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Educating Rita (1983) Poster

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Michael Caine's favourite film of his own, and the performance he's the most proud of.
The picture has inspired many marriage break-ups according to the film's lead female actress Julie Walters. Whilst receiving the Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Film at the Moet British Independent Film Awards in 2013, Walters said: "I get people who come up to me and say 'I left my husband because of you, because of that film', or 'I got an education'. So many."
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At the train station, there is an unusual black rectangle above the word "Platform" on the platform sign hanging from the ceiling. Its purpose is to cover up the Irish (Gaelic) word "Árdán", which would have been out of place in an English railway station. A slightly different tactic was employed in another scene showing a double-decker bus. Its destination is listed as Beaumont, a real suburb of Dublin. It was most likely chosen partly as a could-be-anywhere sort of name, but mostly because practically every other destination on a Dublin bus is listed bilingually.
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Julie Walters has said of this film to UK's Guardian newspaper: "Making the film was utterly different [to the 1980 stage production Walters also starred in]. I made Rita a bit rougher round the edges and toned my performance down. The director, Lewis Gilbert, wanted me but I'd never done a feature before, only a bit of telly, and they needed a star. There was talk of doing it with Paul Newman and Dolly Parton. But then Michael Caine came on board as Frank and I was in. I remember his wife saying: 'You are very lucky it's Michael'. She was thinking of other people of that ilk, who were starry and not that easy. But Michael was lovely, so generous to me."
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When Frank Bryant (Michael Caine) is getting the hidden liquor bottle from his bookshelf, he gets it from behind a book titled The Lost Weekend (1945), a clear reference to the 1945 film of the same name. That movie features major story elements relating to alcoholism as well.
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Debut theatrical feature film of actress Julie Walters.
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Star Michael Caine has said that knew he wouldn't win the Academy Award for Best Actor Oscar as soon as he saw that he was seated away from the front row at the ceremony. He was still given a standing ovation afterward anyway.
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The later movie Shirley Valentine (1989) was made by the same team that brought Educating Rita (1983) to the screen.
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In 2007, whilst promoting Sleuth (2007), Caine called Educating Rita (1983) the last good picture he was in before he mentally retired.
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When Dr. Frank Bryant (Michael Caine) is drunk in the lecture hall, he says, "Not many people know that". This was an in-joke for a catch-phrase, initiated by Peter Sellers, when he appeared on BBC's _Parkinson_ show on 28th October 1972 where he did a Michael Caine impression in which he claimed that Caine had a habit of always quoting from the Guinness Book of Records and saying things like, "Did you know that it takes a man in a tweed suit five and a half seconds to fall from the top of Big Ben to the ground? Now there's not many people know that!". This quickly became a catchphrase often repeated by many other impersonators when imitating Caine. "Not many people know that" is also the title of a best-selling collection of trivia anecdotes which Caine compiled in 1984 for a book for the charity the National Playing Fields Association.
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Actor Michael Caine has stated that he based his performance on Emil Jannings, and his unrequited love for Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel (1930).
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When American star Robert Duvall got Oscar nominated for Best Actor for Tender Mercies (1983), and ultimately winning the Academy Award for the category, Duvall competed in a field where the entire competition were comprised of British actors, who were: Michael Caine for Educating Rita (1983), Tom Conti, Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay.
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Julie Walters sports seven different hairstyles throughout the picture.
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The movie's closing credits declare that the picture was: "Filmed entirely on location in the Republic of Ireland".
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The source Willy Russell stage play of the same name on which this film is based only featured two characters, Frank and Rita, and hence is what is known in the theatre world as a "two-hander". The stage production is set entirely in Frank's academia office. The other characters in the film are only mentioned in the theatre play.
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Michael Caine gained thirty pounds to play the role of Dr. Frank Bryant.
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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.
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Breakthrough film role of English actress Julie Walters.
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The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Actor (Michael Caine), Best Actress (Julie Walters) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Willy Russell), but the picture failed to win a gong in any of this trio of Oscar categories.
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According to an article published in 2015 by the Liverpool Echo, "the [source] Willy Russell play has remained in production somewhere in the world every year since it received its premiere at the RSC [Royal Shakespeare Company] in London [in 1980]".
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The picture was a huge hit at the Irish box office. It played for over a year at one cinema.
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Maureen Lipman replaced a big name British actress who dropped out.
