23 user 7 critic

The Rachel Papers (1989)

R | | Drama, Romance | 12 May 1989 (USA)
Charles is in control of his life; he is about to finish 6th form college and start at Oxford. He is 19 and wants an 'older' woman before he turns 20. Enter the beautiful Rachel, and ... See full summary »


Damian Harris


Damian Harris, Martin Amis (novel)

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1 win. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dexter Fletcher ... Charles Highway
Ione Skye ... Rachel Noyce
Jonathan Pryce ... Norman
James Spader ... Deforest
Bill Paterson ... Gordon Highway
Michael Gambon ... Doctor Knowd
Lesley Sharp ... Jenny
Jared Harris ... Geoff
Aubrey Morris ... Sir Herbert
Claire Skinner ... Gloria
Nicola Kimber Nicola Kimber ... Vanessa Reynolds
Shirley Anne Field ... Mrs. Seth Smith
Pat Keen Pat Keen ... Mrs. Tauber
Amanda De Cadenet ... Cathy
Gina McKee ... Evonne


Charles is in control of his life; he is about to finish 6th form college and start at Oxford. He is 19 and wants an 'older' woman before he turns 20. Enter the beautiful Rachel, and Charles puts his 'master-of-seduction' routines into top gear. Things however get complicated, Charles has a string of ex's and a weird brother-in-law. Rachel has a boyfriend named Deforest and Charles' father has a mistress. Written by Matthew Stanfield <mattst@cogs.susx.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She's curious, he's nervous.


Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

12 May 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Er? Will! Sie Nicht? See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Agfacolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


There is a scene towards the end in which Ione Skye, as Rachel, is seen through an aquarium. This was obviously the inspiration for the iconic romantic scene featuring Claire Danes as Juliet in Romeo + Juliet (1996) seven years later. See more »


Charles Highway: Well, that's crap. Who's ever got time to act natural with a girl?
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Alternate Versions

The 2003 R1 DVD release features an extended version of the "Electric Moon" love scene which is more explicit than the version on the VHS release. See more »


Performed by Frankie Knuckles
Courtesy of London Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

good, but could have been much better
14 February 2005 | by vlvetmorning98See all my reviews

The first film to be adapted from a Martin Amis novel, this cute film stars Dexter Fletcher as Charles Highway, a super-suave young man studying for his Oxford entrance exams. At a nightclub, he spots Rachel Noyce, played by Ione Skye, and he spends the majority of the film trying to pry her away from her beau. The main problem with this film is that Highway is played too much like Ferris Bueller-he even monologues directly to the camera. The novel's very bleak ending was toned down a bit, and the title is a little misleading, as all of his "female papers" are actually composed on a computer in the film. Jonathan Pryce is hilarious in his fleeting scenes.

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