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The Remains of the Day (1993)

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A butler who sacrificed body and soul to service in the years leading up to World War II realizes too late how misguided his loyalty was to his lordly employer.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Haycraft ...
Auctioneer
...
Jack Lewis
...
...
Caroline Hunt ...
Landlady
...
Lord Darlington
...
William Stevens
Paula Jacobs ...
Mrs. Mortimer, the Cook
...
Charlie, Head Footman
...
George, Second Footman
...
Housemaid (as Abigail Harrison)
...
Spencer
Peter Cellier ...
Sir Leonard Bax
Peter Halliday ...
Canon Tufnell
...
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Storyline

A rule bound head butler's world of manners and decorum in the household he maintains is tested by the arrival of a housekeeper who falls in love with him in post-WWII Britain. The possibility of romance and his master's cultivation of ties with the Nazi cause challenge his carefully maintained veneer of servitude. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for themes | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

19 November 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lo que queda del día  »

Box Office

Budget:

$11,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$22,954,968 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The picture's director James Ivory said of this film: "I first read The Remains of the Day in 1989 while we were shooting Mr. & Mrs. Bridge (1990) in Kansas City. One of our actors gave me the book. I knew at once that I wanted to make it into a film. The story seemed to me to be a sort of classic triangle, with Stevens the butler (Anthony Hopkins) torn between his loyalty to his dubious master, Lord Darlington (James Fox), and his growing and unsuspected feelings for the housekeeper he has hired, Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson), feelings which went both unexpressed and unexamined. The milieu was also interesting for me, as well as the period: a great aristocratic establishment centered in an English country house just before and after the Second World War, but seen from the perspective of the staff, and most particularly, the butler. We had touched slightly on this world in Maurice (1987) pre-1914, and I felt it had a lot to offer. I instructed my agent in England to see if the novel's rights were free, but I soon learned they were not. Harold Pinter had optioned the book and was said to be writing a screenplay for Mike Nichols, who would be making the film for Columbia Pictures. I thought, 'Well, that's that', but I followed the progress of the project anyway, things can always happen, this time through my American agent. And things did happen: Mike Nichols withdrew, his replacement Christopher Menaul also in time withdrew, and Columbia, who already knew I was interested, began looking around to see who might be ready to take up The Remains of the Day (1993). This coincided with the first success of Howards End (1992). The result was that Merchant Ivory ended up forming a partnership with Mike Nichols and John Calley to make the film in the fall of 1992. I felt I needed a different script and Ruth Jhabvala [Ruth Prawer Jhabvala] agreed to supply one. Many of our collaborators from Howards End (1992) were also available: Tony Pierce-Roberts would be the cinematographer; Luciana Arrighi came back as production designer, as did the costume designers Jenny Beavan and John Bright. Andrew Marcus was again to be our editor, and Richard Robbins who has [had at the time] done the musical score for every MIP [Merchant Ivory Productions] film but one since 'The Europeans (1979), came on again as composer. That is probably why the film was made so swiftly". See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film, during Mr. Stevens voiceover, he recalls the day Miss Kenton arrived. It was, he says, the day of the Charlgrove Meet, which is a fox hunt. We see the hunt riding through the estate, the trees of which are covered in green leaves, making it summertime. Yet a hunt usually takes place in winter and in the next scene, Miss Kenton is being interviewed in Stevens office, the same day, but the calendar on the table reads Wednesday, 25th October. See more »

Quotes

Stevens: You know what I am doing, Miss Kenton? I am placing my thoughts elsewhere while you chatter away.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: Bebe's Kids (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Sei mir gegrüsst
Composed by Franz Schubert
Text by Friedrich Rückert
Sung by Ann Murray
Piano: Graham Johnson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent Period Piece
22 August 2004 | by (Panama) – See all my reviews

This movie is James Ivory's best, and one of Anthony Hopkins' and Emma Thompson's better films.

Did you ever care to know what British upper class life was like in past centuries for both nobility and gentry (their servants?) This show humanizes life for them all, revealing their common foibles and their collective challenges.

One would think that Hopkins would be the quintessential casting choice for a high quality 19th or 20th century British butler. He admits that it is a role that he had to study since he has never had a butler, or known one. Well, he did a superb job.

Emma Thompson performs spectacularly as romantic interest and head housekeeper. Believability is her byline.

Altogether a well-rounded cast, and an excellent production that captivates, entertains and entrances. You'd almost want to trade lives with most any of the characters, for better or worse.


39 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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