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Shadowlands (1986)

Noted author and scholar finds love, then must endure its loss...


Norman Stone


William Nicholson, Norman Stone (creator)
3 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Joss Ackland ... C.S. Lewis
Claire Bloom ... Joy Davidman
David Waller David Waller ... Warnie Lewis
Rupert Baderman Rupert Baderman ... Douglas
Rhys Hopkins Rhys Hopkins ... David
Alan MacNaughtan ... Christopher Riley
Philip Stone ... Harry Harrington
Tim Preece Tim Preece ... Alan Gregg
Norman Rutherford Norman Rutherford ... Paxford
John Ringham ... Doctor
Henry Moxon Henry Moxon ... Solicitor
Michael Cunningham Michael Cunningham ... Registrar
Max Harvey Max Harvey ... Radio Announcer (voice)
Jim Kirby Jim Kirby ... Father Fisher
Dilys Price Dilys Price ... Sister


Renowned author, Christian apologist, and Oxford medieval scholar C.S. Lewis agrees to marry the divorced American poet Joy Davidman Gresham, to allow her and her two sons to stay in England. But what began as an act of charity by the confirmed bachelor becomes a deep and abiding love and they marry again, "before God." Alas, Joy becomes gravely ill... Written by yortsnave

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Did You Know?


C.S. Lewis was a friend of fellow professor and writer J.R.R. Tolkien. Cast member Philip Stone appeared in the animated film The Lord of the Rings in the role of Theoden. Richard Attenborough's cinematic adaptation of this story featured two other actors from Lord of the Rings adaptations: cast members Andrew Seear and Peter Howell had played Faramir and Theoden in the BBC Radio drama. Attenborough had also previously directed Gandhi, which featured Nigel Hawthorne and Bernard Hill. Hawthorne played Lewis in the stage adaptation of this teleplay, while Hill appeared in Peter Jackson's film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings. See more »


[first lines]
C.S. Lewis: Why am I so afraid? I never knew that love could hurt so much. Yet I love you, and all I want is to love you. Beyond every door, I hear your voice saying to me, 'This is only the land of shadows. Real life hasn't begun yet.'
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Alternate Versions

92-minute television version and 73-minute "abridged" version are available on DVD. The abridged version includes on-screen titles such as "January 1950" and "Two Years Later" at various points in the film. The time difference is made of cuts at the beginning of the film. 92-minute version opens with Jack at the college with a voice-over and the camera passing through a wardrobe. Another long section of cuts start when Jack is walking and reading Joy's letter, the letter is longer and includes a poem. Jack then goes into a classroom and lectures, and later returns home for tea with Warnie. After Joy and Jack's first meeting, scenes of them walking and talking around Oxford is longer. She arrives at his house with her boys, and they play chess with Warnie. Other cut scenes include Jack at a pub with his friends, and finding Douglas reading in the attic for the first time. Jack also tells Joy about when his mother died. And Joy goes to the college for a party and meets Jack's colleagues. The Christmas they spend together also includes a scene of a toast before they leave. Another section of cuts show Jack's life at the college (montage partly included in the opening credits of the abridged version), more scenes of him speaking to students, and talking to Christopher. In a final cut scene, the gardener asks Jack to come outside and he is surprised to find Joy has returned to England. Joy moves into her new house at the 36 minute mark in the full version and at the 17 minute mark of the abridged version, no cuts noted after that. See more »


Remade as Shadowlands (1993) See more »

User Reviews

Well done
16 May 2005 | by karalynnnSee all my reviews

This movie was recommended to me by the same person that blessed me with a copy of The Chronicles of Narnia. Shadowlands is one of the most amazing screenplays ever written. It is well executed, acted and directed. The cinematography is a bit dark for my taste but I'm sure it was intended to be so. The screenplay is like poetry in portions of the movie, through out the movie I found myself taking pause to reflect on the comments just made on screen. This is a wonderful piece of cinema and I can only hope that more people will run across it and add reviews. Fair warning though this was a 6 tissue movie for me. Very touching. Very Heartfelt performances.

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Release Date:

29 October 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

C.S. Lewis Through the Shadowlands See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(video) | (original television)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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