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The Remains of the Day (1993)

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A butler who sacrificed body and soul to service in the years leading up to World War II realizes too late how misguided his loyalty was to his lordly employer.

Director:

James Ivory

Writers:

Kazuo Ishiguro (novel), Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (screenplay)
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Popularity
619 ( 2,483)
Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Haycraft John Haycraft ... Auctioneer
Christopher Reeve ... Lewis
Anthony Hopkins ... Stevens
Emma Thompson ... Miss Kenton
Caroline Hunt Caroline Hunt ... Landlady
James Fox ... Lord Darlington
Peter Vaughan ... Father
Paula Jacobs Paula Jacobs ... Mrs. Mortimer, the Cook
Ben Chaplin ... Charlie, Head Footman
Steve Dibben ... George, Second Footman
Abigail Hopkins ... Housemaid (as Abigail Harrison)
Patrick Godfrey ... Spencer
Peter Cellier ... Sir Leonard Bax
Peter Halliday ... Canon Tufnell
Hugh Grant ... Cardinal
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Storyline

A rule bound head butler's world of manners and decorum in the household he maintains is tested by the arrival of a housekeeper who falls in love with him in pre-WWII Britain. The possibility of romance and his master's cultivation of ties with the Nazi cause challenge his carefully maintained veneer of servitude. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for themes | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

19 November 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Remains of the Day See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$22,954,968
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby SR (35 mm prints)| SDDS (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

None of the filmmakers had any experience with the way a great English country house is run, nor the minutiae of a butler's life. Kazuo Ishiguro was the first to admit this, and had to learn about it in the course of writing his novel. Sir Anthony Hopkins was afraid of making all kinds of gaffes, and requested that an experienced butler be somehow attached to the unit. This was done, the advisor being Cyril Dickman, the retired Steward to Queen Elizabeth II, and he, in time, brought in others who were experienced in the exact way of doing things in a big house like Darlington Hall. There was an exact pecking order, with specific servants to handle specific assignments. From the butler and the housekeeper on down, there were under-butlers, footmen, house maids, under-housemaids, the cook, the scullery boys, the gardeners, grooms, and gamekeepers, even the servants of the servants. It was a kind of extraordinary little kingdom. See more »

Goofs

In one kitchen scene, in preparing for the banquet, we see a meat cleaver beheading a pheasant. However, when the head is thrown away, it is obvious that the head was previously severed, as the cleaver rests on a non-severed part of the pheasant's neck. See more »

Quotes

Miss Kenton: What's in that book? Come on, let me see!
Stevens: This is my private time. You're invading it.
Miss Kenton: Oh, is that so?
Stevens: Yes.
Miss Kenton: I'm invading your private time, am I?
Stevens: Yes.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in United States of Tara: Dr. Hatteras' Miracle Elixir (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Moon
Composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
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User Reviews

What do you most look forward to, Mr. Stevens?
5 December 2003 | by dragon-90See all my reviews

The crowning achievement of the Ismail Merchant/James Ivory partnership and their entire production team who give their absolute best in original music, cinematography, editing, art and set direction, costumes, and, of course, screenplay by Merchant/Ivory regular Ruth Prawler Jhabvala. Add flawless performances from the all-star cast and the result is almost too perfect. But there is just enough humility to this sad tale of unrequited love to make it completely believable.

Anthony Hopkins excels as the impenetrable Mr. Stevens, Butler of a lordly country house in the final days of the British Empire, and Emma Thompson is superb as his foil, Housekeeper Miss Kenton. Both give wonderfully deep, sensitive portrayals of two complex lonely people who don't realize, until it's too late, that they belong together. Swirling around them is fascinating drama of life upstairs and downstairs and there are as many surprises and sub-plots to the story (based on a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro) as there are secret passages, nooks, and crannies in "Darlington House."

An all-round first-rate cinematic experience, "Remains of the Day" is one of those pictures that lingers in the mind long after the credits pass. A must see. One poignant note: this was the return to the big screen of actor Christopher Reeve, as American millionaire Congressman Lewis, whose life nicely frames the storyline. Two years later Reeve became paralyzed after being thrown from a horse.


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