Oscar and Lucinda (1997)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  31 December 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 5,470 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 49 user | 28 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

In mid-1800s England, Oscar is a young Anglican priest, a misfit and an outcast, but with the soul of an angel. As a boy, even though from a strict Pentecostal family, he felt God told him ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Oscar Hopkins
Reverend Dennis Hasset (as Ciaran Hinds)
Hugh Stratton
Mr. Jeffries
Bille Brown ...
Percy Smith
Josephine Byrnes ...
Miriam Chadwick
Jimmy D'Abbs
Betty Stratton
Narrator (voice)
Polly Cheshire ...
Young Lucinda
Gillian Jones ...
Elizabeth Leplastrier
Robert Menzies ...
Abel Leplastrier


In mid-1800s England, Oscar is a young Anglican priest, a misfit and an outcast, but with the soul of an angel. As a boy, even though from a strict Pentecostal family, he felt God told him through a sign to leave his father and his faith and join the Church of England. Lucinda is a teen-aged Australian heiress who has an almost desperate desire to liberate her sex from the confines of the male-dominated culture of the Australia of that time. She buys a glass factory and has a dream of building a church made almost entirely of glass, and then transporting it to Bellingen, a remote settlement on the north coast. Oscar and Lucinda meet on a ship going to Australia; once there, they are for different reasons ostracized from society, and as a result "join forces" together. Oscar and Lucinda are both passionate gamblers, and Lucinda bets Oscar her entire inheritance that he cannot transport the glass church to the Outback safely. Oscar accepts her wager, and this leads to the events that ... Written by M.E. Nelson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A dream. A lie. A wager. Love. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sexuality, and for brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |



Release Date:

31 December 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Oscar e Lucinda  »

Box Office


AUD 16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$137,163 (USA) (2 January 1998)


DEM 60,842 (Germany) (26 June 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In that the Pentecostal Church / Movement came into existence in 1906, it would be impossible for "Oscar" to have grown up in a "Pentecostal" home. See more »


[In his letter to Lucinda]
Oscar: I dare not hope, and yet I must that through this deed I gain your trust.
See more »


Referenced in Lost in Austen: Episode #1.3 (2008) See more »


Fantasia in C Minor for Piano, Chorus & Orchestra, Op.80
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by the Prague Radio Chorus/Prague Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Vaclav Smetacek
See more »

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User Reviews

A Story of Obsession and Guilt with Wonderful Acting
30 May 1999 | by See all my reviews

Do you like great acting? I mean something subtle where an actor's face is like an artist's brush or music by a fine composer. In this film Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett are the virtuosos and they simply dazzled me with their talent.

The main story of Oscar and Lucinda is not very original, a tragic love story. The film does involve pre 1900 English characters that present some basic dilemmas of life. How strange the English of the 1800's seem today. Their repressed world can make an interesting contrast to the lives of free spirits and native cultures.

The dilemma Oscar and Lucinda gives us is that if we follow our feelings and obsessions, we will break away from many silly and confining customs. But such devotion to feeling taken too far can lead a person to commit hideous acts. Oscar and Lucinda goes to the heart of many of these conflicts which are also touched upon by the fine film, The Piano, and by the more obvious and superficial Sirens.

With such weighty issues, there is much hand wringing guilt by several characters. And all of that gets in the way of the love story which was alright with me but may bother some.

There are a few novelistic touches (why use the flashback technique a la Fried Green Tomatoes at all) that felt unnecessary. But these are minor points. The talented director Gillian Armstrong finely crafts many of the scenes and keeps the story moving. As a final dilemma, even though Western Civilization has tragically spoiled much of the beauty of the natural world, it has also created beautiful, finely acted films such as this.

18 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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