7.2/10
209
9 user 2 critic

The Importance of Being Earnest (1986)

Algy and Jack discover that they have both been "Bunberrying", that is, assuming different identities in order to enjoy themselves in a guilt-free manner. Jack's pretending to be his ... See full summary »

Director:

Stuart Burge

Writer:

Oscar Wilde (play)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In 1890's England, two friends use the pseudonym, Earnest, for their on-the-down-low activities, add in love and a strange coincidence and things get very funny.

Director: Adrian Noble
Stars: David Suchet, Emily Barber, Michael Benz
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When Algernon discovers that his friend, Ernest, has created a fictional brother for whenever he needs a reason to escape dull country life, Algernon poses as the brother, resulting in ever increasing confusion.

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Richard Wattis, Michael Denison
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Stars: Fehinti Balogun, Fiona Button, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1890s London, two friends use the same pseudonym ("Ernest") for their on-the-sly activities. Hilarity ensues.

Director: Oliver Parker
Stars: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O'Connor
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Directors: Brian Bedford, David Stern
Stars: Brian Bedford, Amanda Leigh Cobb, Santino Fontana
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Woodnutt ... Lane
Rupert Frazer Rupert Frazer ... Algy
Paul McGann ... Jack
Joan Plowright ... Lady Bracknell
Amanda Redman ... Gwendolen
Gemma Jones ... Miss Prism
Natalie Ogle ... Cecily
Alec McCowen ... Dr. Chasuble
John Quarmby John Quarmby ... Merriman
Peter Copley ... Gribsby
Edit

Storyline

Algy and Jack discover that they have both been "Bunberrying", that is, assuming different identities in order to enjoy themselves in a guilt-free manner. Jack's pretending to be his foolish younger brother, Ernest in order to be a model of moral rectitude to his young ward, Cecily. Jack intends to propose to Gwendolyn--that is until he discovers that she loves him because his name is Ernest. He sets about being rechristened. And when Cecily intends to meet her bad cousin Ernest, and Algy seizes the opportunity, it will take the imperious Lady Bracknell, Miss Prism's recollections about her handbag, and an army list to clear the matter up, and allow true love to run its course. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

farce | based on play | See All (2) »

Genres:

Comedy

Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 May 1988 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Theatre Night: The Importance of Being Earnest See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The premiere Broadway production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" opened at the Lyceum Theater (New York City) on April 22, 1895, ran for 12 performances and has been revived in New York City eight times since as of 2010. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 40 mins) just after Miss Prism says 'there is the lady who can tell you who you really are', a microphone can be seen at the top of the screen. See more »

Connections

Version of The Importance of Being Earnest (1938) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
BBC film is a faithful look at Wilde's classic play
6 April 2014 | by SimonJackSee all my reviews

This movie is the most faithful version of Oscar Wilde's play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," put on film. By all rights, one might expect it to be the best. The BBC made it a full 15 minutes longer than the 1952 film. It keeps the target of the farce and satire. But it just doesn't stand up to Anthony Asquith's 1952 film. Had we not had that film first, many of us would likely raise this film a notch. But we do have the 1952 film, so the two beg comparison.

I don't think there can be any doubt that the major difference is in the cast and the directing. The biggest weakness in this 1986 BBC film is in the characters and roles overall. While the cast are established English actors, they aren't of the caliber of the several leads – and supporting cast – of the 1952 film. Most of the lead performers in this film quite simply don't seem to fit their roles very well. That, and the director doesn't probe them to get the most out of the characters. Even Joan Plowright's character doesn't quite reach the level of abhorrent societal imbecility that the role demands.

Paul McGann and Rupert Frazer especially are not well cast in their roles as Jack and Algy. The female leads are somewhat better, but still not fully developed by Amanda Redman and Natalie Ogle. Some of the supporting roles are better. But the directing just doesn't bring the satire and farce out very forcefully. It needs to do that to raise this above plain comedy status.

This BBC rendition is entertaining, and worth a viewing for those who may not have seen a movie version yet of this classic Wilde play. But for lovers of wit and satire, Wilde and the classics, the real treat comes in watching the 1952 film, with Michael Redgrave, Edith Evans, Joan Greenwood, Michael Denison, and others.


0 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 9 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed