Writer Paul Varjak moves into a New York apartment building and becomes captivated by his neighbour, Holly Golightly. Each has a wealthy benefactor keeping them and both find they have to accept some home truths.
It's with good reason that 40 years after appearing as Holly Golightly, Audrey Hepburn - cigarette-holder in hand, subtly streaked hair pinned high - is still a poster icon for those aspiring to the kind of classy romance that doesn't seem to exist anymore.
The surprise to those who know the image but not the film, is that in the world of Breakfast at Tiffany's, this character is just as much of a dream for Holly. She's a fake. Someone who lies so well she believes her own spin. Paid to deliver "weather reports" by a mobster she visits in jail, collecting $50 a time to "go to the powder room", she acts with such dignity, it would seem impertinent to question her cover stories. But as Paul becomes drawn into her world, he realises he's going to have to knock her fantasy just a little bit if there's any future for them as a couple.
But then, Paul is just as much a fake, a one-trick-pony writer, kept by a richer older woman while he struggles with his career. Peppard, far from the tough-talking A-Team leader he was later to become, is almost unrecognisable as the blond, square-jawed hero. He has little more to do here than be a solid rock, there to catch Holly when she eventually falls, and his acting talents are eclipsed not only by Hepburn's but by the strong supporting cast.
In Blake Edwards' hands the story is lighter than the Truman Capote novel on which it was based, but he manages to add some trademark humour (though not the sore thumb of Rooney as a squawking Japanese neighbour) and keep the romance sweet. And it's the romantic scenes that stand out; Holly crooning Moon River to her cat, as Paul listens above; the day they decide to do things they've never done before and the rain-soaked climax.
Tiffany's is actually one of the few films not to be greatly harmed by its flaws. Audrey Hepburn is delicious as Holly and the Henry Mancini score is in the class of elite soundtracks.
Reviewed by Emma Cochrane