7.3/10
8,280
43 user 38 critic

The Draughtsman's Contract (1982)

A young artist is commissioned by the wife of a wealthy landowner to make a series of drawings of the estate while her husband is away.

Director:

Peter Greenaway

Writer:

Peter Greenaway
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Twin zoologists lose their wives in a car accident and become obsessed with decomposing animals.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Brian Deacon, Eric Deacon, Andréa Ferréol
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three generations of women all share the same problem: marriage woes, and they want to put an end to it.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Bernard Hill, Joan Plowright, Juliet Stevenson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An architect supervising an exhibition starts to have mysterious stomach pains while his life slowly falls apart.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Brian Dennehy, Chloe Webb, Lambert Wilson
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The magician Prospero attempts to stop his daughter's affair with an enemy.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: John Gielgud, Michael Clark, Michel Blanc
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The wife of an abusive criminal finds solace in the arms of a kind regular guest in her husband's restaurant.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Richard Bohringer, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A woman with a body writing fetish seeks to find a combined lover and calligrapher.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor, Yoshi Oida
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A movie about the corruption in all levels of society. A baby is born from a supposed-to-be virgin woman, so a chain of hysteria about divine intervention in the birth takes place.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Julia Ormond, Ralph Fiennes, Philip Stone
Nightwatching (2007)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An extravagant, exotic and moving look at Rembrandt's romantic and professional life, and the controversy he created by the identification of a murderer in the painting 'The Night Watch'.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Martin Freeman, Emily Holmes, Eva Birthistle
The Falls (1980)
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

92 BBC documentary-style shorts that record the lives of 92 victims of the VUE (Violent Unexplained Event), each with last names beginning with "Fall."

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Peter Westley, Aad Wirtz, Michael Murray
8 ½ Women (1999)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Following the death of a mother, a father and son open up a brothel in their Genevan estate after watching (1963).

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: John Standing, Matthew Delamere, Vivian Wu
Documentary | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An 'essayistic' documentary in which Greenaway's fierce criticism of today's visual illiteracy is argued by means of a forensic search of Rembrandt's Nightwatch. Greenaway explains the ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Martin Freeman, Eva Birthistle, Jodhi May
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The venerated filmmaker Eisenstein is comparable in talent, insight and wisdom, with the likes of Shakespeare or Beethoven; there are few - if any - directors who can be elevated to such ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Elmer Bäck, Luis Alberti, Maya Zapata
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Higgins ... R Neville / Mr Neville
Janet Suzman ... Virginia Herbert / Mrs Herbert
Anne-Louise Lambert ... Mrs. Talmann (as Anne Louise Lambert)
Hugh Fraser ... Mr Talmann
Neil Cunningham Neil Cunningham ... Thomas Noyes / Mr Noyes
Dave Hill Dave Hill ... Mr Herbert
David Gant ... Mr Seymour
David Meyer David Meyer ... The Poulencs
Tony Meyer Tony Meyer ... The Poulencs
Nicholas Amer ... Mr Parkes (as Nicolas Amer)
Suzan Crowley ... Mrs Pierpont
Lynda La Plante ... Mrs Clement (as Lynda Marchal)
Michael Feast ... The Statue
Alastair G. Cumming ... Philip (as Alastair Cumming)
Steve Ubels Steve Ubels ... Mr. van Hoyten
Edit

Storyline

Mr. Neville, a cocksure young artist, is contracted by Mrs. Herbert, the wife of a wealthy landowner, to produce a set of twelve drawings of her husband's estate, a contract which extends much further than either the purse or the sketchpad. The sketches themselves prove of an even greater significance than supposed upon the discovery of the body of Mr. Herbert. Written by Paul Kevin Harm <pkharm@papyrus-inc.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A landscape of lust and cunning. [Video Australia]


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Dutch

Release Date:

30 June 1983 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

El contrato del dibujante See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

£320,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The original cut of the film ran for three hours and was cut down to 103 minutes. Its original opening sequence ran for thirty minutes and this got edited down to ten minutes. See more »

Goofs

The cooing of a collared dove is not a sound that would have fallen on Jacobean ears, as the species was unknown in Britain until 1955. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mr. Noyes: Mr. Chandos was a man who spent more time with his gardener than his wife. They discussed plum trees - ad nauseam. He gave his family and his tennants cause to dread September, for they were regaled with plums till their guts rumbled like thunder and their backsides ached from overuse. He built the chapel at Fouvant, where the pew seats are made of plumwood, so the tennants still have cause to remember Chandos through their backsides - on account of the splinters.
See more »

Alternate Versions

When Peter Greenaway screened the movie at festivals in 1982, it ran a full three hours. Included in this footage is a full and further explained rationale for the moving statue. See more »

Connections

References Asylum of Satan (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Chasing Sheep Is Best Left To Shepherds
(uncredited)
Written by Michael Nyman
Performed by Nyman Band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A convoluted enigma of a picture, but a must see one.
11 June 2000 | by AfraciousSee all my reviews

This is a most intricately structured enigma of a film, one that seems on the surface to be ordinary, but underneath has many layers that need examining in detail from several viewings. The story is set in the English countryside in 1694. The prominent character is a draughtsman named Mr. Neville, who is asked by a lady named Mrs. Herbert to make twelve drawings of her house from different angles. He agrees, as long as he can have the lady for his intimate pleasure.

Mr. Neville is a perfectionist, and very meticulous in his drawings. He states to everyone at the house all his rules about everything that has to remain in the same place while he draws. The film moves along nicely, everything seems usual, then events start to become strange. Stone statues start to move around, and take up different locations to contort into another static pose. Objects start to change location to confuse Mr. Neville in his drawings. Then Mrs. Herbert's daughter approaches Mr. Neville and tells him her father may have been murdered. She says she has evidence to indict Mr. Neville of his murder, and blackmails him, requesting his service for her sexual needs. Then Mr. Herbert's body is found in a ditch and things get even more complex.

This film is one of those that you need to watch and try and unravel yourself. To try to do that here in this review is almost impossible. I recommend it. It is exquisitely performed and filmed. The costumes are good. The speeches by the cast are delivered in a grandiose and statement-like manner. The music is appropriate. A classic piece of puzzling cinema that will have you watching it many times.


20 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 43 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed