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Dean Spanley (2008)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 12 December 2008 (UK)
2:40 | Trailer

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Set in Edwardian England where upper lips are always stiff and men from the Colonies are not entirely to be trusted, Fisk Senior has little time or affection for his son, but when the pair visit an eccentric Indian, they start a strange journey that eventually allows the old man to find his heart.



, (novel) (as Baron Dunsany)
7 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nawab of Ranjiput
Harrington Fisk
1st Lady
Angela Clerkin ...
2nd Lady
Shaughan Seymour ...
Wine Shop Proprietor
Charlotte Graham ...
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Haydon Downing ...
Boy in Cloisters
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Each Thursday, a man approaching middle age calls upon his father, aged, caustic, nihilistic, and emotionally distant, perhaps from the loss of a son in the Boer War and his wife soon after. On this day, the son suggests they attend a visiting guru's lecture on the transmigration of souls. There they chat with a vicar and a soldier of fortune; dinner follows. Over glasses of Hungarian Tokay, the vicar, Dean Spanley, tells a story of friendship, freedom, and reincarnation. In what earthly way could this tale connect father and son? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From the classic novel by Lord Dunsany See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some thematic material and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

12 December 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Il magnifico Spanley  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£42,898 (United Kingdom), 14 December 2008, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Peter O'Toole said the use of comedy to explore the relationship between a father and son was part of what attracted him to the film. He remarked: "All of us had difficult familial relationships. I think it's a film for all of us who understand the relationship between a father and son. It's been interesting watching various members of the crew looking at the monitors during scenes. They come up to me then and say "I had the same thing with my father." See more »


Fisk Senior: There's no point to regretting things that have gone to the trouble of happening
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Sally Gardens
Performed by Miriama McDowell
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User Reviews

Superb, unique and immensely pleasurable
24 January 2013 | by See all my reviews

Dean Spanley is delightful, warm, and deeply affecting. It deals with timeless topics, while recreating a rich bygone atmosphere. To hear the repartee of the four principles is priceless. The language is sparklingly literate, precise and urbane, and the choice of words and turns of phrase actually sensual to those who have a love of companionable conversation.

The incomparable Peter O'Toole at the peak of his mastery, Jeremy Northam, Sam Neill, and Bryan Brown weave an immersive presentation of pure acting talent such as is seldom seen. And it is set up by top-notch writing, exquisite sets and beautiful cinematography and costuming.

Mr. O'Toole can match the very best acting in cinematic history using only his eyes

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