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The Passionate Friends

7.21 h 30 min1949PG
David Lean’s other, lesser known film about a love triangle spent too long in Brief Encounter’s shadow, but is now regarded as a fine, gripping drama.
David Lean
Ann ToddClaude RainsTrevor Howard
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Pinewood Films
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3.8 out of 5 stars

53 global ratings

  1. 57% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 13% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 19% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

PizzaroReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 January 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars
A classy, enjoyable showcase from David Lean In the period before his grand cinema spectacles.
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Extremely interesting and absorbing drama that generates tension and suspense about what actions the intelligent, civilized, international banker Claude Raines will take as clues filter in about the restlessness of his younger wife. Some of the most effective scenes are those of smouldering volcano Raines, particularly a delicious scene where Raines is on the patio in Swtzerland dictating a high level letter about investment risks while fiddling with a pair of new binoculars. His dictation trails off as he intermittently praises the amazing detail the binoculars provide and sweeps them in ever widening arcs across the lake. Then he returns to the dictation, puts the glasses down, can't resist picking them up again, resuming and interrupting the dictation repeatedly while we squirm in our seats knowing that any second the binoculars will alight on Ann Todd and Trevor Howard returning by motorboat from an innocent, clandestine, all day cable car ride up the Swiss mountain, whiich Raines will misinterpret. The scene is exquisitely handled in all respects, with superb dissection of every conceivable possibility for tension and suspense building. This scene is an extremely accomplished achievement of cinema accomplishment, with an intricate unfolding of micro-events that are unforgettable, employing just a dictation setting at a table on a patio, the efficient secretary taking shorthand and a pair of binoculars. This is CINEMA first and foremost, with David Lean not tempted to reduce it to a standard adultery-suspicion formula and all actors rise to this higher purpose. There are some clumsy flashbacks and the sound is so faint one needs headphones to reduce listening strain, but the print is of pristine quality and, overall, it's a rare treat. There are easy to read subtitles to compensate for the faint sound.
21 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 October 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
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Having read mixed reviews about this film I decided to buy it anyway. I watched it right to the very end but was tempted to switch off numerous times. Brief Encounter, this is not. Must be one of the worst films I've watched. Describing it as terrible is an understatement!
Susie BookwormReviewed in the United Kingdom on 03 April 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
A beautiful to look at film.
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A beautiful to look at film, well restored. It is well acted, with the three main actors making the best of the material they have to work with. It's a kind of Brief Encounter for the rich but doesn't quite come off. I would not call it a classic but it is an enjoyable watch. Anne Todd's costumes are to die for.
2 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 June 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
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Good old film. Thanks good service
Mr. David TitleyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 March 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
Lacks passion, a handsome lead and friendship....
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I love to see Claude Rains but here he is deprived of displaying any passion at all.
The pace is slow and many of the scenes are needless. A sort of long brief encounter but not so well done!
ClaudebReviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 March 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Enduring encounter
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David Lean's passionate story of a love triangle in pre and post-war Britain has almost as much suspense as Hitchcock, marvelous locations and superb performances. This film should be at least as celebrated as his more well-known Brief Encounter.
AnonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 February 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
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DVD had a few frozen moments towards the end.
G.L.E.P.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 December 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
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Loved this film. Ann Todd graces the screen.
One person found this helpful
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