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Brideshead Revisited (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  15 August 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 9,452 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 92 user | 131 critic | 32 from

A poignant story of forbidden love and the loss of innocence set in England prior to the Second World War.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Morrison ...
David Barrass ...
Ship's Barber
Anna Madeley ...
Lady Guest
Stephen Carlile ...
English Lord
Peter Barnes ...
American Professor
Richard Teverson ...
Roger Walker ...
Mark Edel-Hunt ...
Oxford Student


WWII. Charles Ryder, in his civilian life, rose out of his middle class London background, which includes being an atheist and having a distant relationship with his eccentric father, to become an up and coming artist. He is currently an army officer, who is stationed at a makeshift camp set up at Brideshead estate before imminently getting shipped into battle. The locale, which is not unfamiliar to him, makes him reminisce about what ended up being his doomed relationship with Brideshead's owners, the Flytes, an ostentatiously wealthy family. Charles first met Sebastian Flyte when they both were students at Oxford, where Sebastian surprisingly welcomed Charles into his circle of equally wealthy, somewhat stuck up and flamboyant friends. Charles ended up getting caught up in Sebastian's family struggles, where Sebastian used excessive alcohol to deal with the pain resulting from his family relationships. Although Charles and Sebastian were more than just friends, Charles ultimately ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Love is not ours to control See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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Release Date:

15 August 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Regreso a Brideshead  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$339,616 (USA) (25 July 2008)


£874,658 (UK) (10 October 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After Charles "betrays" Sebastian in Venice, there is a shot of an altarpiece in an Italian church, with a depiction of the "Martyrdom of St. Sebastian." You can identify him by the arrows protruding from his body. See more »


The water taxi that Charles, Sebastian and Julia take to Lord Marchmain's palazzo in Venice was built post-1960s. All Venetian water taxis before this were of solid wood construction, but the one used for filming is clearly of "cold-molded" construction, as one can readily see by the diagonal strips of veneer on the hull; something unknown before the advent of resin laid-up veneer hulls in the 1970s. See more »


Sebastian Flyte: I asked too much of you. I knew it all along, really. Only God can give you that sort of love.
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 26 July 2008 (2008) See more »


With the Rumba Playing
Music & Lyrics by Terry Davies
Violin by Chris Garrick
Guitar by John Etheridge
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Nice try, but some originals can never be equaled, let alone surpassed
16 January 2009 | by (Iceland) – See all my reviews

Every once in a few decades something like Brideshead comes along. No wonder anyone would want to try to relive that magic! So now there is Brideshead the movie. That means the director had to grasp the original TV show in two hours, so no other choice than a 'The Best Of' compilation remains, it seems.The disadvantage of it is, that what is left out suddenly becomes painfully missing.

All of us who have watched the TV series know it is virtually impossible to surpass it, in film or TV production. Nevertheless, I tried to watch it without prejudice. Overall not a bad movie, but no, not the magical resonance the original had.

All I can do is summarize in details the pluses and minuses of the film versus the TV production so here it goes:

The fathers from original were two of the best actors of the century; John Geilgud (Shakespeare) and the (incomparable) Laurence Olivier. Geilgud plays brilliantly the teasing but not totally indifferent father, who seems stop Charles from the insipid surroundings in the summer but finally lets him go. In the TV series the actor is more serious, and the fun is not there. Laurence had probably one of the best performances of all, and clearly echoes his naughtiness as he portrayed in A Little Romance then a few years earlier. His unpredictability which finally makes him decide for his daughter is well done, especially considered his playground was virtually no more than a static death bed! And then the scene where he is offered a ride in a car down the steps, which he refuses since he doesn't want to admit it might be his last.

Matthew Goode does quite a good job as a substitute of Jeremy Irons. I like especially his ambivalent apparition (homosexual, heterosexual, both, or doesn't it matter?). But he lacks the wonderful narrating voice of Irons, which research has shown to be one of the best around. In the film the romance between Charles and Sebastian's sister is elaborated much more. Partially I agree with this choice. In the original not enough scenes were implanted for credibility, except probably the scene where Charles lights her cigarette. They were virtually strangers meeting again on the cruiser years later and nevertheless they seemed to suddenly hit it off. The sister was not what stood Charles' and Sebastian's friendship in the way. The filmmakers choose for more stress on their impending romance. I think the TV original did this better; it was the family that Charles became part of, and Sebastian's indifference to love that became unsurpassable problems. In original the mother was almost invisible, with the exception of some quotes on her son like 'I don't understand it', which summed it all up. We do not need the dialog in the film where she explains herself, and wonders why her kids hate her. Understatement is much more powerful, also in the scene 'I'll say no more' between Charles and Julia, in which it becomes clear religion has driven them apart. One sentence can be enough.

All this was at the cost of stress Sebastian could have had, and got in the TV original. Most of the magic of Brideshead was simply Anthony Andrews' performance. Worse, the movie clearly alludes to a homosexual relationship, which it did not need to be. Sebastian was a love object, and could be loved by anyone, in any way. But then again, it might be hard finding someone that could deliver the line about Sebastian as Irons narrated: 'his beauty, arresting'. Charm was the problem, the danger. That missed in this film. It was charm that nearly got Charles astray, as told by the queer friend years later in his atelier. The film omitted this important scene, where that friend tried to warn Charles for Sebastian. At the time we all thought it was a nasty remark, but later on he seemed to be right. Or was the charm not an illusion after all? The film simply did not have enough time to build up the charm Sebastian surely had in the TV original. In the TV series Charles was shown first with boring friends, and it then became shortly a coming of age story, where he got introduced in a more fun crowd with Sebastian. This phase delivered some of the best scenes of the story, with his queer friend talking loud over the campus, or Sebastian dressing up as a man with mustache. Sebastian showed Charles other worlds, which real or not, were unforgettable. The film had to rush this too much, and therefore the introduction scene with the spring eggs lost its magic.

One of the few pluses was much less stress on Cordelia, the little girl. But the minus was she acted as an indirect narrator of the importance of religion. Now it had to be compensated for in dialog with the mother and Julia, which was in TV better since there meaning came out of things not said.

Many things I missed, but you can not cram all in two hours. But lines like 'I would like to remember Sebastian, how he were that summer, when we walked through the enchanted place' should have been told again.

The end was nicely done, with Charles finally not pinching candlelight, symbolic for the charm of that family that was still alive in him. I liked there the Irons narrative though 'Was it all vanity? Etc.'

I would say, it was a brave attempt, something like making a remake of 2001, or Casablanca or Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the acting was all well done. Also camera work, and story adaptation. But who can surpass Anthony Andrews, or Jeremy Irons, or Gielgud or Olivier?

12 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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I loved it more than the mini-series to be honest Dr_Funkmaster
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