Roman Holiday (1953)

Not Rated   |    |  Comedy, Romance


Roman Holiday (1953) Poster

A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome.

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8.1/10
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  • Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday (1953)
  • 9202-2 "Roman Holiday" Audrey Hepburn
  • 9202-11 "Roman Holiday" Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck
  • 9202-4 "Roman Holiday" Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck
  • Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday (1953)
  • Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (1953)

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9 February 1999 | jayson-4
Lyrical relic of a vanished civilization
This charming comedy is justly famous as the film that made the whole world fall in love with Audrey Hepburn and half the world want to run out and buy a Vespa scooter. Hepburn was always beguiling, but in some of her later roles she tended to overplay the winsomeness. Here every note she hits is just about perfect.

And speaking of notes, pay special attention to the score by the great Georges Auric. If the film had been produced in the manner of modern romantic comedies, the sound track would have been larded with pop hits by Perry Como, Dinah Shore, and Frankie Laine, which would have done an awful lot to destroy the magic. Instead Auric's complex, vibrant, evocative music complements the story's inherent lyricism without upstaging it. In an era of bombastic film scoring, this seems a miracle.

Someone once said that Audrey Hepburn's was the beauty of possibility and transformation -- she was always in motion, always becoming something else. "Roman Holiday" is very much of a piece with that notion. On the surface, the film is about a princess who disguises herself as a "commoner". But in truth she's actually pretending to be a princess, at least at first. She finally becomes authentic -- is transformed and prepared to deal with her destiny -- only through the ennobling power of love and sacrifice. That's one heck of a mythic subtext and does a lot to explain "Roman Holiday's" enduring power.

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