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A Passage to India (1984)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 10,589 users  
Reviews: 77 user | 48 critic

Cultural mistrust and false accusations doom a friendship in British colonial India between an Indian doctor, an Englishwoman engaged to marry a city magistrate, and an English educator.

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Title: A Passage to India (1984)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Antonia Pemberton ...
Michael Culver ...
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Ali
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Ann Firbank ...
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Sandra Hotz ...
Stella
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Storyline

Circa 1920, during the Indian British rule, Dr. Aziz H. Ahmed was born and brought up in India. He is proficient in English, and wears Western style clothing. He meets an old lady, Mrs. Moore, at a mosque, who asks him to accompany her and her companion, Adela Quested, for sight-seeing around some caves. Thereafter the organized life of Aziz is turned upside down when Adela accuses him of molesting her in a cave. Aziz is arrested and brought before the courts, where he learns that the entire British administration is against him, and would like to see him found guilty and punished severely, to teach all native Indians what it means to molest a British citizen. Aziz is all set to witness the "fairness" of the British system, whose unofficial motto is "guilty until proved innocent." Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

doctor | india | mosque | english | magistrate | See more »

Taglines:

David Lean, the Director of "Doctor Zhivago", "Lawrence of Arabia" and "The Bridge on the River Kwai", invites you on . . .[A Passage to India]


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

25 January 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Passage to India  »

Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$26,400,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The main title music, by Maurice Jarre, is an upbeat variation of Jarre's own theme for the David Lean film Ryan's Daughter (1970). See more »

Goofs

Exiting the caves, Mrs. Moore sees a full moon overhead in the mid-day sky. This is an astronomical impossibility, but it is shown in the film to highlight the powerful effect that the caves have on the human mind. The caves would also deeply affect Adela a little while later, but with much more serious consequences. See more »

Quotes

Das: [Ali is carrying on during the trial] Please, this is no way to defend your case!
Ali: I am not defending a case - and YOU are not trying one! We are both slaves!
Das: Mr. Mahmoud Ali, if you don't calm down, I will have to exercise my authority.
Ali: Do so! This trial is a farce!
[throws papers off the desk]
Ali: I'm going! I've ruined my career!
[to Aziz]
Ali: Farewell my friend!
Ali: Mrs. Moore! Where are you, Mrs. Moore?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Outsourced (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sun, whose Rays are All Ablaze
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Words by William S. Gilbert
Sung by James Fox
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Lean's silent scene suggests reason for court case.
10 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Films based on novels (as in this case) must rely on screenplays which condense the material, and supply either voice-overs, or visuals to explain what is going on in a character's head. Usually, a voice-over is a cop-out. David Lean has provided a brilliant substitute for a voice-over in the scene where Adela wanders on her bicycle into the bush to discover a Hindu temple. A central mystery in the book as well as in the film is the ambiguity of the cause for the court case. Forster said that judgment was up to the reader. Lean was a reader, and in my view, he made his decision, and provided us with a clue in that scene (which is not in the book). Here is that scene: Adela leaves the safe British compound on an exploratory trip with a bicycle. She leaves the highway, and cycles down a path through the weeds. The sign- post, which had appeared quite natural when she looked at it, now looks like a Christian Cross when she leaves the road and goes down the path. The music changes from a major key to the minor, suggesting mystery, or menace. She is leaving her familiar culture and riding into the unknown. She sees a fallen sculpture. A voluptuous sculpture. She doesn't turn back. As she rides farther, the weeds grow higher. She is being engulfed by India. She dismounts as she approaches a copse, and walks into the shadows. She sees a ruined Hindu temple covered with erotic sculptures. Amourous couples are coupling. She stares at these apparitions, so abandoned, and so alien to her proper Victorian up-bringing. She is attracted by the spectacle, but she is frightened by her attraction. Suddenly she hears a noise, and looks up to see a troop of monkeys. They chatter menacingly at her and begin to scamper down the temple, over the erotic sculpture, and in panic she flees. Could the monkeys symbolize that emotional, sensual, animal nature that lives in everyone but is supposed to be suppressed in Englishwomen (and American ones, for that matter!)? Are they saying, "This is our land, the land of emotion; you do not belong here"? India attracts her. It awakens hidden desires. It menaces her. She flees to the familiar, visibly shaken. Back at the bungalow, with her fiancé, she says "I want to take back what I said at the polo," which was that she wanted to delay the wedding. She was so frightened by the feelings rising in her as she tasted a bit of Indian culture that she wanted to put a stop to passion by marrying! And all of that was said in the film without words. It provides us with a rationale for believing she later suffered an hallucination, which is at the core of the plot.


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