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A Passage to India (1984)

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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Writers:

(by), (based on the novel by) | 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Antonia Pemberton ...
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Ali
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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

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:

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Language:

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Release Date:

1 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pasaje a la India  »

Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$26,400,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Lean had read the novel and saw the play in London in 1960, and, impressed, attempted to purchase the rights at that time, but E.M. Forster, who rejected Santha Rama Rau's suggestion to allow Satyajit Ray to make a film, said no. 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

Ali: How is Britain justified in holding India?
Dr. Aziz H. Ahmed: Unfair political question!
Richard Fielding: No, no! Well, personally, I'm here because I need a job.
Ali: Qualified Indians also need jobs!
Richard Fielding: I got here first.
[laughter]
Richard Fielding: Well, I like it here and that's my excuse.
Advocate Hamidullah: And those Englishmen who do not like it here?
Richard Fielding: Chuck 'em out.
[laughter]
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in I nyhta me ti Silena (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sun, whose Rays are All Ablaze
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Words by W.S. Gilbert
Sung by James Fox
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Mercifully, This Is No Epic
5 August 2005 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

My interest in caves led me to watch this film. A small, but pivotal, part of the film's plot centers on what happens at the Marabar Caves. While the cave segment was a disappointment to me, I was pleasantly surprised by the film as a whole. It was not the grandiose, pretentious cinematic epic I had feared.

"A Passage To India" tells the story of a young British woman and her elderly traveling companion who journey from England to India, at a time when the British still ruled that country. The film's theme centers on British attitudes toward the people of India. Those attitudes can be summarized as: condescending, snobbish, and racist. It was the English vision of cultural superiority over the Indian people that E.M Forster wrote about in his 1924 novel, upon which the screenplay is based. That cultural vision represents a bygone, imperial era that today seems quaint.

The cinematography here is excellent, though perhaps not quite as sweeping or majestic as in some of Director Lean's previous films. What comes through in the visuals is India's spectacular scenery. The film's acting is competent. And I liked the film's original score.

My main complaint is the film's length. It's a two-hour story stretched to fill almost three hours. I would have cut out most, or all, of the crowd and mob scenes because they are not needed, and because they infuse the film with a "cast of thousands" aura that moves the film implicitly in the direction of epic status. Even as is, the film is sufficiently low-key and personal to be enjoyable.


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