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The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000)

TV Movie  |  PG  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  27 March 2000 (USA)
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Biographic made-for-TV movie of the life of one of Hollywood's most famous actreses: Audrey Hepburn, spaning from her early childhood to the 1960's which details her life as Dutch ... See full summary »



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Title: The Audrey Hepburn Story (TV Movie 2000)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ella van Heemstra
Joseph Hepburn
James Hanson
Stéphane Archambault ...
Cathleen Nesbitt
Nick Dana
Tiffany's Cab Driver


Biographic made-for-TV movie of the life of one of Hollywood's most famous actreses: Audrey Hepburn, spaning from her early childhood to the 1960's which details her life as Dutch overachieving ballerina, coming to grips with her parents divorce and enduring five hard years of living in Nazi occupied Holland during World War II. Audrey then settles in the USA where she tries to make it big as a movie actress and the emotional trials that follow her with it. Written by Matthew Patay

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The dazzling true story of one of Hollywood's great icons See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for a scene of violence and brief language | See all certifications »






Release Date:

27 March 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Audrey Hepburn  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Audrey Hepburn's full name was Audrey Hepburn Ruston. Thus, she would have used the last name Ruston in her younger days, and her father would be referred to as Joseph Ruston. Not, Joseph Hepburn. See more »


Audrey Hepburn: [after receiving an Academy Award] I would like to thank my mother, who taught me to stand up straight, sit erect, use discipline with wine and sweets, and only smoke six cigarettes a day.
See more »


References Roman Holiday (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

Nose too pointed, chin too prominent, ears too large
15 February 2013 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

Biopics of famous actresses from the past, especially of those who were noted for their beauty, often suffer from difficulties with casting, as it is not always possible to find a modern actress who bears the necessary resemblance to the woman she is playing, even with the creative use of make-up. Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh (in the recent "Hitchcock") might be quite a good match, but there have been some much more eccentric ones, such as former Charlie's Angel Cheryl Ladd as Grace Kelly or even Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor.

"The Audrey Hepburn Story" is another example. I mean, which modern actress has a beauty comparable to Hepburn's? Today, the nearest equivalent would probably be Anne Hathaway, but at the time this film was made she was still an unknown teenager. Jennifer Love Hewitt, in fact, is only slightly older than Hathaway, but by 2000 the 21-year-old was obviously already a big enough Hollywood name to act as producer of her own movies and to get herself cast in the leading role, despite an obvious lack of likeness. (Nose too pointed, chin too prominent, ears too large).

The film spans the period from Audrey's childhood in the 1930s up to the making of Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961, covering her experiences in Nazi-occupied Holland during World War II, her unsuccessful attempt to become a ballerina, the early part of her acting career including her big Hollywood breakthrough with "Roman Holiday" and her romances with the young aristocrat James Hanson, later one of Britain's richest businessmen, with William Holden and with her first husband Mel Ferrer. Her subsequent divorce from Ferrer and her second marriage to Andrea Dotti, falling after the cut-off date of 1961, are omitted.

Understandably, a lot of stress is placed on Audrey's wartime experiences and her work for the Dutch Resistance. One thing that is somewhat softened is the extent to which Audrey's parents supported Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists. Her father's political opinions are, admittedly, referred to, but then trying to write about Joseph Hepburn-Ruston without mentioning his fascist sympathies would be a bit like trying to pen a biography of Jack the Ripper while tactfully avoiding the distasteful subject of homicide. What the film fails to mention is that Audrey's mother, Baroness Ella Van Heemstra, was during the 1930s as enthusiastic a fascist as her husband, although to be fair to Ella her fascism was something of an intellectual parlour-game and she seems to have abandoned it when she was confronted with the brutal reality of the Nazi occupation of her native Holland.

Jennifer Love Hewitt may not look much like Audrey Hepburn, but she loses out on the Special Oscar for "Least Convincing Impersonation of a Real Individual", which must go to Gabriel Macht for his portrayal of William Holden as a blond, sun-bronzed twenty-something beach-bum. Biographers seem to disagree about the depth of Audrey's relationship with Holden and her reasons for breaking it off; here it is shown as being very brief, non-sexual and broken off when Audrey discovers that he has had a vasectomy and is therefore unable to have children. Despite the lack of resemblance, in fact, Hewitt's performance is not altogether a bad one, as she does succeed in conveying something of Audrey's personality, aided by the one physical feature the two do have in common, a pair of large and lustrous eyes.

Film star biopics tend to gloss over the more lurid or sensational aspects of their subjects' lives, but in Audrey's case there seems to have been very little that needed glossing over, as she had (by Hollywood standards) remarkably few skeletons in her cupboard. Indeed, she always came across as a thoroughly lovable person both on screen and off; few people had anything but praise for her. (One exception seems to have been that old grouch Truman Capote, who didn't like her performance in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", but according to this film even he was eventually won over by her charm). Her charitable work appears to have been the result of sincere convictions and not, as with some celebrities, a mere PR stunt. Her Wikipedia entry describes her as "actress and humanitarian" rather than simply "actress".

So how does one manage to make a film about her without it simply becoming an exercise in hagiography? Well, truth to tell, this film does not avoid that particular trap altogether. It is, certainly, better than the Cheryl Ladd "Grace Kelly" which resembles nothing so much as a dramatised encyclopedia entry, but then Audrey's life was always more eventful than Grace Kelly's, and certainly more eventful than the bowdlerised version of Grace Kelly's life presented to us in the film. Filmed biographies, however, need dramatic tension if they are to work, just as much as films about wholly fictitious subjects, and that is something in which this film often seems lacking, except perhaps during the wartime scenes. It manages to be informative, but is never very exciting. 5/10

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