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Passage to India

 (669)
7.32 h 43 min1985X-RayPG
Adela arrives in India to marry her fiance, a provincial magistrate. Chafing under the suburban constraints of British society and anxious to see "the real India," she is delighted to be introduced to a young Indian doctor, Aziz. Although fascinated by Aziz, Adela fails to understand his motivation or her own feelings and their awkward relationship provokes the tragic enigma of the Marabar caves.
Directors
David Lean
Starring
Alec GuinnessAntonia PembertonArt Malik
Genres
Drama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio Languages
English

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More details

Supporting actors
James FoxJudy DavisMichael CulverNigel HaversPeggy AshcroftRichard WilsonVictor Banerjee
Studio
MGM
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

669 global ratings

  1. 76% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 13% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Souro SircarReviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 May 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful restored classic movie highlighting racial persecution and rightous justice in an unexpected way.
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I got this DVD movie as a present for my parents, when their old VHS version of this that they recorded on TV ages ago started to show its age and began to deteriorate. This classical dramatic story is beautifully restored and the sound quality is excellent. It is based on a novel of the same name by E.M Forster and highlights the fierce racial tensions between the Imperial British Colonials and their oppressed Indian Subjects yearning to liberty and justice in the period of then British India. Directed by Sir David Lean who made other great films like Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia and stating great actresses like Judy Davis and actors like Sir Alec Guinness, this story is about a kindhearted Indian doctor who after befriending an aristocratic British family is wrongfully accused of raping one of the female guests whilst provided her a tour of the Marabar Caves. The drama unfolds between the spiteful English Colonials and the Vengeful Indians as the court case builds up, but he is saved in the end in an most unexpected way no one could of imagined, yet the doctor never is the same man again. Great intense film that I would highly recommend watching. There are a few extras such as galleries, trailers and filmographies but the film speaks for itself. Well constructed drama in the hope purist form. I am so kind there are DVD copies of good movies like this one nicely restored with a few extra features to interest movie collectors. Must have and buy.
10 people found this helpful
coraReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 April 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful (and Faithful) Adaption of Forster's Novel
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First off a few words about the DVD I purchased: Picture and sound quality are very nice, and English (as well as numerous foreign language) subtitles are available. Also dubbed audio versions in French and Spanish. By way of extras there is only a trailer. The run time of the film on the DVD is 2 hours 37 mins (which is 157 mins and not the 197 mins advertised in the product description - which latter is likely an error since the original release of the film was ever only 164 mins).

The story of the two British ladies travelling to India during the waning days of the Raj in probably not to everybody's taste with the prejudices and instances of racism involved. Even more problematic is the accusation of alleged rape by the young Englishwoman against her Indian guide. Thankfully, the outcome of the ensuing trial and Victor Banerjee's big scene at this point in the film are so beautifully played out and captured by the camera, that this is what is most remembered after watching the film. At least, that's what I remembered most some thirty years after first seeing this film in the cinema. Having bought the DVD and revisited the film for the first time this many years later, I must say that I struggled with parts of the story.

Technically, the film is excellent. Another example of David Lean's talent and craftsmanship as a director. Also, the acting is first class all round. I loved Peggy Ashcroft, admired Judy Davis for her flawless performance as a character I thoroughly disliked on this second watching, will never cease to admire Alec Guinness, simply adored Victor Banerjee and was delighted to see the young Nigel Havers. Also worth mentioning is the Maurice Jarre score which is rather nice. Not quite up there with the ones for Lawrence of Arabia or Doctor Zhivago though.