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In 2002, director Lewis Gilbert thought about remaking the film with Halle Berry with Denzel Washington, who both had won Best Acting Oscars that year, for Monster's Ball (2001) and Training Day (2001) respectively. However, the project never got off the ground. England's newspaper The Guardian reported that Gilbert referred to both of these Oscar winners when he spoke of this proposed production: "There are so many good black actors in America. You only have to think of the two black actors who took the Best Actor awards at this year's Oscars".
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The Rita (Julie Walters) character's full real name was actually Susan White, with the name Rita actually being technically her nick-name.
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First of two major British movies of the 1980s, both comedy-dramas, that featured the name "Rita" in the title. Educating Rita (1983) was the first and Rita, Sue and Bob Too! (1987) was the second. The two pictures were made and released about four years apart. Ironically, Susan (a name which can be abbreviated as Sue), is Rita's real first name in Educating Rita (1983).
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The wording on the engraved pen that was a gift from Rita (Julie Walters) to Frank (Michael Caine) read: "Must only be used for poetry by strictest order - RITA".
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The National Board of Review for Motion Pictures placed Educating Rita (1983) second in its Top 10 Films List for 1983.
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Actress Julie Walters reprized her role of Rita in this film version as Walters had played Rita in the original Royal Shakespeare Company's West End stage production in 1980.
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When the film was in the hands of American producers, they originally wanted Dolly Parton and Paul Newman to take the lead roles. However, it would have required the film to have been relocated to the United States. Writer Willy Russell stated "A more cynical and a more commercially-minded human being than myself might have said, 'What a great idea. Go down that route.'" Russell wanted Julie Walters for the role.
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When the original theatrical production premiered at London's Donmar Warehouse in 1980, Julie Walters played opposite Mark Kingston with direction by Mike Ockrent. The play went on to become one of the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company)'s biggest successes.
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Willy Russell adapted the script from his own novel and stage play.
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The film was made and released about three years after its source stage play of the same name by Willy Russell had been first performed in 1980. Russell also penned the screenplay for this movie.
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Educating Rita (1983) was the first of two collaborations of director Lewis Gilbert and playwright Willy Russell who would around six years later both collaborate on Shirley Valentine (1989).
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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.
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Two of the five nominees nominated at the 1983 Academy Awards for Best Actor, Tom Conti and Michael Caine, both were for performances for alcoholic writer characters, for the films Reuben, Reuben (1983) and Educating Rita (1983) respectively. Moreover, that year's winner, Robert Duvall for Tender Mercies (1983), portrayed a hard-drinking country and western singer.
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The name of the educational institution is never mentioned and the college, which is stated to be an Open University campus, is situated in an unspecified English town. In the stage play of the same name by Willy Russell, which the film is based on, the setting is Liverpool. However, filming took place entirely in Ireland and the college seen onscreen is Trinity College in Dublin. While care was taken to remove or cover up all Irish language signs during filming, the film makes no effort to hide various easily recognizable Dublin landmarks and city views. It can be presumed that the Rita (Julie Walters) character is a young Liverpudlian working-class ladies' hairdresser, but viewers not familiar with the original stage play are presented with an unspecified university town.
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Michael Caine sports a beard in this picture portraying Professor Frank Bryant just as thesp Mark Kingston had done whilst playing the part in the original West End Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production in 1980.
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The picture was voted as one of "Top 100 British Films" by the British Film Institute (BFI)'s survey of 1000 film industry personnel in 1999 getting ranked at the No. #84 spot.
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Frank, surprised at Rita's new personality when he picks her up at the train station, says: "My God, what is this vision I see before me?" That's a clear reference to the line "Is this a dagger which I see before me?" from Macbeth which is Rita's favorite play.
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In the two major cinema movies that actor Michael Caine starred in that debuted in the year of 1983, Educating Rita (1983) and Beyond the Limit (1983), Caine portrayed an alcoholic or heavy drinker.
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The original Off-Broadway production of Willy Russell's source stage play "Educating Rita" opened upstairs at the Westside Theatre on 7th May 1987 and ran for ninety-four performances until it closed on 26th July 1987. This was around four years after this movie had first launched and seven years after the source stage play had premiered in London's West End. In this two-hander staged Off-Broadway, Laurie Metcalf played Rita whilst Austin Pendleton portrayed Frank.
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Actor Marcus O'Higgins portrayed a character, Marcus, who had the same first name as his own.
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The photographic still used for many of the movie posters for the film, featuring Rita (Julie Walters) sitting in front of Frank (Michael Caine) who is holding open wide a book with lots of text, is a shot that actually doesn't appear in the actual movie itself.
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Irish newspapers reported that actress Julie Christie would play the title role of Rita which in the end was cast with actress Julie Walters. Both actresses share the same first name of "Julie".
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