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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 25% 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:
A misinterpretation 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 business with "Ernest's" bill at the Savoy and the money collectors coming to Jack's country home is taken from a scene cut from the play prior to its publication.See more »
Factual errors: In the scene where Algy comes upon his servants playing music together, the banjo shown is a modern "bluegrass style" banjo with 5 strings and a resonator. At the time this movie was set, the banjo was a popular instrument, but it would have been the 4 string, open backed type.See more »
Lady Bracknell:You seem to be displaying signs of triviality.
Jack:On the contrary, Aunt Augusta. I've now realized for the first time in my life the vital importance of being Ernest.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Lady Come DownSee more »


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103 out of 137 people found the following review useful.
A misinterpretation, 21 April 2003
Author: Dennis Littrell from United States

This is an inventive and artful production of Oscar Wilde's play, but I can confidently say that were Oscar Wilde alive today, he would be appalled at the misuse to which his play has been put. Indeed I think I feel the ground rumbling as he rolls over in his grave, and yes he is actually spinning in anguish.

Oliver Parker, who directed and wrote the screen adaptation, simply misinterpreted the play. He focused on the "dashing young bachelors" when the real focus of the play is Lady Bracknell, the absurd and beautifully ironic representation of the Victorian mind who was then and has been for over a hundred years Wilde's singular creation and one of the great characters of English literature. She is supposed to steal every scene she is in and we are to double take everyone of her speeches as we feel that she is simultaneous absurd and exactly right. Instead Judi Dench's Lady Bracknell (and I don't blame Dench who is a fine actress) is harsh and stern and literal to the point of being a controlling matriarch when what Wilde had in mind was somebody who was both pompous and almost idiotic yet capable of a penetrating and cynical wisdom (so like the author's). Compared to Dane Edith Evans's brilliant performance in the celebrated cinematic production from 1952, Dench's Lady Bracknell is positively one-dimensional.

The point of Wilde's play was to simultaneously delight and satirize the Victorian audience who came to watch the play. This is the genius of the play: the play-goer might view all of the values of bourgeois society upheld while at the same time they are being made fun of. Not an easy trick, but that is why The Importance of Being Earnest is considered one of the greatest plays ever written. This attempt turn it into a light entertainment for today's youthful audiences fails because this play is not a romantic comedy. It is more precisely a satire of a romantic comedy. Its point and Wilde's intent was to make fun of Victorian notions of romance and marrying well and to expose the mercantile nature of that society. It is probably impossible to "translate" the play for the contemporary film viewer since a satire of today's audiences and today's society would require an entirely different set of rapiers.

Parker's additions to the play only amounted to distractions that diluted the essence of the play's incomparable wit. Most of Wilde's witticisms were lost in the glare of Parker's busy work. Recalling Lady Bracknell as a dance hall girl in her youth who became pregnant before being wed was ridiculous and not only added nothing, but misinterpreted her character. Lady Bracknell is not a hypocrite with a compromised past. She is everything she pretends to be and that is the joke. Showing Algernon actually running through the streets to escape creditors or being threatened with debtor's prison was silly and again missed the point. Algy was "hard up" true and in need of "ready money" but his bills would be paid. Gwendolyn in goggles and cap driving a motor car also added nothing and seemed to place the play some years after the fact.

The big mistake movie directors often make when making a movie from a stage play is to feel compelled to get the play off the stage and out into the streets and countryside. Almost always these attempts are simply distractions. Some of the greatest adaptations--Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire from 1951 comes immediately to mind--played it straight and didn't try anything fancy. Here Parker seems obsessed with "dressing up" the play. What he does is obscure it.

On the positive side the costumes were beautiful and Anna Massy was an indelible Miss Prism. Reese Witherspoon at least looked the part of Cecily and she obviously worked hard. Rupert Evertt had some moments in the beginning that resembled Wilde's Algernon, but he was not able to sustain the impersonation.

My recommendation is that you not bother with this production and instead get the 1952 film starring, in addition to Edith Evans, Michael Redgrave and Margaret Rutherford. It is essentially true to the play as Wilde wrote it, and is a pure delight.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

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