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While matchmaking for friends and neighbours, a young 19th Century Englishwoman nearly misses her own chance at love.



(novel), (screenplay)
3,539 ( 966)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mr Weston
Denys Hawthorne ...
Mrs Goddard
Mrs Bates
Edward Woodall ...
Mr. Martin
Brett Miley ...
Little Boy
John Knightley
Karen Westwood ...
Paul Williamson ...


Emma Woodhouse is a congenial young lady who delights in meddling in other people's affairs. She is perpetually trying to unite men and women who are utterly wrong for each other. Despite her interest in romance, Emma is clueless about her own feelings, and her relationship with gentle Mr. Knightly. Written by Philip Brubaker <coda@nando.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Cupid is armed and dangerous!


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

30 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ema  »


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$240,649, 4 August 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$22,201,883, 24 November 1996

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Toni Collette also struggled to get into Jane Austen's books when she was younger, but after reading Emma, which she deemed "warm and witty and clever", she began to appreciate them more. See more »


As Emma and Knightly are leaving the church, Jane Fairfax takes Frank Churchill's arm twice. See more »


Emma Woodhouse: Has an invitation arrived for a party at the Coles?
Mr. Woodhouse: No, thank Heaven. The Coles are nice people, but we should have to go outside to get there.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to ... the people of Evershot. See more »


Version of Emma (1972) See more »


Mr. Beveridge's Maggot
From John Playford's 'The English Dancing Master' Vol. 3 (1728)
Arranged by John Gale
See more »

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User Reviews

Gwyneth surprises
15 May 2003 | by See all my reviews

I have no idea how a Texan (the director, Douglas McGrath) and the American actress Gwyneth Paltrow ever pulled this off but seeing this again will remind you what all the fuss about Ms. Paltrow was in the first place! I had long since gone off the woman and still feel she is rather dull in her Oscar-winning "Shakespeare In Love" performance but she gets all the beats right here--she is nigh on perfect as Emma Woodhouse. She may have won her Oscar for Shakespeare but she should be remembered for this.

Of course, she's surrounded by a great supporting cast including Toni Collette, Greta Scacchi, Juliette Stevenson et al...Jeremy Northam is very appealing as the love interest, even if the script wallows a bit in his declaration of love to Paltrow (in the process, allowing all of the tension to drain out of their relationship); several years on, Ewan's hair is a little easier to take than it was in '96 and, personally, I find puckish Alan Cumming a grating presence in anything nowadays. But the standout is, without a doubt, Sophie Thompson (sister of Emma Thompson, daughter of Phyllida Law) as Miss Bates; what this version needs is a scene where Emma reconciles with Miss Bates, as she is the character to whose fate we are drawn. The film is worth watching (again even) for her performance alone.

All in all, this has aged wonderfully with charm to spare and more than enough subtlety to sort out the British class system. Well worth a rental (because its unlikely that Paltrow will ever be this good again--but we'll always have Emma).

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