Good film with beautiful cinematography and stunnning Indian locations , but one that will make you think and possibly (hopefully) make you feel uncomfortable at times. Not light entertainment.
4 people found this helpful
W. A. D.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 February 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
A flawed epic.
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An excellent Blu Ray transfer of a not totally successful adaptation of Forster’s classic novel. The snobbery of many of the English characters and the “comic” absurdity of the local Indians is far too caricatured to be believed and the music score is not remotely appropriate either and sounds more like the composer’s contribution to “Dr Zhivago” than anything to do with either India or imperialism. That said, the performances of most of the central characters, particularly Victor Banerjee, Peggy Ashcroft, Edward Fox and Judy Davis, are excellent with the exception of the normally outstanding Alec Guinness as Professor Godbole. This grotesque miscasting is difficult to believe and manages to be both unbelievable and somewhat offensive at the same time, years before cultural appropriation was ever thought about in cinema. This epic, yet intimate, production is certainly worth seeing, even if the ending ultimately lacks the impact required. Forster’s novel is a complex and mysterious masterpiece which David Lean doesn’t quite manage to capture but makes a most impressive attempt to portray its richness and intellectual depth.
2 people found this helpful
ParsifalReviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 July 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
A portent of the Clash of Civilizations
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Along with "Gandhi" (1982) this is one of the great films about the twilight of the British Empire. Based on EM Forster's novel, "A Passage to India" portends the clash of civilizations against the background of racial difference in a world where the white Englishman rules, and the Indian resentfully accepts his rule. The emotional constipation of English middle-class life, Forster's prime topic in his novels, is reproduced by the British in India; oblivious to the fascinations of the sub-continent, they reproduce a version of 'home', deeming anything non-English to be inferior: from the insipid cucumber sandwiches and musical performances at the club to the hymns played at the garden party. On the symbolic level, both the novel and the film are very rich. The central incident, the delusion of Miss Quested that she has been sexually attacked in the Marabar caves by a Muslim, works on two levels: it images the fear the rulers have of the greater vitality of the ruled; and on a deeper level the caves seem to give back to the Europeans entering them a hideous parody of their deepest fear of the moment: Miss Quested's fear of sex associated with her forthcoming marriage. As a whole they seem to image the blankness at the heart of Britain's imperial splendour. The conclusion is an uncanny one as it seems politically incorrect by today's standards to echo the warning voiced by Mr. Turton, the bigoted Collector of Chandrapore: that it is unwise to get too much involved in alien cultures as "East is East".

The film is visually stunning, witness the pomp that is meant to dazzle the Indians when the Viceroy arrives in Bombay. Because of the effective camera work, I could almost feel the heat in the Marabar scene.

The cast is excellent. I particularly liked James Fox as Richard Fielding, the liberal College Principal. The supporting cast is equally convincing, including Clive Swift as Major Callendar and Antonia Pemberton as Mrs. Turton, the haughty Collector's wife.
11 people found this helpful
Andrew P. WilliamsReviewed in the United Kingdom on 03 May 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
David Lean's magnificent farewell to film making
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I saw this in my local cinema on its first release and I loved it for its majestic visual sweep. The characters are all, without exception, perfectly cast and under what was, apparently, Lean's very demanding direction, they perform magnificently. A film of unforgettable visuals and restrained, taut performances. Because I was born years after we gave away the Empire I've no idea what it must have been like to be English in India in the 20s and Forster lets no-one escape without blame, which is so true to life in any age. The DVD transfer is good. The lush music score sounds wonderful. The colour balance is fine. All in all, a fine addition to a film collection, unless you prefer CGI comic book crap
3 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 02 June 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
A PASSAGE TO INDIA [1984] [Collector's Edition] [Blu-ray]
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A PASSAGE TO INDIA [1984] [Collector's Edition] [Blu-ray] [US Import] The Best Picture Of The year!

Winner of two 1984 Academy Awards® for Best Supporting Actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Best Film Score Maurice Jarre, OSCAR® winning Director Sir David Lean 1962: ‘Lawrence of Arabia' and 1957 `The Bridge On The River Kwai' adapts E.M. Forster's novel of the political tensions in colonial India. Two-Time OSCAR® nominee Judy Davies 1984: Best Actress for ‘Husbands and Wives' stars as Adela Quested, a plucky young woman, who journeys from England with the free-spirited Mrs. Moore [Dame Peggy Ashcroft]. Flouting convention, the two women accompany the handsome Dr. Aziz [Victor Banerjee] to the mysterious Marabar Caves. But things turn ugly when Adela Quested [Judy Davies] returns injured from the expedition. As British authorities urges her to press charges against Dr. Aziz. Sadly the line separating truth and fantasy begins to blur dramatically.

FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: Academy Awards®: Win: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Peggy Ashcroft. Win: Best Music for the Original Score for Maurice Jarre. Nominated: Best Picture: John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin. Nominated: Best Directing: Sir David Lean. Nominated: Best Actress in a Leading Role for Judy Davis. Nominated: Best Writing: Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for Sir David Lean. Nominated: Best Art Direction for John Box and Leslie Tomkins. Nominated: Best Set Decoration for Hugh Scaife. Nominated: Best Cinematography for Ernest Day. Nominated: Best Costume Design for Judy Moorcroft. Nominated: Best Film Editing for Sir David Lean. Nominated: Best Sound for Graham V. Hartstone, Nicolas Le Messurier, Michael A. Carter and John W. Mitchell. Golden Globes® Awards: Win: Best Foreign Film. Win: Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for Peggy Ashcroft. Win: Best Original Score for Maurice Jarre. Nominated: Best Director for Sir David Lean. Nominated: Best Screenplay for Sir David Lean. BAFTA® Awards: Win: Best Actress in a Leading Role for Peggy Ashcroft. Nominated: Best Film. Nominated: Best Actor for Victor Banerjee. Nominated: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for James Fox. Nominated: Best Adapted Screenplay for Sir David Lean. Nominated: Best Cinematography for Ernest Day. Nominated: Best Costume Design for Judy Moorcroft. Nominated: Best Production Design for John Box. Nominated: Best Film Music for Maurice Jarre.

Cast: Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, James Fox, Sir Alec Guinness, Nigel Havers, Richard Wilson, Antonia Pemberton, Michael Culver, Art Malik, Saeed Jaffrey, Clive Swift, Ann Firbank, Roshan Seth, Sandra Hotz, Rashid Karapiet, H.S. Krishnamurthy, Ishaq Bux, Moti Makan, Mohammed Ashiq, Phyllis Bose, Sally Kinghorn, Paul Anil, Z.H. Khan, Ashok Mandanna, Dina Pathak, Adam Blackwood, Mellan Mitchell, Peter Hughes, John Michie (uncredited), Duncan Preston (uncredited) and Richard Winter-Stanbridge (uncredited)

Director: Sir David Lean

Producers: Edward Sands, John Brabourne, John Heyman and Richard B. Goodwin

Screenplay: Sir David Lean and E.M. Forster (novel)

Composer: Maurice Jarre

Cinematography: Ernest Day

Video Resolution: 1080p [Metrocolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Audio: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio, French: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish

Running Time: 164 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: If there is such a thing, the film could be described as a minor epic, one that tells a small story painted on a broad canvas. An almost unrecognisably fresh-faced and wide-eyed Judy Davis stars as Adela Quested, a young Englishwoman of the 1920s on her first trip out of Britain, visiting India to be with her fiancé working as a magistrate there. Traveling with her is feisty Mrs. Moore [Dame Peggy Ashcroft], the fiancé's elderly mother who freely speaks her mind with little regard for decorum. The two get along splendidly. Adela seeks adventure and desires to see the exotic wonders of India. Mrs. Moore is less spirited, but respects the culture and people of the land. Both are disappointed upon arrival to be shuffled off away from the real India and isolated within the strictly segregated British community living in the country, which disdain the local people and have attempted to recreate every element of their home as if they'd never left.

From the introduction to an Indian way of life to the oasis of the British Raj within it, ‘A Passage to India' hustles and bustles with a complete vibrancy. David Lean takes E.M. Forster's novel and tells the turn of the story in very much his hallmark style. In part it's down to the quality of the novel but the director really does take the credit for bringing it all to life. Ok, so it's arguably not in the league of `Lawrence of Arabia' or ‘Bridge on the River Kwai' but it's certainly no lesser a class to them.

This tale of clashing cultures is complicated when Mrs. Moore and Adela, against the wishes of Mrs. Moore's son and the stuffy Brits in their company, form a friendship with the affable Dr. Aziz, a young Indian man eager to introduce them to the glories of his country. Aziz arranges for a picnic at the distant Marabar Caves, a landmark of some spiritual significance in the mountains. Unfortunately, the trip goes disastrously wrong for all involved, and its outcome inadvertently sets off a political firestorm between the outraged Indian populace and the racist British powers in charge.

As with all of E.M. Forster's novels, 'Passage to India' is, at least in part, a story of manners and society, and the social boundaries drawn by class and race. As dramatized by Lean, the plot turns a little too preachy in its politics. It has some sudden shifts in character personalities that aren't sufficiently motivated by the events at the caves were meant to be ambiguous in the book, which was undoubtedly a tricky proposition to depict on screen, and Lean hasn't quite captured it. The last act also feels deflated and the picture wraps up with an unsatisfying anti-ending.

Modern audiences will likely find more troublesome the casting of Sir Alec Guinness painted up in brown face as the Indian character Professor Godbole. Even at the time, it was a controversial decision, if perhaps a bit more tolerable back in 1984. Thankfully, Sir Alec Guinness had the good sense to dial down the performance and avoid playing it broadly. The actor reportedly had grave reservations about taking the role and had to be talked into it by Lean. Honestly, if he weren't such a famous and recognisable British screen star, there isn't much in his portrayal to merit offense, though it does unavoidably grate.

