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Brief Encounter (1945)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 24 August 1946 (USA)
Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband.

Director:

David Lean
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Celia Johnson ... Laura Jesson
Trevor Howard ... Dr. Alec Harvey
Stanley Holloway ... Albert Godby
Joyce Carey ... Myrtle Bagot
Cyril Raymond ... Fred Jesson
Everley Gregg Everley Gregg ... Dolly Messiter
Marjorie Mars Marjorie Mars ... Mary Norton
Margaret Barton Margaret Barton ... Beryl Walters - Tea Room Assistant
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Storyline

At a café on a railway station, housewife Laura Jesson meets doctor Alec Harvey. Although they are both already married, they gradually fall in love with each other. They continue to meet every Thursday in the small café, although they know that their love is impossible. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1940s | love | train | shopping | housewife | See All (29) »

Taglines:

A story of the most precious moments in woman's life! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 August 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Begegnung See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£170,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cineguild See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Carnforth Station had a ramp leading up to the train platform. David Lean thought it would be more effective for the actors to be running up the ramp to catch their trains and that running up steps might have made them look ridiculous. See more »

Goofs

Laura runs through a downpour but is dry when she walks into the refreshment room. See more »

Quotes

Laura Jesson: [Secret thoughts] We were very gay during lunch and talked about quite ordinary things.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Liver Birds: Love Is (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

March Militaire
(uncredited)
Music by Franz Schubert
(Performed by James Whitebread on Wurlitzer organ at the Metropole Cinema. Mimed by the organist at the Palladium)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Ignore That First Review. This Is A Classic
30 December 2003 | by gbtbagSee all my reviews

The person who wrote the first review of this movie must be either a complete moron or has an acute lack of appreciation for what constitutes great moviemaking.

"Brief Encounter" is the perfect encapsulation of a very specific time in both women's and British history. The immediate post-WW 2 era in the UK was a period that saw Brits struggling with the disppearance of traditional social mores that had endured for over a century and the new world order that came about at the conclusion of the war. (For another, beautifully crafted cinematic example, see Neil Jordan's exquisite movie "The End of the Affair.")

Food rationing was still in place in postwar Britain. Women were having to deal with getting to know their menfolk again, after their years of absence at war. Like their American "Rosie the Riveter" counterparts, British women had enjoyed newfound and unfamiliar independence during wartime, working for the war effort. And, like their US "sisters", they were expected to relinquish those jobs to returning men.

"Brief Encounter" is, in many ways, a metaphor for the struggle that men and women were going through, stuck with having to conform to social expectations while bursting to escape to the greater independence glimpsed fleetingly and pleasurably during the war, when everything and everyone were turned upside down.

Being the work of Noel Coward, that master observer of and commentator on English manners, "Brief Encounter" frames this struggle as a torrid love story bubbling under the surface of British reserve, which demands maintaining appearances at all costs, regardless of the personal pain involved.

This passionate pair, who never even exchange a kiss, are constrained and ultimately kept apart by expectations--of their families, of their social positions, of Great Britain.

When Alec puts his hand on Laura's shoulder at their final, unexpectedly truncated meeting in the station snack bar/waiting room, it's as erotic and far more touching than just about every sex scene you'll see in movies.

The first reviewer completely missed the point and the relevance of this movie in film history and, especially, in British cinema history.


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