7 user 2 critic

Lease of Life (1954)

Approved | | Drama | 1 December 1955 (Portugal)
The parson of a small rural community knows he is dying and this makes him reconsider his life so far and what he can still do to help the community.


Charles Frend


Frank Baker (adapted from a story by), Patrick Jenkins (from an idea by) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Donat ... William Thorne
Kay Walsh ... Vera Thorne
Adrienne Corri ... Susan Thorne
Denholm Elliott ... Martin Blake
Walter Fitzgerald ... The Dean
Cyril Raymond ... The Headmaster
Reginald Beckwith ... Foley
Robert Sandford Robert Sandford ... The Boy with the Book
Frank Atkinson Frank Atkinson ... Verger
Alan Webb ... Dr. Pembury
Richard Wattis ... The Solicitor
Frederick Piper Frederick Piper ... The Jeweller
Vida Hope Vida Hope ... Mrs. Sproatley
Beckett Bould Beckett Bould ... Sproatley
Richard Leech ... Carter


The parson of a small rural community knows he is dying and this makes him reconsider his life so far and what he can still do to help the community.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dying | See All (1) »


Mr. Robert Donat enchants the unenchanted...beguiles the bedevilled...and just plain delights you - with that "GOODBYE MR. CHIPS" touch - sprinkled with laughter in a light cinematic refreshment... See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Early on in the film, when Reverend William Thorne (Robert Donat) and his wife in the vicarage, they are discussing a book being returned to them. It's a copy of The 39 Steps (by John Buchan). Robert Donat (Rev Thorne) played Hannay in Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 film of The 39 Steps. See more »


When the the vicar's daughter leaves by train for an interview in London, the train leaves from an open through platform, but when she returns the train pulls into a mainline terminus station. See more »


William Thorne: I think that was the first time in my life that I've preached to any effect.
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References The 39 Steps (1935) See more »


Trumpet Voluntary
Music by Jeremiah Clarke
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User Reviews

A useful life
8 May 2016 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The very frailty of Robert Donat who suffered from asthma his entire life was never more in evidence than in Lease Of Life. In this film Donat plays a country vicar as if Mr. Chips had decided to take up the ministry.

The very title of the film says in no uncertain terms we do not own life itself. It's something we're granted a lease on and it's up to us to try and do as much as we can for ourselves, our families, and for the whole of life itself.

Donat knows something that no one else does that his lease on his capacity to breathe may get terminated very soon. What he's determined to do is make his life count in every conceivable way. With an invitation to speak at an Eton like prep school's graduation he gets such an opportunity and a bit of notoriety as well.

Domestically Donat's major problem is putting together enough money for his daughter Adrienne Corri's musical education. She's a piano prodigy, but the living that a country parson has might not be sufficient to pay her way. That leads wife Kay Walsh to do something very stupid out of her concern.

Lease Of Life is a gentle film about the life of an Anglican parson in a country village. No frills, no outrageous characters as one normally gets in an Ealing film. The people are quite real with all the strengths, foibles, and weaknesses we all have.

Most of all it has Robert Donat and given that his health limited his film work the chance to see him at all should never be missed.

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Release Date:

1 December 1955 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

De pastorie van Hinton See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Gaumont Kalee) (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Eastman Colour)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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