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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.

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

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Cast

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

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

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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:

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Details

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Release Date:

10 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La duquesa  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

£13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,402,200 (UK) (5 September 2008)

Gross:

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

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Tuscan red zone-front gown worn by Keira Knightley (known as the "Drunken Dress") had to be made in triplicate due to a stunt scripted for the scene. The costume required 36 meters of silk total for the three gowns, with green and gold lace applied by hand to each one. See more »

Goofs

Althorp Estate, Georgiana's childhood home (shown in the exterior shots of the foot race at the beginning of the film), was originally a red brick building. Red brick went out of style in the 1780's, at which point the entire building was altered with mathematical tile nailed onto the original red brick to give it its current gray exterior. At the time of Georgiana's marriage to the Duke in 1774, the building would still have been red brick as the architectural work started in 1788. The current Earl Spencer (Princess Diana's brother) had the mathematical tiles redone for a cool $8-9 million as many of the original nails used had rusted away, at which point the original red brick used for Althorp was also ruined. See more »

Quotes

Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire: [to a crowd of her adoring public at Bath regaled with a large plume on her hat] We come away to Bath to get away from London, and all of London has come away to Bath.
[laughter from the audience]
Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire: Somebody did indeed ask me what kind of feather it is I'm wearing. Well, there are only two specimins of this rare bird known to man. One of them has clearly ended up on top of my head, and the other - rumor has it he's running for office in the Tory Party.
[More laughter]
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Un Moto Di Gioia
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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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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