Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register now to see X-Men: First Class!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
U
Cast
Gregory Peck
Audrey Hepburn
Eddie Albert
Hartley Power.
Directors
William Wyler.
Screenwriters
Ian McLellan Hunter
John Dighton
Dalton Trumbo.
Running Time
118 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
You & Me Forever
4 Star Empire Rating
An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker
4 Star Empire Rating
Cupcakes
3 Star Empire Rating
Looking For Light: Jane Bown
3 Star Empire Rating
Exhibition
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Wake In Fright
5 Star Empire Rating
Stranger By The Lake
5 Star Empire Rating
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
5 Star Empire Rating

Roman Holiday
La Dolce Bittersweet


submit to reddit


Plot
Slipping away from her chaperons, Countess Vereberg and General Provno, Princess Anne goes on the lam in the Eternal City with American journalist Joe Bradley and photographer Irving Radovich. But true love prevents Joe from publishing his scoop.


Review

A good deal of opportunistic pragmatism lay behind the production of this charming inversion of the Cinderella story. When Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted as part of the Hollywood Ten, Ian McLellan Hunter agreed to act as a front for his story idea, which was optioned by Frank Capra, who hoped to cast Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor in what amounted to a variation on his multi-Oscar-winning screwball, It Happened One Night. However, financial problems at his Liberty Films company forced him to sell the property to Paramount, where a combination of political timidity (on Capra's discovering Trumbo's involvement) and a tight budget prompted him to withdraw.
 
After George Stevens passed, the project was offered to William Wyler, who was not only glad to make his first comedy since the mid-1930s, but was also keen to work abroad in order to exploit a tax loophole. Paramount similarly saw the advantages of a runaway production (as it had assets frozen in Italy), while Gregory Peck, who had initially been reluctant to star opposite a newcomer, recognised the value of lightening his image. Even Audrey Hepburn - who had been chosen over Jean Simmons and Suzanne Cloutier, despite the fact that none of her seven European screen roles had amounted to much - realised this was her big chance to follow up her stage success in Gigi.
 
However, the cynicism and hard-nosed business sense that had shaped Roman Holiday's genesis evaporated once shooting began. Wyler was as enchanted with Hepburn as he was with his glorious locations and, while he indulged his usual passion for retakes, he allowed more improvisation than usual and was rewarded with a film of such freewheeling spontaneity that it became one of Hollywood's biggest international hits of the decade. It also landed 10 Oscar nominations and became such a firm favourite of John F. Kennedy that he watched it as a pressure release at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Soviets capitulated the next day.

Witty, warm and beautifully filmed by Franz Planer and Henri Alekan, it remains an unabashed romantic delight, with Hepburn particularly luminescent.


Verdict
Timeless, exuberant classic, with Hepburn's naïve sense of fun and perfectly charming performance matched equally by Peck's lauche and charismatic worldy American.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Best Barry Norman Anecdotes From His Empire Podcast Interview
From nearly punching Robert De Niro to the real story about ‘And why not?’

Empire 300th Issue: The Directors' Cut Cover
Spielberg, Whedon, Fincher, Abrams Mann and more take over

Fired! Losing Your Job In The Movies
The lowdown on getting dismissed on film

20 Not So Super '-Men' That Won't Star In A Film Any Time Soon
Forget your Batmen, your Spider-Men and your Ant-Men… Meet 3-D Man (and his pals)

The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Ten Things To Know About The Spooks Movie
Under the hood of The Greater Good

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)