166 user 63 critic

The Remains of the Day (1993)

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.



(novel), (screenplay)
2,117 ( 1,266)

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Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Haycraft ...
Caroline Hunt ...
Lord Darlington
Paula Jacobs ...
Mrs. Mortimer, the Cook
Charlie, Head Footman
George, Second Footman
Housemaid (as Abigail Harrison)
Peter Cellier ...
Sir Leonard Bax
Canon Tufnell


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


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for themes | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

19 November 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lo que queda del día  »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Dyrham Park was a natural choice for the exteriors of Darlington Hall. Built around the turn of the eighteenth century for a minister of William III, the honey-colored stone structure stands in the cleft of a valley, with a network of fields and unspoiled scenery stretching clear to the horizon, a long and winding drive providing captivating views through carefully crafted gaps in the surrounding park. See more »


We see a dozen bottles of Graham's Port being delivered for the banquet - but the port would have been cellared for at least six months before being decanted - vintage port is undrinkable immediately after being transported; and later Stevens takes (and breaks) a bottle of Dow 1913 vintage port- but no producers declared a vintage in that year. 1912 was a vintage year, and the next one was 1917. See more »


Stevens: I was too busy serving to listen to the speeches.
See more »


Referenced in Skins: Sketch (2008) See more »


Roll Along Prairie Moon
Composed by Ted Fio Rito, Albert von Tilzer and Harry MacPherson
Performed by Gracie Fields
See more »

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User Reviews

Seamless - Effortless - Masterpiece.
19 April 2009 | by See all my reviews

This is the Quintessential period piece! The flow of it is so seamless, that like classical music or a beautiful piece of art - you never tire of it. It marks the end of the expansion of prosperity, change and invention of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, that for the first time in history, brought into existence a large, educated middle class. It is the span of this society and it's events that were both passed on to us as a nation, and have had a greater influence on our modern day than any other period. As they were the beginning of the modern era. By the 1930's we come to the end of the rigid class system that had evolved during these periods. This story is in fact all about the servants and is seen from their perspective. Regular working class people, their lives and loves - they are it's real champions. I believe it to be the finest film ever made on the subject, and one of the finest films period.

Easy on both the eyes and the mind, it is effortless to watch. And one of only 3 films that I find myself returning to over and over again, more than any others. Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson who have so many great performances, do their best work here. Here in cinema is a display of excellence in the ordinary, and a celebration of both understatement, and unrequited love. We are only observers here in the sense that there is nothing to figure out, and what we observe is the perfect Servant. One who applies himself wholeheartedly to his craft, and finds contentment in doing his job well. A rarity in both life and cinema. I find it very telling that perhaps the finest English film was a collaboration of men from two former colonies - India and the U.S., a Japanese author, a Celt in the male lead, and a screenwriter from Germany married to an Indian, who has spent most of her life in India and America. These are the people that school us in the culture that birthed our own, and so much of modern western civilization. None of them are English.

The perfect fit that I think James Ivory often reaches for is achieved here. It is a movie without sex, violence, or bad language, which are often added from a lack of strength, not as proof of it. This movie is a tribute to everything good that is England. Merchant and Ivory couldn't have done better.


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