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An Englishman Abroad (1983)

The actress Coral Browne travels to Moscow and meets a mysterious Englishman. It turns out that he's the notorious spy Guy Burgess.


John Schlesinger


Alan Bennett
12 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Bates ... Guy Burgess
Coral Browne ... Coral Browne
Charles Gray ... Claudius
Harold Innocent ... Rosencrantz
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Guildenstern
Mark Wing-Davey ... Hamlet
Douglas Reith ... Toby
Peter Chelsom ... Giles
Judy Gridley Judy Gridley ... Tessa
Denys Hawthorne Denys Hawthorne ... Tailor
Trevor Baxter ... Pyjama Shop Manager
Roger Hammond ... Shoe Shop Assistant
Alexei Jawdokimov Alexei Jawdokimov ... Tolya
Matthew Sim ... The Boy
Molly Veness Molly Veness ... Mrs. Burgess


Actress Coral Browne travels to Moscow, and meets a mysterious Englishman. It turns out he's the notorious spy, Guy Burgess. Written by David Spalding <http://korova.com/film>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Did You Know?


Michael Cashman and Michael Pennington were possibles for Hamlet. See more »


When Coral, in Burgess' flat, says 'The theatre's in a dreadful state', her lips are out of sync. See more »


Coral: I wouldn't care, but it's only the interval. If you want to come round and be sick you might at least save it for the end of the performance.
See more »

Crazy Credits

[At end of opening credits] "Although some incidents are imaginary... this is a true story. It happened to Coral Browne in 1958." See more »


Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #6.2 (1993) See more »

User Reviews

So much has never been said so powerfully and succinctly.
22 April 2011 | by alexmatteSee all my reviews

An Englishman Abroad is, like The Third Man, one of those rarest of moments in cinema in which everything just drops into place, with all from the script to the direction and performances falling into the perfect hands. Coral Browne's recognition that her experiences during (and following) a theatrical tour of Russia, meeting Guy Burgess, were worth making a grand statement on life about was as inspired as the script she made of this. In a running time of just over an hour, exceptional performances by Browne herself and the late lamented Alan Bates, directed by none less than John Schlesinger, make a comprehensive statement about loyalty, betrayal, the cynicism and amorality of all governments across the political spectrum, and personal sacrifice in the cause of what one believes correct. And despite the bleakness with which the British government and establishment are duly portrayed, a wonderful contrast is drawn between truly British democratic values, as voiced by an old British bespoke shoemaker (and reminiscent of the civil service mandarin's words in the car at the end of the also brilliant A Very British Coup), and the foreigner-founded gentlemen's outfitter who merely apes Britishness by pandering to British aristocracy ("By Appointment to Her Majesty"). The cold war settings are very atmospheric, and Bate's role as a man who has sacrificed all the privilege he was born into for the sake of something he believed in paradoxically fits that British value too. His performance as a British establishment in-man of refined tastes, trying to stay sane in the utter impoverishment, loneliness and distrust of his new Soviet circumstance, is profoundly moving even without a hint of self pity or indulgence. And the scene where he, a gay and atheist, attends the Orthodox service for the profound aesthetic experience that it provides, represents - in Bates' peerless hands - an unforgettable portrayal of profound human emotion. Had Schlesinger and Browne padded this film out by a half to reach a respectable feature length, it might not be so obscure but known as one of the elite films of all time.

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Release Date:

2 September 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Англичанин за границей See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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