In the film's favour, Sir David Lean mounted a stately production of the material, brought to life with lavish period detail and the director's exquisite visual sense. Despite its flaws, the movie tells a compelling story with intelligence and grace. The picture set the template for the many Merchant-Ivory adaptations of E. M. Forster's works to follow, and remains a standout in the literary period piece genre.

This is Sir David Lean at his best. Telling a story of conflict between competing cultures, exposing the bigotry and injustice inherent in an occupier-occupied state while showing audiences that there are generous, kind and compassionate people on both sides of every war, even if they are not able themselves, either through circumstance or choice, to stand up to those who perpetuate the turmoil. ‘A Passage to India’ is a strong film that in spite of its flaws gives one faith that in a just world, everyone can stand side-by-side without fear.

It is also truly wonderful that they can bring classic films like this right up to speed with the latest that the format has to offer. The video aspects of the film are excellent and Sony Pictures brings you a fantastic high definition re-incarnation of this film. It's one to be proud of for sure and I only wish that the audio had been equally as good. The included extra's make for excellent viewing and add real value to this Blu-ray disc. They've been thoughtfully put together and there is plenty of intelligent comment about the film from both the cast and senior crew. Bring the whole package together and this classic film becomes a totally recommended purchase.

Blu-ray Video Quality – 'A Passage to India' comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Like most of the studio's product, the disc opens with an annoying Blu-ray promo. Apparently, nobody at the studio realises that someone already watching a Blu-ray disc doesn't need to be sold on how great Blu-ray is. Eschewing the wide CinemaScope grandeur of his most famous epics, David Lean opted to shoot 'A Passage to India' in a standard "flat" theatrical aspect ratio, allegedly to ensure that it would translate better to TV viewing. The Blu-ray is presented in a 1.66:1 European ratio, with small pillar-box bars on the sides of the 16:9 widescreen frame. The 1080p transfer has clearly undergone some restoration work since past home video editions, and looks very good for a Metrocolor production of the era. The source elements have a little bit of instability, including flesh tones that occasionally waiver from pallid to pinkish. Otherwise, the picture has very nice colour, detail, and texture. The individual beads of sweat on an actor's face are often strikingly visible. Being a Lean film, the photography is naturally quite gorgeous with stunning travelogue-style landscapes. The High-Definition image has a great many scenes of excellent clarity. On the downside, it appears that Sony has applied some artificial sharpening. Although edge halos aren't a problem, film grain often has a noisy electronic texture. Contrasts have also been boosted to give the video some extra pop, and the results can sometimes be a little hard on the eyes. Nevertheless, this is a fine-looking disc sure to please fans of the film.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The audio comes in the guise of a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack and I was actually a little taken aback by it. For a film of both its style and age I wasn't expecting much surround channel activity but you certainly do get some here. The rears can be filled with strange effects, from the bands playing the national anthem to the echoes in the Marabar Caves. The award winning score by Maurice Jarre accompanies the film at every opportunity and leaves you uplifted with a sense of joy. The style of the mix is certainly not unwelcome, but I was expecting this to be a front sound space dialogue centric affair. Speaking of which, the dialogue does tend to edge on the tinnier side of things. However, it's not gratingly so and dependent on your set up you may feel that it is fine. Personally I wish it had been a bit more balanced and be smoothed out.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: Most of the extras are presented in 1080p with some of the older material being in the 4:3 aspect ratio.

Audio Commentary: Commentary with Producer Richard Goodwin: Richard Goodwin is certainly a fellow who draws his words with measure. The commentary does as a result become rather too slow and as you progress further into the film the pauses between the scenes become increasingly so. He also begins to fall into the trap of simply pointing out the obvious in what is literally is happening onscreen. Nevertheless, once you get into his style, it's worth sticking with.

Special Feature: Beyond the Passage [1984] Calling this feature "picture-in-picture" is kind of misleading. Instead of video clips displayed on top of the film, at certain moments the entire film image pauses briefly and then is shrunk down to a small portion of the screen, surrounded by a large border with trivia text notes printed to the side. After a few moments it will pause again and return to normal proportions. The disc case makes no mention of whether this function is a "Bonus View" enabled or requires a Profile 1.1 capable Blu-ray player. There is no secondary audio to go with the screen graphics. I suspect that this is a simple use of branching, and not a true “Bonus View” facility. It is possible to listen to the audio commentary while this feature is also active, and I recommend that combination to save time. The trivia notes are only mildly interesting and sparsely distributed. Frankly, the whole thing is annoyingly designed. The trivia notes would have been better served to appear as pop-up subtitles.

