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7.72 h 20 min198715
The repressed and bourgeois Maurice Hall tackles the prejudices of Edwardian society as he comes to terms with his sexuality, in this landmark drama. From the halls of Cambridge University to the cricket fields of the English gentry, this profound tale of emotional and sexual awakening features star-making performances from James Wilby, Hugh Grant and Rupert Graves.
James Ivory
James WilbyHigh GrantRupert Graves
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Supporting actors
Denholm ElliottSimon CallowJudy ParfittBen Kingsley
Paul BradleyIsmail Merchant
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4.5 out of 5 stars

861 global ratings

  1. 71% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 9% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Dr Jacques COULARDEAUReviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 January 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars
Gosh! The road has been long and hard!
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It is difficult to speak of a classic and this film is one. E.M. Forster is also an English writer who has tact and some natural nobility. He makes radiant any subject he touches. And this subject is delicate if not difficult. It was when the book came out and it still was when the film came out. Nowadays it has lost its smell of sulphur and hell and in spite of all the tricksters and mud-throwers around it smells of love and it carries a strong appeal for those who just have a mind.

We cannot avoid thinking of Lady Chatterley's Lover but we are no longer dealing with a woman but with a man, with straight love but with gay love and it is necessary to give a general idea of the story for any commentary to make sense. It starts at Cambridge when two young men fall in love, Clive declaring his love to the other and this other, Maurice, being repulsed at first and then apologizing and accepting his attraction. The point is that the one who declared his love first is the aristocrat whereas the other is from a stock exchange family. And that's the latter's first loss. He is cleanly and immediately kicked out of Cambridge because he missed a few classes to spend the afternoon with Clive and refuses to apologize to the Dean.

But another of their university mates, Viscount Risley, managed to get in some kind of fix in an East End pub one night when he buys some quick pleasure from a cadet in a back alley. He is "captured" by the police and dragged to court. This Viscount is a Parliamentary Private Secretary and is at the start of a political career. He is abandoned by every one, including Clive, and the judge condemns him lightly as for the prison term but ruins his political career forever with the clear mention that "instead of setting an example to the people", he looked for favours from people who were his "inferiors" and he used his advantageous superiority in education to do so.

This reveals the deeply social segregational attitude of England then. The social difference made such a relationship unacceptable to justice with a strong emphasis on this social barrier that the culprit dared cross.

That makes Clive change his position entirely. He decides to drop Maurice, apart from a platonic friendship and to marry a girl who is full of love but not too subtle on the real emotions of her husband. This rebuff from Clive sends Maurice to hell and he tries to find a way out with doctors and even a hypnotist who comes up with the fair advice to move to a country like France where homosexuality is accepted. And his conclusion is final: "England has always been disinclined to accept human nature."

But in the meantime Maurice falls in love with Clive's gamekeeper, Alec. In fact it seems the gamekeeper smelled the possible emotional opening in Maurice and Maurice did not rebuff him and then Alec moved forward and Maurice let him do so. The love is strong but Maurice is afraid of some blackmail, and yet he goes on as far as possible before Alec leaves England for Argentina. But Maurice will find out the ship leaves without Alec and he will run back to Clive's place and will subodorate that Alec is waiting for him in the boathouse and sure enough here he is.

The first element is that E.M. Forster's novel was one essential milestone on the slow and long road that led England to two fundamental mental reforms. The first one has to do with gay love and England was not the first country to move on such a subject after WW2 but in fact they moved rather fast though they still have some way to go. But the second mental reform is far from being complete. It is social segregation. In 1910-1913 when the action takes place that social segregation is absolute: the relation, between the aristocracy and the lower classes were absolutely not acceptable in any way, particularly of course emotionally, sentimentally or sexually. D.H. Lawrence had proved it with his above-quoted novel for women and E.M. Forster proved it with this here novel and film.

The arguments emphasized by the judge are absolutely univocal: a member of the nobility could not in any way have any kind of an affair with someone from a lower social station. The fact that at the same time the Anglican church and the society as a whole condemned gay love and gay sex as immoral and un-natural if not anti-natural, does not in anyway alleviate the horror of that social discrimination in people's sentimental, emotional and sexual private lives. And at the same time it is this very fact that this social discrimination is a lot more powerful than the moral condemnation that gives Maurice and Alec a possible choice, a possible chance.

Alec could miss his ship because he wanted to stay with Maurice, that was his free choice, and Maurice could run after him blindly because he wanted Alec to stay and be part of his life, and that was also his free choice, and that is in a way possible for them both because Maurice is working at the Stock Exchange, in a brokerage house and he is not in anyway part of the nobility and aristocracy. That's their chance and Alec could become in a way or another some employee of Maurice's and then the rest was discretion and love. And eventually they could move to another country.

But this film, like Lady Chatterley's Lover, should be shown to all teenagers and discussed with them for them to come to the feeling, the empathy that social segregation is absurd. You love someone for so many reasons that any segregation has no sense, and you can love someone in so many ways, sex being one of the ways and in no way obligatory or necessary, that any segregation is idiotic. No one should question who other people love nor how they love the people they love, not to mention the people they want to marry.

7 people found this helpful
John HardingReviewed in the United Kingdom on 05 May 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Magnificent film.
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This was a replacement for an old and treasured copy of this wonderful movie.
coraReviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 July 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful E.M. Forster Adaption by Merchant and Ivory
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The film is another one of those beautifully made period dramas the Merchant/Ivory partnership has produced so many of. It is one of three adaptions of E.M. Forster novels made by them (the other two are 'A Room With a View' and 'Howards End').

Maurice is set in England in the early 20th century, in the years before WW1 and it tells the story of Maurice (James Wilby), a young homosexual, and his experiences in a time when love among men was a criminal offense. In his student days at Cambridge Maurice meets and falls in love with fellow student Clive (Hugh Grant). While Maurice can't suppress his sexual desires, Clive eventually withdraws from their relationship and, conforming to the social norm, marries a woman. A later visit from Maurice is rather awkward as Clive tries to avoid him and deny their past relationship. And then Maurice meets Alec (Rupert Graves), a seductive young man in service with Clive's family...

The story may not appeal to everybody, and for various reasons. The rigid rules of the English society of the time with its prejudice and lack of acceptance will be infuriating for many. However, as an adaption of the book, the film is rather wonderful. Besides the lovely visuals, there is much else to like about it, not last the excellent performances by the rather exciting cast. The young Hugh Grant (several years pre Four Weddings fame and the ensuing romcom fame) shows what an excellent actor he is in portraying the rather spineless character of Clive. James Wilby is quite impressive as Maurice and Rupert Graves is well cast as his young lover Alec. These are courageous performances by the three young actors, back in 1987, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, when acceptance of homosexuality was still a far cry from what it is now. Many well known faces of British stage and screen acting appear in supporting roles, among them Simon Callow, Denholm Elliott, Billie Whitelaw and Judy Parfitt.

The picture and sound quality of the DVD are good. English subtitles are available for those who may need them.
23 people found this helpful
DRReviewed in the United Kingdom on 05 August 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Heart-breakingly Beautiful Film
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If you are a gay man who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in England, you will recognise so much of the emotional and historical truth of this film. Today, with gayness largely accepted in many civilised countries around the world (although in some cultures with a more barbaric attitude, it still is not), it is hard to imagine what giant leaps forward have been taken.

