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A Passage to India (1984)

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Cultural mistrust and false accusations doom a friendship in British colonial India between an Indian doctor, an Englishwoman engaged to marry a city magistrate, and an English educator.

Director:

David Lean

Writers:

E.M. Forster (by), E.M. Forster (based on the novel by) | 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Judy Davis ... Adela
Victor Banerjee ... Aziz
Peggy Ashcroft ... Mrs. Moore
James Fox ... Fielding
Alec Guinness ... Godbole
Nigel Havers ... Ronny
Richard Wilson ... Turton
Antonia Pemberton Antonia Pemberton ... Mrs. Turton
Michael Culver ... McBryde
Art Malik ... Ali
Saeed Jaffrey ... Hamidullah
Clive Swift ... Major Callendar
Ann Firbank ... Mrs. Callendar
Roshan Seth ... Amritrao
Sandra Hotz ... Stella
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Storyline

It's the early 1920s. Britons Adela Quested and her probable future mother-in-law Mrs. Moore have just arrived in Chandrapore in British India to visit Adela's unofficial betrothed, Ronny Heaslop, who works there as the city's magistrate. Adela and Mrs. Moore, who long for "an adventure" in experiencing all India has to offer, are dismayed to learn upon their arrival that the ruling British do not socialize let alone associate with the native population, such people as the Turtons - Mr. Turton being Ronny's superior - who openly thumb their noses at the idea in their belief that the Indians are an inferior peoples. They are further dismayed to see that Ronny adheres to that custom in not wanting to jeopardize his career. At the local white only club, Adela and Mrs. Moore find a like-minded Brit in the form of Richard Fielding, the school master at government college, he who offers to organize a small but truly inclusive social gathering with some natives for them, unlike the large ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

india | doctor | cave | 1920s | small town | See All (72) »

Taglines:

David Lean, the Director of "Doctor Zhivago", "Lawrence of Arabia" and "The Bridge on the River Kwai", invites you on . . .[A Passage to India]


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Hindi

Release Date:

1 February 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pasaje a la India See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$84,580, 16 December 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$27,187,653
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

During 1982, David Lean worked on the script. He spent six months in New Delhi, to have a close feeling of the country while writing. As he could not stay longer than that for tax reasons, then he moved to Zurich for three months finishing it there. Following the same method he had employed with Great Expectations (1946), he went through his copy of the novel, picking out the episodes that were indispensable and passing over those that did not advance the plot. Lean typed out the whole screenplay himself correcting it as he went along, following the principle that scripts are not written, but rewritten. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, as Dr. Aziz writes a letter, a festival with fireworks is going on outside his window. The colors red, green, and purple all appear simultaneously at two separate intervals, indicating studio lights instead of fireworks. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Moore: My dear, life rarely gives us what we want at the moment we consider appropriate. Adventures do occur, but not punctually.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Meet the Feebles (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses of Picardy
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Frederick Edward Weatherly
Music by Haydn Wood
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Mercifully, This Is No Epic
5 August 2005 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

My interest in caves led me to watch this film. A small, but pivotal, part of the film's plot centers on what happens at the Marabar Caves. While the cave segment was a disappointment to me, I was pleasantly surprised by the film as a whole. It was not the grandiose, pretentious cinematic epic I had feared.

"A Passage To India" tells the story of a young British woman and her elderly traveling companion who journey from England to India, at a time when the British still ruled that country. The film's theme centers on British attitudes toward the people of India. Those attitudes can be summarized as: condescending, snobbish, and racist. It was the English vision of cultural superiority over the Indian people that E.M Forster wrote about in his 1924 novel, upon which the screenplay is based. That cultural vision represents a bygone, imperial era that today seems quaint.

The cinematography here is excellent, though perhaps not quite as sweeping or majestic as in some of Director Lean's previous films. What comes through in the visuals is India's spectacular scenery. The film's acting is competent. And I liked the film's original score.

My main complaint is the film's length. It's a two-hour story stretched to fill almost three hours. I would have cut out most, or all, of the crowd and mob scenes because they are not needed, and because they infuse the film with a "cast of thousands" aura that moves the film implicitly in the direction of epic status. Even as is, the film is sufficiently low-key and personal to be enjoyable.


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