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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 57,733 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


Based On The Incredible True Story 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?


Paramount Vantage bought the film for $7 million (US dollars) before production even began. See more »


In the last scene with the kids running around the fountain. Fountains have been created for hundreds of years running on gravity, not electricity. For example, the Trevi fountain in Rome was completed in 1762, and the Emperor Fountain at Chatsworth was completed by Joseph Paxton in 1844. See more »


Charles Fox: Today we have won the vote. Tomorrow we define the future.
See more »


Featured in The Orange British Academy Film Awards (2009) See more »


Affettuoso from Trio Sonata in A Minor
Written by Georg Philipp Telemann
Arranged by Rick Wentworth
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A good story beautifully filmed and with fine performances - especially from Keira Knightly.
11 September 2008 | by (Sheffield, England.) – See all my reviews

I came away from the cinema after seeing The Duchess feeling I had had my consciousness of what life must have been like for the aristocracy of 18th century England dramatically raised (both literally and metaphorically). The story of Georgiana's marriage unfolds by subtle degrees amidst the most sumptuous of interiors and landscaped gardens - all beautifully filmed and realistically recreated. Apart from the main characters, there appear a rich selection of characters from neighbouring strata of society - aristocrats, political activists, servants and children (as babies and older) both legitimate and illegitimate - all of whom contribute to weaving the screenplay into an immensely fascinating narrative. I was already a fan of both Keira Knightly and Ralph Fiennes before seeing The Duchess, so I was pleased to find that their performances were well up to - and in the case of Ms Knightly even surpassing - my expectations. Even those who aren't normally 'into' period dramas (like me) should, I feel sure, find much to appreciate in this excellent film.

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