Up 4,298 this week

The Importance of Being Earnest (1986)

TV Movie  -   -  Comedy
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 144 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

Algy and Jack discover that they have both been "Bunberrying", that is, assuming different identities in order to enjoy themselves in a guilt-free manner. Jack's pretending to be his ... See full summary »



0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 822 titles
created 22 Oct 2011
a list of 143 titles
created 25 Mar 2012
a list of 5 titles
created 13 Nov 2012
a list of 9999 titles
created 16 Mar 2013
list image
a list of 57 titles
created 4 months ago

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Importance of Being Earnest (TV Movie 1986)

The Importance of Being Earnest (TV Movie 1986) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Importance of Being Earnest.




Complete credited cast:
Rupert Frazer ...
John Quarmby ...
John Woodnutt ...
Natalie Ogle ...


Algy and Jack discover that they have both been "Bunberrying", that is, assuming different identities in order to enjoy themselves in a guilt-free manner. Jack's pretending to be his foolish younger brother, Ernest in order to be a model of moral rectitude to his young ward, Cecily. Jack intends to propose to Gwendolyn--that is until he discovers that she loves him because his name is Ernest. He sets about being rechristened. And when Cecily intends to meet her bad cousin Ernest, and Algy seizes the opportunity, it will take the imperious Lady Bracknell, Miss Prism's recollections about her handbag, and an army list to clear the matter up, and allow true love to run its course. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

farce | based on play







Also Known As:

The Importance of Being Earnest  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Did You Know?


Lady Bracknell was offered to Coral Browne. See more »


(at around 1h 40 mins) just after Miss Prism says 'there is the lady who can tell you who you really are', a microphone can be seen at the top of the screen. See more »


Version of Kak vazhno byt seryoznym (1976) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Fine Adaptation from Stage to (small) Screen
9 January 2004 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Oscar Wilde's "Importance of Being Ernest" is indisputably one of the great comedies, frothy with nonsense and, with William Gilbert's libretti, just about the only survivor from the Victorian stage that is regularly performed. Some of the allusions may be dated, but the plot itself holds up admirably.

The play was given superb treatment in the movies in 1952 with an A-list cast including Michael Regrave, Edith Evans, Michael Denison, Joan Greenwood, Miles Malleson, and Margaret Rutherford. The younger lovers were all much older than their roles required, and were played with the sort of delicacy and panache unlikely in younger actors ("Ernest" Worthing was 29 while Michael Redgrave was in his mid forties). Only Dorthy Tutin, in her early twenties, was close to the age of the 18 year old Cicily. Needless to say, the older actors (Rutherford, Malleson, Evans), all experienced old pros who were born in the Victorian era, were exquisitely perfect in their parts.

Unfortunately, for length, there were some cuts in the text.

The adaptation of 1986 with Frazer, McGann, Plowright, Ogle and Redman is pallid by comparison, but stands up on its own as a fine, set-bound full version of the play. It starts with Frazer a letter-perfect Algernon and McGann a less than powerful "Ernest" Worthing, but Plowright (Mrs. Laurence Olivier) does her best to fill Evans' shoes and the well-known first act trickles on with little damage to Wilde. This version picks up steam at the Worthing country manor, and finds its pace with the meeting of Algernon and "Ernest"; with the confrontation between Cicely and Gwendolyn it never looks back and takes no prisoners. When all the characters appear for the finale, it winds down to the inevitable but still amusing conclusion.

Anyone who wants a version of the play uncut and undoctored (from what I've heard the Rupert Everett version was disastrously tampered with) needs to add this to their collection. The only caveat is with the acting. McGann is a good actor but he doesn't seem to have much power as "Ernest". Perhaps he's trying too hard to not make it seem, as with so many versions, he's just repeating all Wilde's famous quotes, attempting to wrest "Ernest" from being just a museum piece it's sometimes played as. Redman is sometimes very good and sometimes is dangerously close to mugging. Ogle is a welcome surprise as Cicely.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Importance of Being Earnest (1986) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page