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The Importance of Being Earnest
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The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) More at IMDbPro »

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The Importance of Being Earnest -- Starring Reese Witherspoon (LEGALLY BLONDE), Colin Firth (BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY), and Rupert Everett (MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING), here is the hilarious adventure of two dashing young bachelors and the outrageous deceptions they find themselves in over love!
The Importance of Being Earnest -- In 1890s London, two friends use the same pseudonym ("Ernest") for their on-the-sly activities. Hilarity ensues.


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Up 66% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Oscar Wilde (play)
Oliver Parker (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Importance of Being Earnest on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 June 2002 (USA) See more »
Everybody Loves Ernest... But Nobody's Quite Sure Who He Really Is.
In 1890s London, two friends use the same pseudonym ("Ernest") for their on-the-sly activities. Hilarity ensues. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
The dumbing-down of Oscar Wilde See more (140 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Rupert Everett ... Algy

Colin Firth ... Jack

Frances O'Connor ... Gwendolen

Reese Witherspoon ... Cecily

Judi Dench ... Lady Bracknell

Tom Wilkinson ... Dr. Chasuble

Anna Massey ... Miss Prism

Edward Fox ... Lane

Patrick Godfrey ... Merriman
Charles Kay ... Gribsby
Cyril Shaps ... Pew Opener

Marsha Fitzalan ... Dowager

Finty Williams ... Young Lady Bracknell
Guy Bensley ... Young Lord Bracknell
Christina Robert ... Duchess of Devonshire

Kiera Chaplin ... Girl in Gambling Club
Alexandra Kobi ... Girl in Gambling Club
Suzie Boyle ... Dancer
Kate Coyne ... Dancer
Bernadette Iglich ... Dancer
Polli Redston ... Dancer
Elaine Tyler-Hall ... Dancer
Gillian Winn ... Dancer
Holly Collins ... Dancer
Kit Dickinson ... Dancer
Suzanne Thomas ... Dancer
Charlie Mole ... Musical Butler
Darrell Kok ... Musical Butler
Judd Procter ... Musical Butler
Martin Knowles ... Musical Butler
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Greg Bennett ... Gentleman (uncredited)

Sacha Bennett ... Jenkins the Gamekeeper (uncredited)
Ray Donn ... Gambler (uncredited)
Neil Findlater ... Tricycle Man (uncredited)

Sonja Morgenstern ... Lady at the Savoy (uncredited)
Louise Rhian Poole ... Lady at the savoy (uncredited)

Directed by
Oliver Parker 
Writing credits
Oscar Wilde (play "The Importance of Being Earnest")

Oliver Parker (screenplay)

