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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 people. 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 (73) »

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:

A Passage to India See more »

Filming Locations:

Bangalore, Karnataka, India See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$84,580, 16 December 1984

Gross USA:

$27,187,653
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Peggy Ashcroft's Oscar winning performance in this movie is her only Academy Award nomination. See more »

Goofs

When Stella gets out of the car to view the Himalayas, she turns her head slowly from left to right to view each summit, then finally looks in the middle. However, each summit that she looks at has a shadow on a different side, and the final shot of a summit has no shadow at all. See more »

Quotes

Major Callendar: [to Ronny, on Mrs. Moore] She's old - we musn't forget that. Old people never take things as one expects.
See more »


Soundtracks

Tea For Two
Written by Vincent Youmans and Irving Caesar
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
a disappointment
24 March 2003 | by jg1972See all my reviews

David Lean has made some of the best films of all time (viz. "Dr. Zhivago" and "Lawrence of Arabia"), and E. M. Forster is a delightful writer (viz. "Howards End" and "Room with a View"). This film, however, turns out to be a disappointment. While some other reviewers have loved it, I suspect that they have not read the novel. Moreover, as a pure story, it does not match up to Lean's earlier work.

The very essence of the story is the question, can Indians and Britons be friends? That is the heart of the novel, as Dr. Aziz and Mr. Fielding struggle to be friends as their societies conflict and they offend each other through misunderstandings. This is not really shown in the film. In fact, in some ways, the chief Anglo-Indian relationship in the film is a latent love between Dr. Aziz and Miss Quested. Lean leads us to believe that they secretly long for each other, but society (and they themselves) will not allow such a relationship. Additionally, Lean has changed much of the focus from an Indian story (about Dr. Aziz and his search for a place in colonial society) to a British one (about the place of British colonials in an alien place). This is reinforced by the invented opening scene of the movie, which is not in the novel.

I watched this film with a friend who had not read the novel, and she had a hard time following many of the plot twists.

Considering the novel as the premise, this is not an epic tale, and it was not suited for Lean's grand style. The more intimate style of Merchant-Ivory would have been appropriate here. Lawrence's "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" and Pasternak's "Dr. Zhivago" were epic novels needing broad strokes to appear on screen. Forster's novel mixed subtle satire with poignant portrayal of the dilemma's facing a Western-educated Indian under the British Raj. Most of that is lost in this film.


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