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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.


David Lean

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



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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 ... Dolly Messiter
Marjorie Mars Marjorie Mars ... Mary Norton
Margaret Barton Margaret Barton ... Beryl Walters - Tea Room Assistant


At a café on a railway station, housewife Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) meets Dr. Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard). 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) »


A story of the most precious moments in woman's life! See more »


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

24 August 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Begegnung See more »


Box Office


GBP170,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cineguild See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Because Director Sir David Lean and Producer Ronald Neame were busy filming Great Expectations (1946) on-location, this movie had its first preview in front of a working-class audience in Rochester. The results were disastrous, with the audience laughing through the most romantic scenes. See more »


In several frames Celia Johnson is missing her hat then has it back it again. See more »


Fred Jesson: You've been a long way away.
Laura Jesson: Yes.
Fred Jesson: Thank you for coming back to me.
See more »


Referenced in All Grown Up!: Thief Encounter (2003) See more »


Can't Get Along Without You
Music by William Kernell
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It's no use pretending that it hasn't happened because it has
22 December 2006 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

**SPOILERS** Meeting quite by accident at the Milford train station British housewife Laura Jesson, Celi Johnson, got a speck of grit stuck in her eye that fellow passenger Dr. Alec Harvey,Trevor Howard, quickly came to her aid and washed out. Alec then slowly starts to get these strong feeling about the sweet and somewhat shy, as well as married, middle-age woman that in no time at all turns into an uncontrollable, by both Laura as well as Alec, love affair that in the end if not checked my well break up both of their marriage's.

Even though both Alec and Laura are married, not to each other, we only get to see Laura's husband and family in the movie which is shown in a long flashback, that takes up almost the entire film, from only Laura's point of view. After that innocent meeting at the train station the two always end up meeting on a Thursday when Laura travels to Milford to buy groceries and Alec has the afternoon off from work. Alec a doctor at the Milford hospital has a wife and family who we never get to see but sense are very much in love with him. Alec's life starts to take a sudden turn away from them as he starts to slowly fall in love with Laura.

You never once get the impression that Alec and Laura are willing to leave their wife and husband so that they can get married to each other. The two star-struck lovers only want to keep their affair secret and live double-lives but the guilt of the affair consumes Laura. For the first time in her marriage Laura lied to her husband Fred, Cyril Raymond, about her being in love with another man. Even though she admitted it to Fred in an almost whimsical way, that Fred took as a joke, Laura also realized that no matter how much she was in love with Alec, and he with her, in the end it would only lead to nothing but heartbreak for her as well as everyone, Alec together with her and his families, involved.

It was later when Alec got a job at his brothers new hospital in Johannesburg South Africa that both he and Laura could finally break up their affair by the two never having to as much as cross their paths again. Even saying goodbye to each other for the last time was never to happen when the two were interrupted at the train station by Laura's chatter-house friend Dolly Mesitter, Everly Gregg. Dolly's non-stop talking prevented the two from having the last few minutes together with each other but at the same time also prevented Laura from throwing herself on the tracks, by momentarily keeping her mind off the fact that Alec was about to leave her, as Alec's train left the station.

Extremely moving adult drama about two persons who find out only too late in life that they were meant for each other but missed the boat, or train, when it came into the station and have to do with what they have: try to forget they ever met no matter how much sorrow and grief it would bring them. Both Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard were touchingly effective as the star-struck lovers Laura and Alec who knew that their affair was doomed from the start and just had to accept what fate had handed them: try to forget that brief encounter they had one fateful evening in the railroad station outside of Milford.

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