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U.S., 1953
Directed by William Wyler
Starring Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn
Screenplay by Dalton Trumbo, Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton
Approx. 118 min. DCP.

Central European princess Audrey Hepburn (in her first major role) skips out on her official schedule to enjoy Rome incognito, with opportunistic reporter Gregory Peck in tow. “No one could have brought out Hepburn’s magic as winningly as Wyler,” wrote Pauline Kael. Result: a Best Actress Oscar. “Hepburn gives an irresistible star-is-born performance. With her elfin grace, her innate air of refinement, her lovely, not quite definable accent, the musical pitch and rhythm of her delivery, her large, expressive eyes, she seems a singular creation. The film’s timing was just right: 1953, the year the film was released, was also the year of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. Royalty was in the air. Although ROMAN HOLIDAY was shot on location a few short years after the war, there is not a single reference to the country’s military defeat or to Mussolini. It’s as if rubble-free, picture-postcard-perfect Rome has been annealed, wiped clean by the reflected radiance of its star.” – Foster Hirsch


“William Wyler’s 1953 reverse-Cinderella story spends as much time exploring a European wonderland as it spends advancing its plot, though in Wyler’s case, the story is in the exploring… Wyler, working from a script by blacklistee Dalton Trumbo, lets much of the film pass without dialogue, allowing Hepburn’s immediate reactions (as enchantingly passionate now as they were 50 years ago, in what was her Hollywood debut) and her increasing physical closeness to Peck say what the characters can’t. The leisurely pace also allows for plenty of touristy gawking at the sights of Rome, and for viewers to project themselves into the sidewalk cafs, gelato stands, and crumbling ruins.”
– Noel Murray, A.V. Club

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