8.1/10
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210 user 129 critic

Brief Encounter (1945)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 24 August 1946 (USA)
Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband.

Director:

David Lean
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Celia Johnson ... Laura Jesson
Trevor Howard ... Dr. Alec Harvey
Stanley Holloway ... Albert Godby
Joyce Carey ... Myrtle Bagot
Cyril Raymond ... Fred Jesson
Everley Gregg Everley Gregg ... Dolly Messiter
Marjorie Mars Marjorie Mars ... Mary Norton
Margaret Barton Margaret Barton ... Beryl Walters - Tea Room Assistant
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Storyline

At a café on a railway station, housewife Laura Jesson meets doctor Alec Harvey. Although they are both already married, they gradually fall in love with each other. They continue to meet every Thursday in the small café, although they know that their love is impossible. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1940s | love | train | shopping | housewife | See All (29) »

Taglines:

A chance meeting between two happily married strangers. Two people who met by accident, and fell in love. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 August 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Begegnung See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£170,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cineguild See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cast and most of the crew were given May 8, 1945 off work - not so much because it was Victory In Europe Day but because the cameras at Denham Studios were needed to cover the celebrations in London. See more »

Goofs

Near the beginning of the film Laura's husband refers to a Symphony concert he once took her to. Later Laura tells Alec that her husband is not musical. Obviously, she meant that he played no instruments, not that he did not enjoy music. See more »

Quotes

Dolly Messiter: My dear, what a nice looking man. Who on earth is he? Really, you're quite a dark horse. I shall telephone Fred in the morning and make mischief.
[Ha-ha]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Blood (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2.
Written by Sergei Rachmaninoff (uncredited)
Played by Eileen Joyce with The National Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Muir Mathieson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Briefly, a great film
20 June 2002 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

There's not a lot to say. Like many classics this film is simply constructed with all the elements in balance so that none stands out. Everything in it contributes something essential; the lighting, the unromantic railway station sets, the minor characters and of course the music, the ultra-romantic Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no 2. The emotional rollercoaster of the illicit affair has seldom been better portrayed. Perhaps it is a little understated for transatlantic tastes but no-one viewing this movie would not appreciate that the English can be as passionate as the rest of us.

Celia Johnson as Laura and Trevor Howard as Alec are perfect together. It being 1945, they do not get to bed – that would have ruined the audience's sympathy for them in those rather more censorious times. It's all in their minds but their faces give the game away – to each other and to the bystanders. Nothing happens to drag anyone near the awful divorce courts, but you are left wondering whether Celia will ever feel quite the same about her dull, comfortable, patronising and boring husband. As for Alec, he professes he will love her forever but then, he's a man.

Noel Coward produced this film from a short play of his from 1935 (the war and post-war shortages are absent), and his dulcet tones may be recognised in the railway station announcements. David Lean directed, and it is a remarkable collaboration. The action is opened out a little – a row on the lake, a drive in the country - but the scenes from the play set entirely in the railway refreshment rooms still remain the centre of the story. The parallel relationship between Albert the station guard (Stanley Holloway), and Myrtle the refreshment room attendant (Joyce Carey), is an interesting counterpoint to the angst-ridden middle class would-be adulterers. Surely Noel old boy you weren't suggesting that the working class handles this sort of thing better? We see things largely from Laura's point of view and perhaps Alec didn't feel quite so guilty, but their consciences are going to make them pay. A gem of a movie.


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