Movie Review - Roman Holiday (1953)

This movie was recently show in TV. With so many (useless) programmes vying for my attention, it was not easy for me to settle down for this movie. I had originally watched it when I was a kid during the "VCR" era.

The movie is directed by William Wyler, considered to be one of the greatest American directors of all time. He has directed more than 70 movies spanning his career. Watching his various movies is like a "master class" in the art of direction and cinematography.

Roman Holiday is one of the iconic movies of all time. The star of the movie undoubtedly being Audrey Hepburn. She deservedly picked up the Oscar for this role. Gregory Peck adds the required gravitas and charm to the movie.

The story is set in post war Rome. Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) is frustrated with the restrictions placed on her by the royal courtiers. The opening scenes with her hook you in, where she plays from demure to bored to angry with equal ease and she slips from one emotion to the other so effortlessly. She escapes the palace one night and is picked up from the streets by a newspaper reporter, Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck). 

The next day, Joe comes to know of Ann's true identity and takes her around town with this photographer friend in tow. Joe eventually hopes to make a scoop of the story. What follows is a whirlwind tour of Rome for Ann. She experiences a "normal" life she never knew of before. Inevitably, events bring the two close together. 

In the end, Joe returns Ann to the palace, gives in to his conscience and buries the story. But, this is where the director is bold enough to end the movie with both the lead characters going their separate ways. Any other director might be sorely tempted to have a more happier ending. Watch this movie for one reason, Audrey Hepburn.


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