7.0/10
10,672
63 user 37 critic

The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

Trailer
1:59 | Trailer
A film is being made of a story, set in 19th century England, about Charles, a biologist who's engaged to be married, but who falls in love with outcast Sarah, whose melancholy makes her ... See full summary »

Director:

Karel Reisz

Writers:

John Fowles (novel), Harold Pinter (screenplay)
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Evil Angels (1988)
Certificate: 12 Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A mother whose child was killed in a dingo attack in the Australian Outback fights to prove her innocence when she is accused of murder.

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Meryl Streep, Sam Neill, Dale Reeves
Silkwood (1983)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A worker at a plutonium processing plant is purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing worker safety violations at the plant.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, Cher
Certificate: 16 Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Sophie is the survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who has found a reason to live with Nathan, a sparkling if unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust. They befriend Stingo, the ... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter MacNicol
Ironweed (1987)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An alcoholic drifter spends Halloween in his home town of Albany, New York after returning there for the first time in decades.

Director: Hector Babenco
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Carroll Baker
Certificate: 6 Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A substance-addicted actress tries to look on the bright side even as she is forced to move back in with her mother to avoid unemployment.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Quaid
Plenty (1985)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A young Englishwoman spends twenty years to make whatever kind of life for herself, at the expense of others around her, in post-World War II England.

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Meryl Streep, Sam Neill, André Maranne
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A career woman reassesses her parents' lives after she is forced to care for her cancer-stricken mother.

Director: Carl Franklin
Stars: Meryl Streep, Renée Zellweger, William Hurt
Julia (1977)
Certificate: 16 Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

At the behest of an old and dear friend, playwright Lillian Hellman undertakes a dangerous mission to smuggle funds into Nazi Germany.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Respected liberal Senator Joe Tynan is asked to lead the opposition to a Supreme Court appointment. It means losing an old friend and fudging principles to make the necessary deals, as well... See full summary »

Director: Jerry Schatzberg
Stars: Alan Alda, Barbara Harris, Meryl Streep
Certificate: 16 Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A Manhattan psychiatrist probes a patient's murder and falls for the victim's mysterious mistress.

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Roy Scheider, Meryl Streep, Jessica Tandy
Certificate: AL Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

During shopping for Christmas, Frank and Molly run into each other. This fleeting short moment will start to change their lives, when they recognize each other months later in the train ... See full summary »

Director: Ulu Grosbard
Stars: Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Harvey Keitel
Certificate: AL Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Story of a schoolteacher's struggle to teach violin to inner-city Harlem kids.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Meryl Streep, Cloris Leachman, Henry Dinhofer
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Meryl Streep ... Sarah and Anna
Jeremy Irons ... Charles and Mike
Hilton McRae Hilton McRae ... Sam
Emily Morgan Emily Morgan ... Mary
Charlotte Mitchell Charlotte Mitchell ... Mrs. Tranter
Lynsey Baxter ... Ernestina
Jean Faulds Jean Faulds ... Cook
Peter Vaughan ... Mr. Freeman
Colin Jeavons ... Vicar
Liz Smith ... Mrs. Fairley
Patience Collier ... Mrs. Poulteney
John Barrett ... Dairyman
Leo McKern ... Dr. Grogan
Arabella Weir ... Girl on Undercliff
Ben Forster ... Boy on Undercliff
Edit

Storyline

A film is being made of a story, set in 19th century England, about Charles, a biologist who's engaged to be married, but who falls in love with outcast Sarah, whose melancholy makes her leave him after a short, but passionate affair. Anna and Mike, who play the characters of Sarah and Charles, go, during the shooting of the film, through a relationship that runs parallel to that of their characters. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She was lost from the moment she saw him.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 January 1982 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

La amante del teniente francés See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$22,600,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Juniper Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

First of two cinema movies starring Jeremy Irons' and written by playwright Harold Pinter. The second and final film would be around two year's later with Betrayal (1983). See more »

Goofs

Charles approaches the shore on a steam powered launch from the north. The next shot is also a shot in motion, suggesting from Charles' viewpoint, of Broad Leys, a white house high up on the shore where Sarah is working. Except the view of Broad Leys is as though from the south. See more »

Quotes

Charles Henry Smithson: [to Ernestina] I can assure you, the true charm of this world resides in this garden.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 74th Golden Globe Awards (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Prelude in C minor
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
An inspiration to Goths everywhere
19 August 2000 | by kzoofilmSee all my reviews

If you're researching the beginnings of today's Goth movement, be sure to look at this complex tale of Sarah Woodruff (Meryl Streep), a secretive, pale-skinned outcast in a 19th century English coastal town. Known to the locals as "poor tragedy," she sketches spooky self-portraits, always dresses in black and haunts the sea wall waiting for the return of a Frenchman who seduced and abandoned her. With a single, unforgettable look and such dialogue as "my only happiness is when I sleep; when I wake, the nightmare begins," Sarah bewitches visiting Londoner Charles Smithson (Jeremy Irons, in what turned out to be his big break), a paleontologist and "gentleman of leisure." The tricky screenplay by Harold Pinter contrasts the story of Sarah and Charles with the lives of actors Mike and Anna, who are playing them in a film. Offscreen, Anna is anything but Victorian, indulging in an on-location affair with Mike while her husband is away. The contrasts between the two couples born 100 years apart make for one of the most intriguing films of the early 1980s, and the performances by Irons and Streep are predictably outstanding.


34 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 63 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed