has tutorial with the middle-aged Dr. Frank Bryant that is an alcoholic and deluded professor from the upper-class without self-esteem. Frank lives with the also Professor Julia and they have a loveless relationship; Julia has a love affair with the dean Brian. The amusing Rita gives motivation to Frank to prepare her for the exams to join the university while she leaves Denny and moves to the house of the waitress Trish, who loves Gustav Mahler and is a cult woman. Will she succeed in the exams? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From the writer of Shirley Valentine. See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 October 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Educando a Rita  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Author and academic Geoffrey Sampson, Professor of Natural Language Computing in the Department of Informatics at the University of Sussex, has stated that the title of his book "Educating Eve: The 'Language Instinct' Debate" (1997) is a deliberate allusion to "Educating Rita", and utilizes the story-line of Willy Russell's "Educating Rita" source stage play to argue his thesis. See more »


O.U. students do not enjoy one to one tutorials with a professor. See more »


[first lines]
[Frank walks on campus and addresses some students]
Dr. Frank Bryant: Good afternoon.
See more »


Referenced in Dharma & Greg: Educating Dharma: Part 1 (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

An Excellent Character Study
14 August 1999 | by (Tacoma, Washington) – See all my reviews

"Educating Rita", directed by Lewis Gilbert, is an overlooked gem of a film. I first saw this film in 1984, a year after it's release, and since have championed it as one of the best romances ever made.

Based on a London stage play, "Educating Rita" is the story of a twenty seven year old middle class London hairdresser/housewife (Julie Walters, in an excellent performance) who, before having children, would like very much to learn about herself. Much to the annoyance of her husband, she enrolls in an "open university" literature course to begin her journey (open university is the British term for college night courses). Assigned as her tutor is Frank (Michael Caine, in one of his best roles), an older literature professor who suffers from low self esteem and has his own relationship problems.

Had this film been made in the machine that is Hollywood, USA, Rita and Frank would have slept together within two scenes of meeting each other (and it would have been graphic, of course), then realized they were in love, followed by the inevitable obstacle to their relationship (probably a misunderstanding or rival for affections), finally ending up with them overcoming all. Every character and plot point would have been telegraphed well in advance. "Educating Rita" does none of this. There are no graphic sex scenes (or any sex scenes for that matter), no grand pronouncements of love, no cliche cliffhangers or deaths in icy seas. Instead, the story portrays Rita and Frank in a very realistic, human manner. As the story unfolds, we watch as they grow as individuals which causes their friendship to become richer. There are turns to the plot which are unexpected. I will not divulge what the end result is, as it is very unconventional and is sure to bring a lump to the throat of any romantic.

In all, "Educating Rita" is a very overlooked excellent character study framed by a wonderful story. When in the mood to watch a romantic film or two, forget "Titanic" and rent "Educating Rita" and "An Officer and a Gentleman".

43 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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