Produced by
David Brown .... co-producer
Uri Fruchtmann .... executive producer
Barnaby Thompson .... producer
Original Music by
Charlie Mole 
Cinematography by
Tony Pierce-Roberts (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Guy Bensley 
Casting by
Celestia Fox 
Production Design by
Luciana Arrighi 
Art Direction by
Paul Ghirardani 
Set Decoration by
Ian Whittaker 
Costume Design by
Maurizio Millenotti 
Makeup Department
Nuala Conway .... assistant hair designer
Nuala Conway .... assistant makeup designer
Charmaine Fuller .... crowd hair stylist
Charmaine Fuller .... crowd makeup artist
Renata Gilbert .... crowd hair stylist
Renata Gilbert .... crowd makeup artist
Pat Hay .... makeup artist: Mr. Everett
Joe Hopker .... makeup artist
Peter King .... hair designer
Peter King .... makeup designer
Dianne Millar .... crowd hair stylist
Dianne Millar .... crowd makeup artist
Susan Parkinson .... key crowd hair stylist (as Sue Parkinson)
Susan Parkinson .... key crowd makeup artist (as Sue Parkinson)
Paula Price .... hair stylist
Paula Price .... makeup artist
Jamie Pritchard .... hair stylist: Mr. Everett
Barbara Taylor .... crowd hair stylist
Barbara Taylor .... crowd makeup artist
Production Management
Brian Donovan .... production supervisor
Hugh Gourlay .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Fiona Gosden .... third assistant director
Richard Hewitt .... first assistant director
Matthew Penry-Davey .... second assistant director
Toby Sherborne .... assistant director
Art Department
John Addison .... carpenter
Steve Alder .... carpenter
Robert Allen .... stagehand
Bill Bernie .... stand-by painter (as William Bernie)
Lee Biggs .... carpenter
John Casey .... carpenter
Joe Cassar .... carpenter
Alalia Chetwynd .... scenic artist
Anna-Maria Chetwynd .... graphics artist
Larry Cooch .... painter
Nick Cosens .... dressing props
Rick Dunning .... stand-by stagehand
Andy Evans .... construction coordinator
Trevor Eve .... painter
Ronald Fallen .... painter
Gary Fox .... dressing props
Mark Fruin .... stand-by props
James Gemmill .... scenic artist
Alan Gooch .... painter (as Alan Cooch)
Michael Gooch .... carpenter
Ian Green .... supervising carpenter
Warren Greenham .... painter
Kate Grimble .... assistant art director
Mark Guest .... prop storeman
Michael Harm .... art department assistant
Ralph Harrison .... carpenter
Terry Heggarty .... painter
Andrew Hobbs .... carpenter
Dominic Hyman .... stand-by art director
Patricia Johnson .... draughtsman
Andrew Mash .... carpenter
Kieron Mcnamara .... stand-by props
Mark McNeil .... stand-by props (as Mark Venn Mcneil)
Joe Monks .... painter
Charlotte Pearson .... art department coordinator
Clifford Rashbrook .... stagehand
Brian Read .... property buyer
Mark Reynolds .... assistant property master
Denis Rich .... storyboard artist
Paul Sansom .... carpenter
Lee Shelley .... painter
Barry Smalls .... stand-by carpenter
Colin Smith .... supervising chargehand
Graham Stickley .... dressing props
Anthony Szuch .... drapes master
Josephine Warne .... art department assistant
Paul Wescott .... supervising painter
Steve Westley .... dressing props
Arthur Wicks .... property master
Steve Williamson .... painter
Will Ayres .... props (uncredited)
Rohan Harris .... paintings (uncredited)
Sound Department
Ben Barker .... foley editor
Simon Changer .... assistant sound engineer
Colin Cooper .... adr recordist
Mark DeSimone .... adr engineer
Richard Dunford .... sound effects editor (as Rick Dunsford)
Stan Fiferman .... foley artist
Stephen Gilmour .... sound maintenance
Matthew Gough .... sound re-recording mixer
Bruce Gray .... adr recordist
Diane Greaves .... foley artist (as Dianne Greaves)
Steve Hancock .... sound studio technician
Steve Hancock .... sound re-recording engineer
Tom Hannen .... ProTools operator
Mystique Holloway .... assistant sound editor
Max Hoskins .... supervising sound editor
Peter Maxwell .... additional sound re-recording mixer
John Midgley .... sound mixer
Kath Pollard .... adr recordist
June Prinz .... boom operator
Adrian Rhodes .... sound re-recording mixer
James Seddon .... dolby consultant
Ted Swanscott .... adr mixer
Nick Watson .... sound consultant: Dolby
Dan Edelstein .... supervising sound editor: US release (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Alex Gurucharri .... special effects senior technician
Tom Harris .... special effects supervisor
Barry Woodman .... special effects technician
Visual Effects by
Simon Frame .... visual effects supervisor
Tom Hocking .... digital compositor: men-from-mars
Gruff Owen .... digital compositor
Tom Hocking .... digital artist (uncredited)
Danielle da Costa .... stunt double
Steve Dent .... stunt coordinator
Kim McGarrity .... stunt double
