7.6/10
4,295
62 user 34 critic

A Canterbury Tale (1944)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Mystery | 21 January 1949 (USA)
Three modern day pilgrims investigate a bizarre crime in a small town on the way to Canterbury.
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young Englishwoman goes to the Hebrides to marry her older, wealthier fiancé. When the weather keeps them separated on different islands, she begins to have second thoughts.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook
Hour of Glory (1949)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps on Britain in 1943, the embittered expert who'll have to disarm them fights a private battle with alcohol.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Farrar, Jack Hawkins, Kathleen Byron
Fantasy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A melancholy poet reflects on three women he loved and lost in the past: a mechanical performing doll, a Venetian courtesan, and the consumptive daughter of a celebrated composer.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Moira Shearer, Robert Rounseville, Ludmilla Tchérina
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A World War II U-boat crew are stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When Nazi anti-aircraft fire damages a British bomber, its crew bails out and seeks help from the Dutch underground.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Godfrey Tearle, Eric Portman, Hugh Williams
Night Ambush (1957)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Led by British officers, partisans on Crete plan to kidnap the island's German commander and smuggle him to Cairo to embarrass the occupiers.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Marius Goring, David Oxley
Gone to Earth (1950)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A beautiful, superstitious, animal-loving Gypsy is hotly desired by a fox-hunting squire...even after she marries a clergyman.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack
The Red Shoes (1948)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Moira Shearer
Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A German submarine is sent to the Orkney Isles in 1917 to sink the British fleet.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Sebastian Shaw
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Portman ... Thomas Colpeper, JP
Sheila Sim ... Alison Smith
Dennis Price ... Peter Gibbs
John Sweet ... Bob Johnson (as Sergt. John Sweet U.S. Army)
Esmond Knight ... Narrator (non-US versions) / Seven-Sisters Soldier / Village Idiot
Charles Hawtrey ... Thomas Duckett
Hay Petrie Hay Petrie ... Woodcock
George Merritt ... Ned Horton
Edward Rigby ... Jim Horton
Freda Jackson ... Prudence Honeywood
Betty Jardine Betty Jardine ... Fee Baker
Eliot Makeham ... Organist
Harvey Golden Harvey Golden ... Sergt. Roczinsky
Leonard Smith Leonard Smith ... Leslie
James Tamsitt James Tamsitt ... Terry
Edit

Storyline

A 'Land Girl', an American GI, and a British soldier find themselves together in a small Kent town on the road to Canterbury. The town is being plagued by a mysterious "glue-man", who pours glue on the hair of girls dating soldiers after dark. The three attempt to track him down, and begin to have suspicions of the local magistrate, an eccentric figure with a strange, mystical vision of the history of England in general and Canterbury in particular. Written by David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A modern story of an American in England See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Mystery | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 January 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Canterbury mesék See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$650,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The cathedral bells seen in the opening and closing shots were a miniature replica of Canterbury's Bell Harry Tower to allow the camera to track up to and through them. The bells were "rung" by bell ringers from the Cathedral, who pulled the strings with finger and thumb to a playback of the real bells. See more »

Quotes

Sergt. Roczinsky: Hey, let's have some tea first, huh?
Bob Johnson: That stuff?
Sergt. Roczinsky: Sure; it's a habit, like marijuana.
Bob Johnson: I'll take marijuana.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Bond of Friendship
(uncredited)
Written by John MacKenzie Rogan
March played by the military band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Very good!
12 October 2002 | by zetesSee all my reviews

A wonderful film, as you might expect, from the cinema's greatest directorial duo. It's unique in mood and pace amongst the many Archers films that I've seen. The others move at a brisk pace, going from one plot element to the next. No harm in that, of course. It works very well for films like One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, I Know Where I'm Going!, A Matter of Life and Death and the others. A Canterbury Tale, on the other hand, stops and smells the roses as it leisurely - and semi-plotlessly - strolls through the English countryside on the trail to Canterbury Cathedral. Three young people, an American G.I. named Bob Johnson (Seargant John Sweet), a British soldier, Peter Gibbs (Dennis Price), and a young woman from London, Alison Smith (Sheila Sim), moving to the countryside for work. The all arrive in the small town of Kent on the same train, and they walk together trying to find the hotel. An assailant pops out of nowhere in the impenetrable dark and throws glue all over Alison's hair. Over the next few days they look for "the Glueman." The film doesn't always work, especially concerning the Glueman subplot, which almost seems like it is the plot for most of the movie. The investigation and solution are the weakest scenes in the film. But there are dozens of gorgeous sequences within the film. I especially love the sequence with the children playing war. The film gets especially good during its extended finale, where the three (actually four) main characters go to Canterbury, and their pilgrimages pay off. The three leads are excellent. The fourth main character, the magistrate of Kent, Thomas Colpeper (Eric Portman), is the weakest and I'd just rather forget his role in the film myself. Perhaps he will work better in subsequent viewings. The best aspect of the film is its top shelf cinematography, maybe the best black and white that I've seen from the Archers. A lot of the scenes take place, ingeniously, in total darkness. These work so much better than imaginable! 9/10.


40 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 62 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed