7.2/10
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78 user 22 critic

Educating Rita (1983)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 28 October 1983 (USA)
In London, twenty-seven year-old hairdresser Rita decides to complete her basic education before having children as desired by her husband Denny. She joins a literature course in an open ... See full summary »

Director:

Lewis Gilbert

Writer:

Willy Russell (screenplay)

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at Amazon

Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Dr. Frank Bryant
Julie Walters ... Rita
Michael Williams ... Brian
Maureen Lipman ... Trish
Jeananne Crowley Jeananne Crowley ... Julia
Malcolm Douglas ... Denny
Godfrey Quigley ... Rita's Father
Dearbhla Molloy ... Elaine
Patrick Daly Patrick Daly ... Bursar (as Pat Daly)
Kim Fortune Kim Fortune ... Collins
Philip Hurd-Wood ... Tiger (as Philip Hurdwood)
Hilary Reynolds Hilary Reynolds ... Lesley
Jack Walsh ... Price
Christopher Casson Christopher Casson ... Professor
Rosamund Burton Rosamund Burton ... Denise
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Storyline

In London, twenty-seven year-old hairdresser Rita decides to complete her basic education before having children as desired by her husband Denny. She joins a literature course in an open university and is tutored by the middle-aged Dr. Frank Bryant, an alcoholic and debauched professor from the upper-class whose life has left him emotionally drained, without self-esteem. Frank lives with Julia, who's also a professor, and have a loveless marriage; Julia has a love affair with the Dean Brian. Rivals humor and determination to improve herself is contagious; she gives motivation to Frank who helps prepare her for the exams to join the university, and be able to leave Denny. Will she succeed in the exams? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Raves For Rita! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 October 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Educando a Rita See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$73,518, 25 September 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$14,648,076
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Acorn Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Michael Caine was extremely impressed with Julie Walters' performance because, even though Walters had never acted in a movie before, he thought she was a born natural. See more »

Goofs

In the sequence leading up to Frank telling Rita that he is an appalling teacher, the way Rita holds the mug of whiskey changes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Frank walks on campus and addresses some students]
Dr. Frank Bryant: Good afternoon.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In a version screened on British TV in the '80s and '90s, Frank tells the imaginary Morgan to 'p*** off', not 'f*** off'; Michael Caine's voice is quite badly dubbed. See more »


Soundtracks

Wedding March
(uncredited)
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cultivated, touching academic Pygmalion tale
7 March 2006 | by roghacheSee all my reviews

This wonderfully engaging and thought provoking movie far surpassed my expectations. It's an unusual variation on the old teacher / student story but with a mature twist that asks the viewer the question... Just which one of this pair is doing the teaching here, and exactly what is the subject?

Dr. Frank Bryant is an older, jaded, alcoholic college English professor. He's weary of the snobbish academic world, which he mocks with contempt, and weary of dissecting meaning out of literature for the pretentious but unenthusiastic students in his classes. He's assigned to tutor Rita, a feisty, uneducated Liverpool hairdresser / housewife in her mid 20's, who has enrolled in a college class to improve her language skills and also really to develop her mind. Frank finds Rita literally a breath of fresh air, chuckling at her amusing definition of the word 'assonance' and uncharacteristically moved by her candor, her respect for education, her bubbling eagerness to learn and develop. Frank actually prefers that she remain exactly as she is, fearing she'll come to resemble the pompous snobs to which he's grown all too accustomed, walking the halls of academia all around him.

Both teacher and student here already have 'significant others'. Frank is romantically involved with another teacher, Julia, who is carrying on an affair literally under his nose, so his personal life is in equivalent shambles to his professional situation. Rita is married to the uneducated, working class Denny, who's eager to start a family. She is secretly taking birth control pills, wanting to explore her own and life's possibilities before having children. Obviously conflict emerges here between this couple, with Denny actually quite a sympathetic character. He's not the villain of the piece at all (from my viewpoint), even though he does burn Rita's books, certainly not something to applaud. He just wants the simple things of life, obviously disapproving of his wife's educational endeavors for fear she'll grow away from him.

Michael Caine, in the role he was born to play, is completely convincing as the drunken, disillusioned Frank, who cannot get through his day without a drink. Julie Walters is equally perfect as Rita...first the earlier blonde, uneducated but academically keen housewife / hairdresser, and later the sophisticated woman into which she's transformed.

The dialogue is witty, and the rich relationship that develops between Frank and Rita compelling. No sex scenes here, just discussions of literature and mainly of life. These are two memorable characters that will truly engage your concern. After some additional courses abroad, Rita undergoes an amazing Pygmalion style metamorphosis in admittedly, as some have criticized, a rather unbelievably short time. She is transformed from the original naive, uneducated, working class housewife to a sophisticated literary critic...though her core, in my opinion, remains fundamentally unchanged.

As for the ending, I won't give it away. Will a May December romance emerge from all this tutelage as with that other Pygmalion pair, Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, of My Fair Lady fame? Or will these two ultimately go their separate ways, each altered forever by the other's influence? Personally, the moving, emotional ending left me feeling satisfied that the screenwriters had done their job right. Don't miss this sparkling and intelligent movie which casts attitudes toward education in such a compelling light.


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