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Mrs. Soffel (1984)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  26 December 1984 (USA)
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Reviews: 24 user | 5 critic

Peter Soffel is the stuffy warden of a remote American prison around the turn of the century. His wife, Kate, finds herself attracted to prisoner Ed Biddle. She abandons her husband and ... See full summary »



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Title: Mrs. Soffel (1984)

Mrs. Soffel (1984) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Margaret Soffel (as Jennie Dundas)
Danny Corkill ...
Harley Cross ...
Pippa Pearthree ...
William Youmans ...
Joyce Ebert ...


Peter Soffel is the stuffy warden of a remote American prison around the turn of the century. His wife, Kate, finds herself attracted to prisoner Ed Biddle. She abandons her husband and children to help Ed and his brother Jack escape and accompanies them into the wintery wasteland. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A true story


Drama | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Senhora Soffel  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Though the movie's leading man Mel Gibson and its director Gillian Armstrong are both Australian, this film, a big American Hollywood production, was their first [and to date, February 2015] their only ever collaboration. Ironically, the pair had never worked together on an Australian feature film. See more »


A toy electric train shown running around a Christmas tree is of a post-1950 design, as is the track. The train is based on 19th-century locomotive and passenger car prototypes, making it more plausible. However, toy electric trains that even remotely resembled the one shown did not exist by 1901. See more »


Referenced in Casting By (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A stunning movie
6 November 2004 | by (Illinois) – See all my reviews

This is a visually beautiful movie bringing the story along in with obvious and subtle references.

The title character is a trapped woman. The 'noblesse oblige'of being the warden's wife coupled with her own frustrations and frailties makes her life intolerable. She loves her children; she hates her life.

Here, she becomes intrigued by a prisoner in her husband's jail. He appeals to her imagination as well as her sensibility as a woman. She finds a soul-mate in their exchanges as she pretends to read-him-to-reform from bible passages. She flees with him and is willing to die with him to keep from returning to her unbearable life.

This is based on a true story. But it is a telling of the story of women, most of whom until the last 25 years or so, had little choice but to marry and to identify themselves in terms of their husbands. Their identity was not their own; their choices had to be appropriate to their marriage station; they were judged by how well they maintained husband's well being and their children's achievements.

While much has changed in women's lives, vestiges of the past still do exist. The references to "baking cookies" in the 2004 presidential campaign signals this.

Mrs. Soffel represents the lives of women over time. She desperately seeks the love and freedom that her standing in life denies her. This has been a common women's theme.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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