An Ideal Husband (1999)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  18 June 1999 (USA)
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Sir Robert Chiltern is a successful Government minister, well-off and with a loving wife. All this is threatened when Mrs Cheveley appears in London with damning evidence of a past misdeed.... See full summary »



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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
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Sir Robert Chiltern is a successful Government minister, well-off and with a loving wife. All this is threatened when Mrs Cheveley appears in London with damning evidence of a past misdeed. Sir Robert turns for help to his friend Lord Goring, an apparently idle philanderer and the despair of his father. Goring knows the lady of old, and, for him, takes the whole thing pretty seriously. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He just doesn't know it yet.


Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief sensuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

18 June 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un esposo ideal  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£492,309 (UK) (16 April 1999)


$18,535,191 (USA) (1 October 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "An Ideal Husband" by Oscar Wilde opened at the Lyceum Theatre on March 12, 1895. Broadway revivals were produced in 1918 and 1996. See more »


Lord Goring's jacket is buttoned, then unbuttoned, then buttoned again as he explains Lady Chiltern's letter to Lord Chiltern, Mabel and Lady Chiltern herself near the end of the film. See more »


Lord Arthur Goring: My dear Mrs. Cheveley, I should make you a very bad husband.
Laura: I don't mind bad husbands. I've had two. They amused me immensely.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits list Oliver Parker, the director, as playing "Bunbury", one of the gentlemen that is seen playing cards with Lord Goring in the Men's Club when Lord Chiltern arrives. Bunbury is also a never-seen character in "The Importance of Being Earnest", the play which is performed in the background of several scenes of this film. See more »


Version of Idealnyy muzh (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

Superb filmmaking
19 January 2000 | by (Atlanta) – See all my reviews

To say that this film is a filmmaking tour de force would be a great injustice. It is far better than that. Oliver Parker's revitalizing of Oscar Wilde's classic play is filmmaking at its finest.

Every element of this film is superlative. Wilde's story as adapted to the screen by Parker is witty, intelligent and engaging from start to finish. Seldom can you find a story that attempts to be a romantic comedy, a tale of duplicity blackmail and betrayal, and a drama of political intrigue, and succeeds so well on all counts.

The intricate weave of deception, manipulation and double entendre along with comic misperception, irony and rapier witted dialogue are delicious and classic Wilde. This is a film you will want to see again and again, just to discover all the lines within the lines.

I cannot say enough about the brilliance of Oliver Parker's direction in this film. He has captured late 19th Century aristocratic England with vivid and rich images that put the viewer right into the period. David Johnson's cinematography is fantastic, with every scene working well as to lighting and color. The beautiful blend of colors in the costumes and the set always looked like they belonged together. Parker also provides numerous interesting camera angles that help dramatize the scenes. It serves to remind us that glorious films can still be made relying on the creative eye of the director rather than special effects.

The acting was delightful. Rupert Everett, as the self absorbed Lord Arthur Goring, delivers an exquisite performance as the unscrupulous rogue upon whom the mantle of truth and honor is laid.

Julianne Moore was delightful as the evil and cunning Mrs. Cheveley. As cold, manipulative and heartless as she is with Chiltern and Lady Chiltern, she is that vulnerable and helpless with Lord Goring, for whom she has long held a flame. Moore handles this emotional juggling act with great skill and you find yourself simultaneously loving her ingeniousness and hating her treachery.

Cate Blanchett turns in another wonderful performance as the oh-so-perfect, Lady Gertrud Chiltern. Jeremy Northam is also excellent as Robert Chiltern, the man of untouchable character with a scandalous secret in his past. Even Minnie Driver is charming as Robert's sister.

This is a terrific film for the refined viewer who appreciates all aspects of filmmaking. Even for those not into the art of filmmaking, it is simply great entertainment. I can think of no negative criticism of it. It is well written, directed, photographed and acted. It is filmmaking the way it was meant to be. A perfect 10.

34 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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An Ideal Husband or The Importance of being Ernest? FineEyes_PertOpinions
Goring and Mabel. Does *any*one else think this is wrong? moviegoer36
Lord Goring's Lover? lkpurdy
They got the meaning of the title wrong Bookluvr221
the play within the movie mwlin
Julianne Moore Wendolene_Ramsbottom
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