Special Feature: E.M. Forster: Profile of an Author [1984] [6:54] Peter Jones of Kings College Cambridge simply talks about the writer, his life and his works. Overall it's a very informative and interesting biography of the writer.

Special Feature: An Epic Takes Shape [1984] [10:55] The cast and crew re-collect the experience of working with Sir David Lean and what it took to make the film. Most of it is led by Richard Goodwin and it's once again very measured and informative.

Special Feature: An Indian Affair [1984] [13:38] This really follows on from the preceding extra and the crew talk about India itself. What the attractions of this country are and how they went about trying to recreate the feel of the British Raj.

Special Feature: Only Connect: A Vision of India [1984] [10:34] Cast and crew discuss the movie once again but matters are a little more intimate here. You get to hear a lot of recollection in the way Sir David Lean used to do things and is interspersed with scenes from the film. The re-creation of India within the Shepperton Studios as well as the cultural reaction to this film is discussed.

Special Feature: Casting a Classic [1984] [11:22] As you would expect the cast talk about how they were approached by Sir David Lean to ask to play their parts in the film. This is all pretty straightforward interview stuff really, but sadly both Judy Davis and Victor Bannerjee are missing. A highlight here is when Nigel Havers gives his thoughts on Judy Davis. Hmmm I don't think they got on whilst making this film.

Special Feature: David Lean: Shooting with the Master [1984] [13:23] The cast talk extensionally about their relationship with Sir David Lean and his style of direction. It's interesting to note that his style was very much from an editorial perspective. He also comes across as a man who knew his own mind and was set in his ways. Who are we to argue? He certainly knew his stuff and delivered it impeccably.

Special Feature: Reflections of David Lean [1984] [480i] [4:3] [8:17] This is taken from VT footage of an interview with Sir David Lean himself. This is essential viewing and you simply have to watch this to appreciate the man and his intellectual thoughts.

Special Feature: The David Lean Collection [1984] [1:56] A big American Promo Trailer informing us that the following Sir David Lean films ‘Bridge on the River Kwai,' ‘Lawrence of Arabia' and of course ‘A Passage to India' are now available on a 2-disc Special Blu-ray and DVD Collections.

Trailer: Blu-ray Discs is High Definition [1080p] [00:30] A massive Promo Trailer for the Sony Blu-ray format.

Finally, I cannot praise this truly classic film ‘A Passage to India' that brought back so many memories when I first saw this film when it was released in 1984, and gosh where has the time flown by, and I feel the way they have remastered this film on the Blu-ray format has made the film look even more stunning when it was originally released. One thing that really shocked me is when you see in the Extras and the people who helped Sir David Lean behind the scenes, where they will tell you that he was such a perfectionist and knew what he wanted out of everyone, especially the Actors, that he actually Edited the film himself and it is NOT credited anywhere and they felt he was robbed in NOT getting an OSCAR® for Best Editor. But despite this, the film is a totally magical experience and it makes you feel you are actually there and gives you the exotic flavour of India of the time and the way the British Empire treated the Indian people in such a terrible way. So all in all, if any of you Blu-ray aficionados out there who have not got this in your Blu-ray Collection, then you are missing out on something truly special and spectacular and now I am proud to add this to my ever increasing Blu-ray David Lean Collection and will give you endless hours of viewing pleasure. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
8 people found this helpful
JayRReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 December 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Blu ray restored video outstanding - audio shockingly bad
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The restoration for this blu ray provides a sumptuous picture but shockingly poor audio - dialogue is totally drowned out by deafening ambient sounds. Crank up the volume to try and hear what is being said and you will burst your ear drums when the sound effects kick in - which it does a lot during the first part of the film. Why do media companies spend so much time and money on producing stunning image quality and then expect viewers to put up with inaudible dialogue? What is the point of having a script if audiences cannot hear what is being said? Nearly a century ago films / movies became “talkies”. Not any more, they’re not, when audience expectations to be able to hear and understand the dialogue is treated with such contempt.
XReviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 October 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
It was pink!!!!!
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I needed to watch this quickly as it was a cheat book club watch rather than read as I’d been unable to read the book.
It had about five minutes of normal colour at the beginning, and at the end, and the rest was gloriously pink!
Took the shine off a wonderful story, or rather , made everyone, including the landscape look sunburned!
2 people found this helpful
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