7.3/10
13,824
79 user 67 critic

Tess (1979)

A strong-willed young peasant girl attracts the affection of two men.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writers:

Gérard Brach (screenplay), Roman Polanski (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Won 3 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Collin John Collin ... John Durbeyfield
Tony Church Tony Church ... Parson Tringham
Nastassja Kinski ... Tess (as Nastassia Kinski)
Brigid Erin Bates Brigid Erin Bates ... Girl in meadow
Jeanne Biras Jeanne Biras ... Girl in meadow
Peter Firth ... Angel Clare
John Bett John Bett ... Felix Clare
Tom Chadbon ... Cuthbert Clare
Rosemary Martin Rosemary Martin ... Mrs. Durbeyfield
Geraldine Arzul Geraldine Arzul ... Child
Stephanie Treille Stephanie Treille ... Child
Elodie Warnod Elodie Warnod ... Child
Ben Reeks Ben Reeks ... Child
Jack Stephens Jack Stephens ... Man in Tavern
Leigh Lawson ... Alec d'Urberville
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Storyline

Wessex County, England during the Victorian era. Christian values dominate what are social mores. These mores and her interactions with two men play a large part in what happens in the young life of peasant girl, the shy, innocent, proper yet proud Tess Durbeyfield. The first of these men is Alec d'Urberville. After learning from a local historian that they are really descendants of the aristocratic d'Urberville family which has died out due to lack of male heirs, Tess' parents send her to a nearby mansion where they know some d'Urbervilles actually reside. This move is in order for the family to gain some benefit from their heritage. Upon her arrival at the mansion, Tess quickly learns that the family of Tess' "cousin" Alec are not true d'Urbervilles, but rather an opportunistic lot who bought the family name in order to improve their own standing in life. Tess is pulled between what she was sent to accomplish for her family against her general disdain for Alec, who will give her ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She was born into a world where they called it seduction, not rape. What she did would shatter that world forever. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Egy tiszta nő See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$20,093,330

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,101,247
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD) | (re-issue) | (original)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This Roman Polanski film won the same amount of Academy Awards as his later movie The Pianist (2002) with both pictures winning three Oscars. Polanski's vision for Tess (1979) was for the film to reflect an ancient peasant culture, which he witnessed during the Second World War in Poland after escaping from the Kraków Ghetto, something which is the subject of The Pianist (2002). See more »

Goofs

When Tess and Angel break in to the house when on the run, the mic boom pole is reflected in the door beside the broken glass panel Angel had just forced. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John Durbeyfield: Good night, t'ee.
Parson Tringham: Good night, Sir John.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was first released to German cinemas uncut with a running time of 184 minutes. As the audience reaction was far from overwhelming the distributor decided to re-cut and re-release the film in a more "accessible" 134 minutes version. But at least one of the original prints had survived and was shown here at the local art house years later. See more »

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User Reviews

Why dont they make them like this anymore?
17 July 2001 | by AdamprestonSee all my reviews

I saw Tess as a teenager and the images and emotions have lingered with me ever since. I remembered Natasia Kinski as Tess being tempted with a strawberry by her cad of a cousin, the subtlety of showing a murder by just having the tiniest spot of blood appear on the ceiling below, the powerful poetry of the final scene at Stonehenge... I have just watched the film again and it was even better than I remembered. I will go to my grave being in love with Kinski in this role! I had forgotten also what a perfect performance Peter Firth gives as Angel Clair, and the apparent authenticity of life in rural Victorian England. Perhaps what is most extraordinary is the leisurely pace at which the story is told. Shots linger on the countryside after characters have said their lines and moved off. many sequences exist entirely to build up to a single glance or gesture. Altogether Tess is a superb lesson in story telling and one of the truly great movies of all


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