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The Remains of the Day

7.82 h 8 min1993X-RayU
Stevens (Anthony Hopkins) is the perfect English butler. Now employed by Mr. Lewis (Christopher Reeve), the new American owner of Darlington Hall, Stevens has spent the best part of his working life serving Lord Darlington (James Fox), the host of many prestigious international conferences in the 1930's. It was only when the war broke out in 1939, that Lord Darlington's involvement with the Naz..
James Ivory
Anthony HopkinsEmma ThompsonJames Fox
None Available
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Supporting actors
Christopher ReevePeter VaughanHugh GrantMichael LonsdaleTim Pigott-SmithPatrick Godfrey
Mike NicholsJohn CalleyIsmail Merchant
Columbia Pictures
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4.5 out of 5 stars

1920 global ratings

  1. 70% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 17% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Mark BarryReviewed in the United Kingdom on 07 March 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
"...It Is Not My Place..." - The Remains Of The Day On BLU RAY
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I own 7 titles in this Sony Pictures BLU RAY series (see PS below) and the picture quality on some of these reissues has been hit and miss for me - "Guns Of Navarone", "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" and "Stand By Me" are good rather than great - while "Gandhi", "The Bridge Of The River Kwai" and "From Here To Eternity" look utterly amazing. So it's with relief that I can say the transfer of 1993's "The Remains Of The Day" looks truly beautiful on this well laid out and well thought out 2013 Anniversary Edition BLU RAY.

Tony Pierce-Robert's masterful cinematography is brought out in a way you've never seen it before in this quality transfer. It's defaulted to 2.40 (bars top and bottom) - but even stretched to full aspect - the grain on the huge number of indoor shots is very minimal. It fact giving the picture a bit of distance - it could be "Downton Abbey" in High Def - it's that well filmed. Boarding House signs, the family Daimler car, the crunch of the gravel outside the huge Darlington House door, a bead of sweat dripping off the old man's nose as he serves at table, the squeak of leather shoes, chucking water over a kitchen table to wash it - it all looks and sounds glorious.

Anthony Hopkins (playing James Stevens) and Emma Thompson (playing Miss Kenton) had just come off "Howard's End" in 1991 - so they knew each other very well - and were ideal casting for this kind of material (Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep were once muted for the parts with Mike Nichols as the Director). Equally impressive is James Fox as Lord Darlington, a young Hugh Grant (pre "Four Weddings" fame) and English stalwart Peter Vaughan playing Hopkins' frail father. There are also small parts for Ben Chaplin (ITV's "Mad Dogs") and Lena Headey (Queen Cersei Lannister in "Game Of Thrones"). This is a world where people say "my dear boy" at dinner, there are 12 for tea and a scullery maid who's eloped with a footman is described as a "bad business".

The principal Extra "The Filmmaker's Journey" features interviews with Hopkins, Thompson, James Fox and Christopher Reeves, Director James Ivory, Producers Ismail Merchant and James Calley and novelist Kazuo Ishiguro.

AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French, German, Italian and Spanish Dolby Surround
SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish.
1. Ultraviolet Code - To Download the movie for mobile devices
2. The Remains Of The Day: The Filmmakers Journey
3. Blind Loyalty, Hollow Honor: England's Fatal Flaw
4. Love & Loyalty: The Making Of The Remains Of The Day
5. Deleted Scenes

"The Remains Of The Day" is such a quality piece of filmmaking - a life wasted in servitude (dialogue above) - not taking a chance on love when it's presented to you. And the ache that Hopkins and Thompson are able to bring to the piece is almost red raw.

This is a top class reissue - and I wish there were more of them...

PS: Film fans will probably have noticed that original issues of this 'UK' Sony Pictures series of releases have generic artwork - usually a gold-banded card wrap on the outside with a number on the top of the spine (blue band on top, gold stripe set against a white sleeve). Although it doesn't say so on anywhere on the artwork - this 'UK' set of BLU RAY releases has become known as the "Sony Collectors Series".

"The Remains Of The Day" is number 19 so far (as of March 2014). Here are the other titles in the series - all of which originally came with numbered 'card wraps' as follows:

1. Taxi Driver (35th Anniversary Edition) (1976)
2. The Bridge On The River Kwai (Collectors Edition) (1957)
3. Stand By Me (25th Anniversary Edition) (1986)
4. Gandhi (2 Disc Special Edition) (1982)
5. Easy Rider (Special Edition) (1969)
6. Midnight Express (Special Edition) (1978)
7. Boyz N The Hood (20th Anniversary Edition) (1991)
8. Das Boot (2 Disc Director's Cut) (1981)
9. The Guns Of Navarone (50th Anniversary Edition) (1961)
10. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (2 Disc Special Edition) (1977)
11. Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (Special Edition) (1964)
12. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Special Edition) (2000)
13. The Caine Mutiny (Special Edition) (1954)
14. Lawrence Of Arabia (50th Anniversary Edition) (1962)
15. Bram Stoker's Dracula (Special Edition) (1993)
16. Groundhog Day (Special Edition) (1993)
17. Glory (Special Edition) (1990)
18. From Here To Eternity (Anniversary Edition) (1953)
19. The Remains Of The Day (Anniversary Edition) (1993)
5 people found this helpful
Dr Jacques COULARDEAUReviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 November 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
Oh yes that world has existed!
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Quaintness is a British style and anyone born and bred in that country knows everything about service when it is service to a lord. The servants of these lords are a species of servants quite different from anything we can imagine and Anthony Hopkins is making the depicting and rendering of this profession one of the most perfect and intriguing pieces of cinema about the humanity of these servants.

