True story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from their student days through her battle with Alzheimer's disease.

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(books), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Young John Bayley
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Principal
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Hostess
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Janet Stone
Siobhan Hayes ...
Check-Out Girl
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Young Janet Stone
Joan Bakewell ...
BBC Presenter
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BBC PA
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Dr. Gudgeon
Tom Mannion ...
Neurologist
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Postman
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Young Maurice (as Sam West)
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Storyline

Iris, based on the life of revered British writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch, is a story of unlikely yet enduring love. As a young academic, teaching philosophy at Oxford, Murdoch meets and eventually falls in love with fellow professor John Bayley, a man whose awkwardness seems in stark opposition to the spirited self-confidence of his future wife. The story unfolds as snippets of time, seen through Bayley's eyes. He recalls their first encounter over 40 years ago, activities they enjoyed doing together, and Iris' charismatic and individualistic personality. These images portray Murdoch as a vibrant young woman with great intellect and are contrasted with the novelist's later life, after the effects of Alzheimer's disease have ravaged her. Murdoch's great mind deteriorates until she is reduced to a mere vestige of her former self, unable to perform simple tasks and completely reliant on her at times frustrated yet devoted husband. Written by kem

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Her greatest talent was for life


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

29 March 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$23,144 (USA) (14 December 2001)

Gross:

$1,292,119 (USA) (7 August 2015)
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

2002 Academy Awards host Whoopi Goldberg humorously referred during the ceremony that Iris (2001) "[was] a movie that even Ingmar Bergman found depressing". See more »

Goofs

When John gets his coat caught against the chair at the pub, a boom mic can be seen in the mirror behind him. See more »

Quotes

Iris Murdoch: Education doesn't make you happy. And what is freedom? We don't become happy just because we are free, if we are. Or because we have been educated, if we have. But because education may be the means by which we realize we are happy. It opens our eyes, our ears. Tells use where delights are lurking. Convinces us that there is only one freedom of any importance whatsoever: that of the mind. And give us the assurance, the confidence, to walk the path our mind, our educated mind, offers.
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Connections

Featured in A Look at Iris (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

The Hokie Cokie
Words & Music by Jimmy Kennedy
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User Reviews

Shattering

This episodic story of Iris Murdoch, best selling novelist, and her husband John Bayley, is not for the faint-hearted. There are no illusions here, and those that seem to exist are shattered by grim reality.

The film pulls no punches, showing Iris as a self-absorbed, stream-of-consciousness woman who becomes ill with Alzheimer's disease. Her husband, in sickness and in health, seems to always be a step behind her. However, he is enthralled with her - totally devoted and ultimately alone.

Yet, this portrait is beautiful and episodic, filled with symbolism, wonderful flashbacks, and the threads of a relationship built and undone. The four leads are just wonderful, with Jim Broadbent deservedly receiving an Oscar for his performance. Superb cinematography, editing, and direction support the actors and the great script.

Highly recommended. I give it 9 out of 10.


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