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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


Sometimes students end up being the best teachers. 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?


Maureen Lipman replaced a big name British actress who dropped out. See more »


When the VW van with students in it approaches Rita, the side door is wide open but the back door is not. As the van pulls away, the back door is now flipped up. See more »


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


Featured in The Many Faces of...: Michael Caine (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

A superb and deeply touching movie
9 August 2004 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

People who have experienced the mid-life crisis will be at home with this movie, as 26 year old hairdresser, Rita (Julie Walters), is pressurised into settling down with boyfriend Denny. Not only is this an un-needed pressure, but her father is plaguing her about when she is going to have children, but all Rita wants to do is find herself and take up something new. Her common touch and wonderful idiosyncrasies bring a breath of fresh air to snotty high class life, but when she goes to Dr. Frank Bryant (Michael Caine) to not only improve her lexicon, but to improve her image she begins a journey of blood and tears. Frank is assigned to tutor her, and from the start their personalities resonate the human touch.

Dr. Frank Bryant's marriage has gone down the pan, and his current girlfriend is playing away. On top of this he has hit the bottle and can only get through the day of teaching the young toffs, with a blend of his lecturing skills and the drink. He is jaded, he is tired of the same lecture routines, and he cannot understand why these students want to discuss the finer points of Blake. But Rita is new and fresh, initially Rita doesn't possess the skills required to write analytical essays; but she is different, she is vibrant, she is funny and she is unbelievably up front. As their relationship blossoms and Rita starts to find herself, she becomes increasingly drawn to the student way of life, and when Franks life is enriched because of her presence and her willingness to learn he sends her to a summer camp, to be educated at a greater level.

However, Rita's return with a change of character surprises Frank, and soon they drift away from their zany, affectionate meetings. Educating Rita is funny, expressive, sentimental, poignant and sad, as Frank must come to terms with the young bird fleeing the nest, whilst Rita begins to realize what she is becoming. With one thing gained, many other things are lost, and with Frank's increasing drinking problem because of Rita's character change, the two are headed for disaster. Both Caine and Walters give amazingly touching performances, and throughout I felt myself urging them to each other, only to know deep down that the age gap is just too much. Not many films make the audience care enough about relationships and circumstances, but this brilliant movie not only gets the audience committed to their plight, but also feels the full range of emotions.

When Rita gives her own interpretation of what assonance is, Bryant finds himself chuckling away to himself and realising that she is indeed right. What is especially touching is the way that Bryant wants Rita to stay as she is, because life has so little characters left for him. What she wants to become is everything that Bryant wants to forget, and there begins a sentimental tug of war. In between the funny moments, and plot directions is the feeling that life has more to offer than just being able to talk fluently about past authors, something which Bryant is driven to distraction over. But the movie nevertheless doesn't miss a moment to entertain and take the characters to our hearts, ensuring that Educating Rita remains a film classic.

31 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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