When I was a boy, you could still go to jail for two years, simply for being gay. Being gay was indeed regarded as the 'unspeakable' - it was almost deemed as bad as being a murderer, and worse than being a (straight) rapist.
E.M. Forster, who wrote the novel on which this film is based (a novel that Forster suppressed throughout his life - so shameful still was the stigma that attached to being gay), wanted to create a story of two gay men who found true love and could symbolically walk off happy into the woods forever. He wanted to create a gay couple who were NOT tragic and doomed to misery and loneliness. He succeeded - and so does this gorgeous film. Hugh Grant and all the other lead actors are simply magnificent. If you are gay - your heart will be touched; if you are straight, I hope that your heart will be touched too. At the very least, this film will show you just how difficult it was, within the living memory of many of us, to be born gay in an England that still regarded gayness as a heinous and despicable crime. But the film will also show you how love can triumph in the end - if one is honest with oneself, as Maurice is (but his self-deceiving friend, Clive, is not).
An excellent film. One of the most beautiful and sensitive gay-themed films out there. It is simple, not over-played - and it touches the heart.
23 people found this helpful
Ronald WhiteReviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 September 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Maurice a story that has always moved me
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I remember seeing Maurice when the film was first released & getting it on VHS soon after.Read the book too & a later a life of EM Forster.
I have seen Maurice as a play some years ago twice on stage,both in London...the 2nd one at ‘Above the Stag’ pub theatre in Victoria ... which is no longer as a building but believe the theatre company new premises on the South yes l am a real fan of the narrative !
2 people found this helpful
A MartinReviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 November 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Nuanced and sensitive
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EM Forster is my favourite writer but I had never seen this film. All his work is very sensitive and nuanced and this held true for 'Maurice'. This era is one that has always fascinated me. It seems idyllic viewed from the 21st century but Maurice reveals the tensions underlying the halcyon innocence of the decade before WW1. We know, as viewers, that probably all three of the central characters will die within five years and this only adds to the poignancy.
The other thing I particularly liked about this film is that it was about romantic love, not sex per se, and the intimate portrayal of a couple falling in love was conveyed beautifully against the backdrop of society's constraints at the time. But love is love is love.
10 people found this helpful
JDPReviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 January 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the best...
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I think everyones reviews sum up very nicely how good this film is. I can only agree but wanted to add my review as this is one of my favourite films. I saw it first on Film4 on channel four when they used to show brilliant films such as this as a regular occurance. Takes me back to my mid teens when I'd watch everyone of them. Maurice particularly grabbed me and yes I did and still have a thing for Rupert Graves who plays Alec Scudder, but the whole way the film approaches the subject of homosexuality in Edwardian times, is done exceptionally well and with a thorough understanding of how on the edge it must have been then to be gay. I love the way we get to see Maurice getting to understand how he feels and in the end accepting he loves Scudder and able to tell Clive this with no shame or fear, which shows how far he comes in understanding how he feels and who he is. I love the ending to this, you would imagine considering how awful anyone who was gay was treated then, they'd have a doom and gloom ending, but nope, we get the perfect ending. The actors all play their parts brilliantly and although maybe a tad long, I watched this film so many times, I still love it to this day! This is one of the best and I say this as a straight female! A truly exceptional film.
10 people found this helpful
Ford KaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 03 June 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars
Century Later the Feeling Is Still Strong
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Over twenty years after it was made "Maurice" has changed into a classic but did not age at all. This coming-of-age and coming-to-terms story faithfully taken from E. M. Forster's novel was transferred into the screen with such adroitness that with the passage of time it rather increases its appeal.
We are transferred to the Edwardian England some years before the outbreak of the Great War. The main hero Maurice is an average student (it is funny to note that everybody including Maurice considers his studies a commendable pastime but generally a waste of time as he should go into business) who falls for a fellow student, an impoverished aristocrat Clive. Their romance is purely platonic which seems to suit Clive (who finally decides to change his minds and gets married which puts an end to their little fling) survives their Cambridge period but is clearly insufficient for Maurice. After failed attempts to cure himself of his illness (both medicine and hypnosis are used) he visits Clive in his estate and falls in love again - this time for a game-keeper. This love is consummated and provides an opening for a happy ending which neither Forster nor the movie actually offers.
The movie tells this story rather slowly, indulging in beautiful landscapes and period interiors, but one can hardly mind. It is simply a great movie with very decent performance from the cast - including Hugh Grant with a moustache.
8 people found this helpful
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