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Iris (I) (2001)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  29 March 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 14,219 users   Metascore: 76/100
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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.



(books), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Young John Bayley
Angela Morant ...
Janet Stone
Siobhan Hayes ...
Check-Out Girl
Young Janet Stone
Joan Bakewell ...
BBC Presenter
Nancy Carroll ...
Dr. Gudgeon
Tom Mannion ...
Young Maurice (as Sam West)


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


Her greatest talent was for life


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

29 March 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch  »

Box Office


$5,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


When Iris and John go to visit Maurice Charlton, a reflection of the camera lighting is seen on the inside of the front door. See more »


Young Iris Murdoch: [to John] You know more about me than anyone. You are my world.
See more »


Referenced in The Holiday (2006) See more »


The Lark in the Clear Air
Music: Traditional tune: Caisleán U, Néill
Lyrics by Samuel Ferguson (about 1850)
See more »

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User Reviews

A brilliant film
28 March 2002 | by (Northampton) – See all my reviews

Judi Dench's performance as Dame Iris Murdoch was not only flawless, pitch-perfect, and deeply moving, but it was also the performance of a lifetime. The Academy was ridiculous in overlooking her lost gazes, her subtle inflections in voice, her trembling hands, her puzzled mouth. Kate Winslet lost herself inside the young Iris, developing an entirely new set of facial expressions and voice tones. The movie accurately captures the intense passion for life and love that John Bayley describes in his novel, "Elegy For Iris." Altogether, a brilliant film, concise, humurous, terribly sad--and enhanced by four brilliant performances.

41 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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