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Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit.



(novel), (screenplay)
960 ( 63)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 49 wins & 145 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ailidh Mackay ...
Singing Housemaid
Julia West ...
Emily Tallis
Felix von Simson ...
Pierrot Quincey (as Felix Von Simson)
Charlie von Simson ...
Jackson Quincey (as Charlie Von Simson)
Danny Hardman
Leon Tallis
Leander Deeny ...
Police Constable


SPOILER: When Briony Tallis, 13 years old and an aspiring writer, sees her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner at the fountain in front of the family estate she misinterprets what is happening thus setting into motion a series of misunderstandings and a childish pique that will have lasting repercussions for all of them. Robbie is the son of a family servant toward whom the family has always been kind. They paid for his time at Cambridge and now he plans on going to medical school. After the fountain incident, Briony reads a letter intended for Cecilia and concludes that Robbie is a deviant. When her cousin Lola is raped, she tells the police that it was Robbie she saw committing the deed. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Joined by love. Separated by fear. Redeemed by hope. See more »


Drama | Mystery | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing war images, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |



Release Date:

11 January 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Expiación, deseo y pecado  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,634,065 (UK) (7 September 2007)


$50,921,738 (USA) (4 April 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Shooting the five minute Dunkirk beach scene was arguably the toughest portion of shooting. The shooting schedule dictated that the scene must be completed in two days, because the crew has limited time with the 1,000 extras. However the location scouts report indicated the lighting quality at the beach was not good enough until the afternoon of the second day. This forced director Joe Wright to change his shooting strategy into shooting with one camera. The scene was rehearsed on the first day and on the morning of the second day. The scene required five takes and the third take was used in the film. On shooting, Steadicam operator Peter Robertson shot the scene by riding on a small tracking vehicle, walking off to a bandstand after rounding a boat, moved to a ramp, stepped onto a rickshaw, finally dismounting and moving past the pier into a bar. See more »


When Briony walks in on Cecelia and Robbie in the library from Briony's perspective, there is a shadow of a boom visible off in the distance behind her before she enters the room. See more »


[first lines]
Briony Tallis, aged 13: I finished my play.
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Crazy Credits

The title types itself out like on a typewriter. See more »


Referenced in Conan: The Mayan 'Dilbert Cartoon-a-Day' Calendar (2012) See more »


Miss You
Written by Charles Tobias, Harry Tobias, Henry H. Tobias (as Henry Tobias)
Performed by Bud Flanagan (as Flanagan) and Chesney Allen (as Allen)
Courtesy of The Decca Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Operations Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Best adaptation of a novel ever!
5 March 2008 | by (Mexico City) – See all my reviews

I usually don't like watching novels turned into movies (specially when I liked the novel as much as I liked McEwan's "Atonement") but this was a really pleasant surprise. The plot is extraordinarily well adapted, leaving out what cannot possibly be included in a two-hour film, changing very few details to translate literary language to cinematographic language but sticking to the essence and the spirit of the novel.

I really believe that if you enjoyed McEwan's novel, you will fall for this beautiful film. If you have never read McEwan, you will fall for the intriguing and thrilling story written by this wonderful English novelist.

Please, don't miss this one!

53 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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