Mark Mottram .... stunt double: Rupert Everett
Rocky Taylor .... stunt double
Camera and Electrical Department
Peter Arnold .... electrician
Sam Barnes .... clapper loader: second unit
Jacob Barrie .... camera trainee
Jacob Barrie .... clapper loader: "b" camera
David Brown .... director of photography: second unit
Paul Chedlow .... still photographer
Alan Coates .... generator operator (as Alan 'Pockets' Coates)
Charlie England .... assistant camera
Charlie England .... clapper loader: second unit
John Ferguson .... focus puller
Tommy Finch .... gaffer
Dogan Halil .... Steadicam operator: second unit
Leo Holloway .... video playback operator
Oliver Loncraine .... clapper loader (as Oliver Loncraine)
Paul Mills .... stand-by rigger
Nic Milner .... camera operator: second unit
Dean Morrish .... underwater first assistant camera
Darren Quinn .... grip
Ralph Ramsden .... focus puller: second unit
Keith Sewell .... Steadicam operator: second unit
Philip Sindall .... camera operator: second unit
Tony Skinner .... electrician
Chyna Thomson .... assistant camera: "b" camera, second unit
Roger Tooley .... Steadicam operator
Roger Tooley .... Steadicam operator: second unit
John Turner .... electrician
Mike Valentine .... underwater camera
George White .... best boy (as George 'Spike' White)
Casting Department
Louis Elman .... adr voice casting
Alex Johnson .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Anthony Brookman .... wardrobe master
Giovanni Casalnuovo .... assistant costume designer (as Gianni Castelnuovo)
Wendy Cole .... seamstress
Alleyne Kirby Davies .... costume maker
Nicola Foy .... costume assistant
Annie Hadley .... chief costume cutter
Zoe Harvey .... head dresser
Linda Lashley .... seamstress
Pernilla Lindfors .... seamstress
Marcus Love-McGuirk .... key costume supervisor
Marcus Love-McGuirk .... wardrobe supervisor
Anne Nichols .... seamstress
Lucilla Simbari .... costume assistant
Mike Skorepa .... crowd supervisor
Rupert Steggle .... wardrobe master
Janet Tebrooke .... wardrobe mistress
Mariano Tufano .... assistant costume designer
Mariano Tufano .... costume supervisor
Dominic Young .... costume maker
Editorial Department
Tania Blunden .... post-production (as Tania Windsor Blunden)
William Blunden .... editor trainee
John Ensby .... laboratory contact
Laura Evans .... assistant editor
Mike Fraser .... negative cutter
Lalit Goyal .... assistant editor
Peter Hunt .... color timer
Lionel Johnson .... assistant editor
Steve Mercer .... first assistant editor
Matthew Streatfield .... trainee assistant editor
Music Department
Darrell Alexander .... music producer
Geoff Alexander .... conductor
Geoff Alexander .... orchestrator
Simon Chamberlain .... musician: Algy's piano
Simon Chamberlain .... orchestrator
Simon Changer .... assistant music engineer
Sophie Cornet .... music editor
Esther Goodhew .... musicians contractor: Cool Music Ltd.
Chris Nicolaides .... composer: additional music
Chris Nicolaides .... music programmer
Mike Ross-Trevor .... music mixer
Mike Ross-Trevor .... music recordist
Nigel Stone .... additional music editor
Eliza Thompson .... music supervisor
Transportation Department
Darren Thackeray .... driver
Other crew
Lucy Backhouse .... location scout
Jonny Benson .... floor runner
Jake Bogert .... assistant to producer
Sebastian Dewing .... stand-in
Penny Dyer .... dialogue coach
Stephen Earner .... assistant production accountant
Karen Fayerty .... unit nurse
Sasha Gibson .... unit publicist
Ben Gladstone .... location scout
Gavin Hale .... stand-in
Kate Hazell .... location assistant
Alison Horton .... stand-in
John Kearney .... horse wrangler
Kevin Kolovich .... assistant: Maurizio Millenotti
Alex Lau .... location runner
Kate Lee .... unit publicist
Nichola Martin .... assistant: Barnaby Thompson
Christian McWilliams .... location manager
Luke Morris .... production executive
Hermione Ninnim .... production coordinator
Rufus Rawley .... crowd coordinator
Jo Rogers .... head of development: Fragile Films
Quinny Sacks .... choreographer
Tom Stourton .... location scout
Elian Strong .... assistant coordinator
Richard Topping .... production runner
Claire Tovey .... location assistant
Tony Tucker .... boat wrangler
Dianne Twiddy .... accountant
Louise Wade .... script supervisor: second unit
Alex Warder .... accounts assistant
Beverly Winston .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG for mild sensuality
97 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:G | Canada:PG | France:U | Germany:o.Al. | Iceland:L | Malaysia:U | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:PG | Sweden:7 | Switzerland:7 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:7 (canton of Vaud) | Switzerland:14 (canton of the Grisons) | UK:U | USA:PG

