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Brief Encounter (1945)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 24 August 1946 (USA)
3:04 | Trailer
Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband.


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





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 ... Dolly Messiter
Marjorie Mars Marjorie Mars ... Mary Norton
Margaret Barton Margaret Barton ... Beryl Walters - Tea Room Assistant


At a café on a railway station, housewife Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) meets Dr. Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard). 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


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


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The production drew extras from the area around Carnforth. Those involved were particularly pleased to enjoy the dinner provided each night, which included sweets and other items restricted by wartime rationing. See more »


Near the beginning of the film, Laura's husband refers to a Symphony concert he once took her to. Later, Laura tells Alec that her husband is not musical. Obviously, she meant that he played no instruments, not that he did not enjoy music. See more »


Dr. Alec Harvey: Would you mind, very much, if I came to the pictures with you?
Laura Jesson: Well, eh...
Dr. Alec Harvey: I could sit downstairs and you could sit upstairs.
Laura Jesson: Upstairs is too expensive.
See more »


Referenced in Blankety Blank: Episode #7.13 (1984) See more »


March Militaire
Music by Franz Schubert
(Performed by James Whitebread on Wurlitzer organ at the Metropole Cinema. Mimed by the organist at the Palladium)
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User Reviews

A Romantic's Vision Is A Romance Beyond Belief
19 February 2007 | by Det_McNultySee all my reviews

Sir David Lean has left a genuine mark on cinema; he remains one of the most renowned and most celebrated directors in cinema. Some argue that he is the finest British director of all-time. He is a director who has made some of the finest classics ever, including the likes of, Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Oliver Twist. That is just to name a few, yet people always forget the outstanding and underrated delight, Brief Encounter.

Brief Encounter is a momentary story, however a film of which generations of film aficionados and the average film-viewer hold dear to their hearts. It was one of David Lean's first films and remains one of the most "British" films of all-time. It follows the story of Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) who by chance meets Dr. Alec Harvey (legendary British actor Trevor Howard) and it quickly becomes obvious that they have fallen in love, which swiftly develops into a full-blown affair. The film remains sympathetic towards the two main characters, both actors wonderfully act out the guilt they feel for deceiving their marriages. Yet, the both of them can not retain from showing their love for one another; the film revolves around the infamous set-piece of a train station and tea-room.

Brief Encounter was a highly controversial film upon release, even becoming banned in Ireland. Some may wonder why a film like Brief Encounter was controversial, there's no questionable content whatsoever and there is not one single explicit scene in film. Yet, the film does hold a beautiful sexual tension and shows sums up the "guilt-ridden love" which the protagonists feel for one another.

Brief Encounter is beautifully shot, evenly paced and forcefully depressing, while remaining beautifully layered in charm and wit. The characters are splendidly scripted and then crafted with elegance. Brief Encounter is a film that has prowess; a classic piece of film-making and a film that has "classic" written all over it. Brief Encounter is heart wrenchingly honest when showing emotion and being open on the phrase "love is a force beyond the power of nature". Brief Encounter is bittersweet and poignant, without being soppy, sloppy or over-sentimental.

Brief Encounter is a film that even today gets hailed as a classic of British cinema. It is also certainly a film in which the British Film Institute and British public hold dear to their classic cinema traditions. A highly recommended film and a romance that beats the cheesy, modern-day blockbuster romances, of which the market is horribly cluttered with.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | French

Release Date:

24 August 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brief Encounter See more »


Box Office


GBP170,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cineguild See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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