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The Duchess (2008)

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A chronicle of the life of 18th century aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who was reviled for her extravagant political and personal life.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
3,048 ( 115)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Medwin ...
Calvin Dean ...
Devonshire House Servant
Hannah Stokely ...
Devonshire House Maid


Georgiana Spencer became Duchess of Devonshire on her marriage to the Duke in 1774, at the height of the Georgian period, a period of fashion, decadence, and political change. Spirited and adored by the public at large she quickly found her marriage to be a disappointment, defined by her duty to produce a male heir and the Duke's philandering and callous indifference to her. She befriends Lady Bess but finds she is once again betrayed by her husband who wields his power with the three eventually living uncomfortably together. Against this background, and with the pressures of an unfaithful husband, strict social pressures and constant public scrutiny, Georgiana falls passionately in love with Charles Grey, a rising young Whig politician. However, despite his ongoing liaison with Lady Bess, the Duke refuses to allow her to continue the affair and threatens to take her children from her. Written by johnno.r[at]xtra.co.nz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The scandal that shocked a nation. The courage that defined a woman. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief nudity and thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

10 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La duquesa  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


£13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,402,200 (UK) (5 September 2008)


$13,823,741 (USA) (5 December 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Hayley Atwell and Dominic Cooper also star in Captain America (2011) and Agent Carter (2015) See more »


During the scene where Georgiana introduces her daughters to Bess a couple walking a black and white dog walk past. They are then seen further along the river before disappearing from the shot. They then pass in front of the camera again at the end of the scene. See more »


Duke of Devonshire: I know that you've never thought much of my manners or my itellect, G. But in fact, I never do anything that serves no purpose.
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »


Menuetto from String Quartet No. 12 in B Flat Major
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

ignore the critics, the duchess is spellbinding
14 September 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

After reading copious amounts of mediocre reviews for "The duchess", I wasn't expecting much from this film. However, from the first scene I was utterly absorbed.

The film isn't "just another period drama", it is an absolutely beautiful and heart-rendering tale of the tribulations faced by Georgian woman. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who although is the key character in the film (as you can probably infer from the title), represents the situation of all woman belonging to a patriarchal society, not just the aristocracy.

Keira knightly is exemplary in this role. Her facial expression tells more than a script ever could. I enjoyed her performance in "atonement" but this was in a whole new league. Ralph Fiennes was also excellent. My best advice is to ignore the critics and come to your own conclusion. My only negative criticism was the rapidity with which Georgiana bonded so intimately with Bess. However, I don't know enough about the social context of the time to really make a judgement.

All in all, a deeply moving tale that shouldn't be neglected.

122 of 180 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The Duke..? MariexxCore
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