It is true English literature is absolutely full of models, including Shakespeare though this latter one preferred his nurses and maids insolent and witty. Are they still humans, or are they robots. We will actually never know. They are able to behave and react along the same line no matter what happens. His old father trips and hurts himself, his old father dies during his service, fascists from Germany are roaming around and trying to manipulate the Prime Minister and the Lord his highness and lordship, an American delegate slaps them all across the face by calling them amateurs, his housekeeper leaves him to marry and ends up crying all her heart out, two Jewish refugees are fired because they are Jewish, anything, really anything may happen and nothing will change the course of their service, of their life of service.

They don't hear, they don't see, they don't think, they don't know anything, anyone, anywhere and at any time. Never will one single word stand out in the discourse of these servants, not one button be untied, not one shoe be unpolished, one hair stand upright instead of being curbed down. They are automatons that are just intelligent enough to pass the wine around and not pour mustard in the glasses. That world has vanished of course, mostly, and such caricatures of humanity have been mostly erased from our memory, especially since television has produced innumerable funny comedies on such valets in today's world.

So why do they do it? To live well without having to think of any problem or difficulty? Anything and everything is taken care of? They are wing props that will never come on stage and shine but they like obscurity, shadow, shade, invisibility? Apart from that quaint vision of a quaint world that has disappeared, thanks God in any religion imaginable, what's left? People who can look on their lives and consider that they have achieved nothing, they have reached no real target, they have been no one, no one of any importance, they have shown no self pride and no self esteem because the self is just beyond that world for servants. Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson play their parts with so much truth and dedication that we even believe after all it might have been a good thing.

They would have accepted to be thrown alive into the incinerators in Auschwitz or Buchenwald and they may even have said "Thank you, Sir, and I am glad I can be of service!" It is all the more poignant and pathetic because the Lord and master was a pro-nazi activist and tried to sell England to Berlin, though he only managed to sell Czechoslovakia in Munich. Any honest British citizen should have resigned when asked to dismiss two Jewish Girls because they were Jewish and actually found a way to tell the public and warn them about the villainy that was being prepared: more than fifty million dead in the world. They are the leftovers of a banquet they have not even tasted.

2 people found this helpful
Mr IReviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 February 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good Film
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Good film. A bit slow in parts but interesting. High quality cast.
Jonathan AshbyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 May 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
All time classic
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Brilliant book and film.
Paddy BriggsReviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 November 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant movie making with a very good DVD which includes lots of extras.
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The original plan was for Mike Nichols to direct a film with Harold Pinter’s script of Kazuo Ishiguro‘s Booker Prize winning novel with Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep. It’s intriguing to speculate how that would have turned out. Very differently I think! But this is a Merchant Ivory creation indistinguishable in style and form from any of their other great movies together. And for this story it is perfect. Add Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, British to their fingertips, phenomenally intelligent both as actors and people and you have a recipe for success. That success is not just about a winning combination between writer, producer, director and lead players (though it is that). It is about understanding and understatement of a peculiar quintessentially English reserved and restrained style of behaviour. Ishiguro gets to the heart of this in his book and scriptwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala pares the Book down in an almost minimalist way. It works brilliantly.

The English characteristics revealed and gently satirised here also include the assumption of rightness - that the English are best. In the character of Lord Darlington we have an aristocratic meddling amateur who is used by the Nazis in the 1930s as a useful fool in their desire for an early accommodation with the British Government. Appeasement. This is watched from close to by the Butler Stephens (Hopkins) who has all the deference and sycophancy of an “I know my place” servant. Emma Thompson as Sarah Kenton the housekeeper, younger, brighter, more liberal than Stephens, sees all this and is shocked. She does not want to be trapped by convention whereas Stephens hides his emotions and relishes the restraint that convention gives him. Form before emotion.

The love story (and it clearly is that) between Stephens and Kenton is not just unconsummated but undeclared. The tension is palpable and you want to shout “Go for it” but, of course, they don’t. This is acting of the very highest quality - directing as well for that matter. It is is a great film and the DVD adds more with the excellent extras including extended interviews with the principals. Highly Recommended.
6 people found this helpful
kathReviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 March 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
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Loved Anthony Hopkins in the film but the book goes much deeper. Loved it.
Maria HillReviewed in the United Kingdom on 02 November 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Excellently packaged, very pleased with the item.
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Very pleased with my DVD, excellent service.
rob stirlingReviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 July 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A painstakingly measured portrait of unrequited love.
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Beautifully photographed and with the distinctive Merchant Ivory stamp, a flavour acquired by myself as I've got older to be honest and I freely admit that I had no time for the pairing years ago. Perhaps age and the vulnerability that comes hand in glove with it, and of course 'lockdown', has made me appreciate the subtleties of this acting and visual feast much more than before.
Merchant Ivory has a trademark : credits at the end of their films could be rubber stamped onto most of their films. Garrard (the Crown Jewellers), Arthur Sanderson & Sons (fabrics,paint and wallpapers), the National Trust (filming locations), Earls, Dukes, Lords & Hunts (personal filming quarters), and of course castles, parks, courts and Houses that always elevate the productions to an amazing level.

Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson radiate throughout, Hopkins in particular with a pulsating performance if you could describe the purr of a Bentley robust ---- he is one of the few actors who understands that less is more.
Multi languages and subtitles including English. Massive bonus features deserving of such a fine film.
8 people found this helpful
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