A Room with a View (1985 film)

A Room with a View

Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Ivory
Produced by Ismail Merchant
Screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Based on A Room with a View
by E. M. Forster
Music by
Cinematography Tony Pierce-Roberts
Edited by Humphrey Dixon
Distributed by Curzon Film Distributors
Release dates
  • 13 December 1985 (1985-12-13) (RCFP)
  • 11 April 1986 (1986-04-11)
Running time
117 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $21 million[4]

A Room with a View is a 1985 British romance film, directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant, of E. M. Forster's 1908 novel of the same name. The film closely follows the novel by use of the chapter titles to section the film into thematic segments. Set in England and Italy, it is about a young woman in the restrictive and repressed culture of Edwardian era England and her developing love for a free-spirited young man.


Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham-Carter) is from an English village in Surrey and is on holiday in Italy with her much older cousin and chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith). Charlotte is conventionally English, with an extremely restrictive personality, and she tends to get her way by expressing her emotions to manipulate others. Lucy has been brought up in an upper-middle class but loving and easygoing household, and has fewer inhibitions, which creates strong tension between herself and Charlotte. They are contrasted with the more free-thinking and free-spirited backdrop of Italy.

At a small pensione in Florence, Lucy meets such people as the Reverend Mr. Beebe (Simon Callow), the two Miss Alans (Fabia Drake and Joan Henley), the author Eleanor Lavish (Judi Dench), but most importantly, the nonconformist Mr. Emerson (Denholm Elliott) and his handsome, philosophical son, George (Julian Sands), who becomes friends with Lucy. These men, although also English, represent the forward-thinking ideals of the turn-of-the-century, seeking to leave behind the repression and caution that was the norm in Victorian times.

At first, the Emersons seem strange and unfamiliar to Charlotte and Lucy. The men seem sincere but unaware of finer upper-class Victorian manners. Mr. Emerson offers to switch rooms with the women, who desire a room with a view. Charlotte is offended, believing him to be rude and tactless for what she perceives to be indebting them with his offer. As Lucy begins her journey to maturity, she finds herself drawn to George due to his mysterious thinking and readily expressed emotions.

A number of people staying at the pension take a carriage ride in the country. A mischievous Italian driver gets back at Charlotte by misdirecting an unchaperoned Lucy to George in a barley field as he admires the view. George suddenly embraces and passionately kisses Lucy as she approaches him. Charlotte has followed Lucy, witnesses the act, and quickly stops the intimacy. George's unreserved passion shocks Lucy, but also lights a secret desire and romance in her heart. Charlotte suggests that George kissing her was the act of a rake.

Charlotte makes reference to a heartbreak from her youth that occurred the same way and has behaved accordingly with disgust and anger toward George. Charlotte uses guilt to coerce Lucy to secrecy to save both their reputations as a young lady and a chaperone, but it is mostly for her own benefit. Normally, if a young man kissed a young lady, an engagement should be announced to preserve her reputation, but Charlotte considers George to be an undesirable influence.

Upon returning to England, Lucy tells her mother nothing and pretends to forget the incident. She accepts a marriage proposal from a wealthy and respectable but snobbish and pretentious man named Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis). Cecil seems lacking in personality or emotion, and instead of playing tennis with her, prefers to walk around outside, reading aloud from a novel. However, she soon learns that George's father is moving to her small village and will be a neighbour due to a coincidence of Cecil having invited the Emersons, during a chance meeting in London, to rent an empty cottage in the village.

The appearance of George in the village soon disrupts Lucy's plans and causes her suppressed feelings to resurface, complicated by the supposed need for secrecy. Lucy consistently refuses George's pursuit of her, but then she suddenly breaks off her engagement to Cecil and makes plans to visit Greece. George has also decided that he must move for peace of mind and makes arrangements. Lucy stops by Mr. Beebe's home and is confronted by George's father before the Emersons are to leave town. She suddenly realizes that the only reason that she planned to travel was to escape her feelings for George. At the end, we see George and Lucy in the Italian pension where they met, in the room with the view, presumably married.



A Room With a View was filmed in Emmetts Garden, Sevenoaks and Foxwold House, Chiddingstone, as well as in Florence. Lucy's engagement party was filmed in the grounds of Emmetts Garden.[5]

Lucy and Cecil take a walk through the village (Chiddingstone) after their engagement party. They stop at St Mary's Church to speak with Mr Beebe. Later in the film, the Emersons rent a house in the village, and Mr Beebe's home is also in the village behind the church. It is there that Lucy and Mr Emerson talk about her relationship with his son at the end of the film.


Box office

The film made $4.4 million at the US box office in the first 12 weeks of release.[3]

Critical reception

The film received positive reviews from critics, currently holding a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[6] Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars, writing: "It is an intellectual film, but intellectual about emotions: It encourages us to think about how we feel, instead of simply acting on our feelings."[7]


Academy Awards

BAFTA Awards

Golden Globe Awards

Other awards

Other nominations


  1. "O mio babbino caro" (from Gianni Schicchi by Puccini) Kiri Te Kanawa with London PO, conducted by Sir John Pritchard
  2. "The Pensione Bertollini"
  3. "Lucy, Charlotte, and Miss Lavish See the City"
  4. "In the Piazza Signoria"
  5. "The Embankment"
  6. "Phaeton and Persephone"
  7. "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta" (from La Rondine, Act One by Puccini) Kiri Te Kanawa with London PO, conducted by Sir John Pritchard
  8. "The Storm"
  9. "Home, and the Betrothal"
  10. "The Sacred Lake"
  11. "The Allan Sisters"
  12. "In the National Gallery"
  13. "Windy Corner"
  14. "Habanera" (from Carmen by Georges Bizet)
  15. "The Broken Engagement"
  16. "Return to Florence"
  17. "End Titles"

See also


  1. "A Room with a View (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 1 January 1986. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  2. A Room with a View at Box Office Mojo
  3. 1 2 "Bad Beginning." Sunday Times [London, England] 15 June 1986: 45. The Sunday Times Digital Archive. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
  4. A Room with a View at Box Office Mojo
  5. Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office A Room With A View Film Focus".
  6. . Rotten Tomatoes: A Room with a View (1985). Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  7. . A Room with a View: Roger Ebert. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  8. "Academy Awards, USA". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  9. "The 1987 Oscar Winners – RopeofSilicon.com Award Show Central". Ropeofsilicon.com. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  10. 1 2 3 "A Room with a View (1985) : Awards". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  11. "BAFTA Awards". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  12. "The 1987 Golden Globe Award Winners – RopeofSilicon.com Award Show Central". Ropeofsilicon.com. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  13. "London Critics Circle Film Awards". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  14. "National Board of Review of Motion Pictures :: Awards". Nbrmp.org. Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  15. "New York Film Critics Circle: 1986 Awards". Nyfcc.com. Archived from the original on 7 September 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  16. "Writers Guild of America, USA". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  17. "Directors Guild of America, USA". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-02-29.

External links

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