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The Duchess (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  10 October 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 57,716 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 137 user | 193 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

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 »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Medwin ...
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


There were three people in her marriage 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
See  »

Did You Know?


Costume designer Michael O'Connor based the blue "Fox uniform" ensemble worn by Keira Knightley in the whig political rally scene on portraits and political cartoons of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, that were made in the late 18th century. See more »


When Mr. Grey and the Duchess meet by the lake (where they give their first kiss), the Duchess' hairdo is complimented with a rose above her right ear, which, according to the camera angle, is covered/not covered by her hood. See more »


Charles Grey: Good people of Westminster! The world is on the brink of disaster or salvation. From France to America, men and women are struggling to free themselves, to find meaning in their existence. Change is upon us!
See more »


Referenced in About a Boy: About Total Exuberance (2014) See more »


German Dance No. 10 in D Major from Twelve German Dances
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Arranged by Rick Wentworth
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A great period piece, Kiera pulls in a fantastic performance
12 November 2008 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

I couldn't wait for The Duchess, I am just a huge fan of period pieces and Kiera Knightly is becoming a fantastic actress in this genre. I was looking forward to this film mainly because I studied Georgina a little bit in college for my history class and I always thought she was such an elegant and strong woman that stood out from the others. She was like the Madonna of her day, she had a great sense of style, self, and strength. While the movie is not completely accurate, it still was a fine movie to watch. Kiera truly held her own as Georgina and was absolutely stunning. One of the underlining stories that I appreciate in this film is the battle of the sexes. Ralph Fiennes who plays the Duke of Devonshire does a fantastic job as well and he plays this anti-villain, shows the true side of the pain and pressure men felt but how they looked at women as nothing but property. This story truly touches you and makes you grateful for our present day.

Georgina is born into a high class family of royalty who is about to be married off to the Duke of Devonshire and everything seems great, G is going to live the high life of class, culture, and being a lady of the people. She comes across the price though: her husband's affairs that are practically rubbed in her face, her life is constantly watched and judged by people, she must be perfect at all times to keep up her reputation as a joyful lady, she is forced to be the mother of the duke's child from an affair he had, as well as she cannot birth a son for the Duke and he will find every opportunity to rub it in her face. All this and Georgina has found another love who she cannot give her heart to fully for the love of her children and people.

The Duchess is a fine film that I truly enjoyed. I wouldn't be surprised if Kiera was nominated for best actress during the academy season. I would highly recommend this movie, especially for the period piece lovers. Like I said, this film makes you appreciate what we have today in our modern society and truly makes you feel for the pressures both men and women had to face in that day. Georgina is a figure that I think is very looked over in history when she is one of the strongest presences in England's history. The Duchess, even though not entirely accurate, does a very good job of telling her story and was a pleasure to watch.


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