Did You Know?

The scenes where Rupert Everett slaps Colin Firth on his rear end and where Everett kisses Firth's cheek were ad libs. Director Oliver Parker thought Firth's stunned reaction was so humorous he decided to leave them in.See more »
Anachronisms: Jack's plaid tie was trademarked by Burberry in 1924.See more »
Miss Prism:The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.See more »
Movie Connections:
Lady Come DownSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
62 out of 102 people found the following review useful.
The dumbing-down of Oscar Wilde, 29 May 2002
Author: trendell-1 ( from Ottawa, Canada

Years ago I read a satirical piece by Fran Lebowitz in which she formulated the ultimate put-down for a young man whose intelligence, or lack of same, had inspired her displeasure. He was, she said, the sort of person whose lips moved while he watched television. It's a wicked slight, but I confess to thinking that Oliver Parker might have had that very fellow in mind when he butchered Oscar Wilde's brilliant play to make this awful film.

And it's really too bad, because the portents for the production were - on the surface at least - very good. You start with a great play by a great writer, who was also a great humorist. It's probable that only Shakespeare penned more quotable lines than Oscar Wilde did. And even Shakespeare probably did not write so many that were funny. The cast choices also looked good: Colin Firth and Rupert Everett as the male leads, the two false "Ernests"; the formidable Judi Dench as the even more formidable Lady Bracknell; Frances O'Connor as Gwendolen Fairfax; and Reese Witherspoon as Cecily Cardew - Witherspoon doing a creditable "Gwyneth Paltrow" turn with an English accent.

A bankable American star appears to be a standard requirement these days when presenting an essentially British production to viewers on this side of the Pond. Otherwise, so the illogic apparently goes, few people "over here" would turn up to see it. Of course, James Ivory did very well a decade ago with superb films like "Howard's End", and with nary an American star in sight. One supposes that Parker can be forgiven for overlooking that fact: after all, he was preoccupied with revving up the editorial chainsaw to dismember Wilde's text.

The problem with Parker's approach to the play is that Wilde wrote specifically for the theatre. Language was his tool, and few writers have used language half so brilliantly. "The Importance Of Being Earnest" is a drawing-room comedy, one of the best in the repertoire, a very funny, extremely literate play about manners, attitudes and conventions in Victorian England. It's a clever and tightly integrated work, a small masterpiece, where dialogue begets more dialogue, wry observations and witticisms proliferate, all of them ultimately spun into a seamless satirical whole.

That's not to say that Wilde can't be made into a "motion" picture. Three years ago, Parker did a creditable, if slightly sappy job on "An Ideal Husband". Perhaps buoyed by that modest success, he felt he could take Wilde - through "The Importance Of Being Earnest" - to a new level. And he has. Unfortunately, the place he has taken it is so far below theatrical sea-level that oxygen is required for basic survival. In hacking the text to ribbons - it seems that almost half of the dialogue has been discarded - he has so compromised the context of the piece that the end result is almost incomprehensible. Think of it as the ultimate dumbing-down of Oscar Wilde.

A short list of items in the film that are astonishingly un-funny. Gwendolen Fairfax having "Ernest" tattooed on her ass in a disreputable London district. Algernon Moncrieff arriving at Jack Worthing's country estate in a hot-air balloon. Algernon leaping in and out of carriages, and climbing through windows, and scurrying down alleyways to avoid his herds of creditors. Algernon spitting food all over himself when he meets Jack at the country house. Algernon and Jack in a wrestling match over a plate of muffins. Jack having Gwendolen's name tattooed on his ass as the credits roll by at the end of the film.

Urgent memo to Oliver Parker: Oscar Wilde is not about slapstick.

It was suggested in an earlier comment on IMDB that if you've never seen the play, as written, you might find Parker's film amusing; but if you have seen the play, you probably won't. That's good advice. Happily, the original 1952 film is available on VHS, and will soon be available on DVD. It was directed by Anthony Asquith. Wisely, Asquith kept his film solidly within the theatre's embrace, even starting the piece with a curtain rising before an invisible audience. And he had an English cast that was to die for - Michael Redgrave, Michael Denison, Joan Geeenwood, Dorothy Tutin, Margaret Rutherford, Miles Malleson. Asquith produced a brilliant film, a triumph of intelligence, style and taste, everything that Wilde and his admirers could have wished it to be - and everything that Parker's film is not.

A final note. Shortly after the film was released, Colin Firth gave an interview that was published in The Globe & Mail, a major Canadian newspaper out of Toronto. In the interview, Firth lamented that he lived in a society - England - that pretended to be literate, but in fact was not. The irony implicit in his comment is almost too delicious. I'm certain that Oscar Wilde would have loved it.

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