Shadowlands (1993)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  14 January 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 12,941 users  
Reviews: 86 user | 22 critic

C.S. Lewis, a world-renowned Christian theologian, writer and professor, leads a passionless life until he meets a spirited poet from the U.S.


(screenplay), (play)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Desmond Arding
Roddy Maude-Roxby ...
Arnold Dopliss
Michael Denison ...
Harry Harrington
Andrew Seear ...
Bob Chafer
Tim McMullan ...
Nick Farrell
Christopher Riley
Andrew Hawkins ...
Rupert Parrish
Peter Howell ...
College President
Robert Flemyng ...
Claude Bird
Peter Whistler


C.S. Lewis is the author of the "Chronicles of Narnia" books. Known as Jack, he teaches at Oxford during the 1950s. An American fan, Joy Gresham, arrives to meet him for tea in Oxford. It is the beginning of a love affair. Tragically, Joy becomes terminally ill and their lives become complicated. Written by Matthew Stanfield <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

oxford | england | friend | love | book | See All (71) »


He thought that magic only existed in books, and then he met her. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 January 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tierra de sombras  »

Box Office


$22,000,000 (estimated)


£3,033,231 (UK) (15 April 1994)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Nigel Hawthorne, who played the role on stage, was replaced in this film version by Anthony Hopkins because Hawthorne was still almost unknown internationally. See more »


As C.S. Lewis and Joy Gresham climb to the turret of the college in order to admire the Oxford skyline, a 1960s-style towerblock is briefly visible in the distance. See more »


Harry: [Jack makes his first public appearance after Joy's death] Well done, Jack. Life must go on.
Jack: I don't know whether it must, Harry, but it certainly does.
See more »


Toccata and Fugue in D
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Heard at the Insignia ceremony
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Intelligent, Powerful, and Joyous
14 April 2000 | by (Sarah Lawrence College) – See all my reviews

I probably watch this film every two years, yet like fine wine, it grows even better after time. This picture is a beautiful, thought provoking, and highly effective meditation on how love, death, god, joy, and pain all coexist in the strange universe that is life. With subject matter as complex as this, the viewer can see where one could easily become lost in C.S. Lewis's story, but "Shadowlands" never falters. The film remains quiet, simple, and highly effective through Attenborough's understated direction, and its cast's uniformly excellent performances.

However, what sits at the very core of "Shadowlands" beauty is its ultimate truth. There are moments in this film so full of genuine, unflynching emotion that its power practically hits the audience member in the gut. Yes, the film's magnificently depicted scenes of death and grieving never fail to jerk tears from my eyes, but Lewis's closing lines regarding the choices he made as a boy and a man make me sob.

"Shadowlands" is undoubtedly representative of filmaking at its very best. I recommend this film without reservation to anyone!

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