Educating Rita (1983)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  21 September 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 9,444 users   Metascore: 52/100
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A young wife decides to complete her education and take her exams. She meets a professor who teaches her to value her own insights while still being able to beat the exams. The change in ... 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 ...


A young wife decides to complete her education and take her exams. She meets a professor who teaches her to value her own insights while still being able to beat the exams. The change in her status causes friction between her and her husband. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Sometimes students end up being the best teachers. See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 September 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Educando a Rita  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Actor Michael Caine was extremely impressed with actress Julie Walters)' performance because even though WAlters had never acted in a film before, he thought she was a born natural. 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 Video Violence 2 (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

Cultivated, touching academic Pygmalion tale
7 March 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This wonderfully engaging and thought provoking movie far surpassed my expectations. It's an unusual variation on the old teacher / student story but with a mature twist that asks the viewer the question... Just which one of this pair is doing the teaching here, and exactly what is the subject?

Dr. Frank Bryant is an older, jaded, alcoholic college English professor. He's weary of the snobbish academic world, which he mocks with contempt, and weary of dissecting meaning out of literature for the pretentious but unenthusiastic students in his classes. He's assigned to tutor Rita, a feisty, uneducated Liverpool hairdresser / housewife in her mid 20's, who has enrolled in a college class to improve her language skills and also really to develop her mind. Frank finds Rita literally a breath of fresh air, chuckling at her amusing definition of the word 'assonance' and uncharacteristically moved by her candor, her respect for education, her bubbling eagerness to learn and develop. Frank actually prefers that she remain exactly as she is, fearing she'll come to resemble the pompous snobs to which he's grown all too accustomed, walking the halls of academia all around him.

Both teacher and student here already have 'significant others'. Frank is romantically involved with another teacher, Julia, who is carrying on an affair literally under his nose, so his personal life is in equivalent shambles to his professional situation. Rita is married to the uneducated, working class Denny, who's eager to start a family. She is secretly taking birth control pills, wanting to explore her own and life's possibilities before having children. Obviously conflict emerges here between this couple, with Denny actually quite a sympathetic character. He's not the villain of the piece at all (from my viewpoint), even though he does burn Rita's books, certainly not something to applaud. He just wants the simple things of life, obviously disapproving of his wife's educational endeavors for fear she'll grow away from him.

Michael Caine, in the role he was born to play, is completely convincing as the drunken, disillusioned Frank, who cannot get through his day without a drink. Julie Walters is equally perfect as Rita...first the earlier blonde, uneducated but academically keen housewife / hairdresser, and later the sophisticated woman into which she's transformed.

The dialogue is witty, and the rich relationship that develops between Frank and Rita compelling. No sex scenes here, just discussions of literature and mainly of life. These are two memorable characters that will truly engage your concern. After some additional courses abroad, Rita undergoes an amazing Pygmalion style metamorphosis in admittedly, as some have criticized, a rather unbelievably short time. She is transformed from the original naive, uneducated, working class housewife to a sophisticated literary critic...though her core, in my opinion, remains fundamentally unchanged.

As for the ending, I won't give it away. Will a May December romance emerge from all this tutelage as with that other Pygmalion pair, Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, of My Fair Lady fame? Or will these two ultimately go their separate ways, each altered forever by the other's influence? Personally, the moving, emotional ending left me feeling satisfied that the screenwriters had done their job right. Don't miss this sparkling and intelligent movie which casts attitudes toward education in such a compelling light.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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