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The Browning Version

The Browning Version

1951
Drama
1h 30m
On the last day of term at a boys private school, a new master arrives to familiarise himself. His predecessor, Crocker-Harris is much hated in the school but his younger wife seems more popular and not only with the pupils (imdb)
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The Browning Version

1951
Drama
1h 30m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 79.37% from 280 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(279)
Compact view
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Rated 28 Feb 2007
97
99th
There's no shortage of horrible movies about teachers who use offbeat and heartwarming techniques to instill a passion for learning. But it's rare to see a story about the opposite: the stoic, demanding, condescending taskmaster who no one likes. And rarer still is a story that can make you feel sympathy for such a man. The entire cast is good, but it's Redgrave who really shines, expertly displaying the heart behind a heartless man. A nearly flawless film.
Rated 01 Apr 2008
89
92nd
A really moving picture about the student-teacher relationship. What makes it unique is that it doesn't focus on some upbeat inspirational story but rather on a retiring teacher trying to put his life in perspective. Wonderfully acted and builds up very well to the climax.
Rated 24 Jan 2010
90
85th
I'm sure we've all had some teachers who clearly knew their stuff but failed to excite. Andrew Crocker-Harris is that teacher archetype taken to its extreme. He's got a prime specimen of that particularly uniquely British demeanor: measured, emotionless, erudite, condescending. This is not so much a story of a teacher as it's a story of a man who has been left dead on the inside by a joyless marriage. The heartbreaking thing is that he's as painfully aware of it as anyone else.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
90
97th
An interesting and touching look at a retiring teacher. Redgrave delivers a restrained and powerful performance as an ornery failure - a refreshing portrayal in comparison to the loads of recent "young, idealistic and inspiring" teacher dramas. This really gets to the heart of the reflections and anxieties of a teacher, or anyone who's past their prime, and the possibility of redemption.
Rated 15 Sep 2010
100
99th
Deeply moving and devastating, the film reveals its hand slowly. Once everyone's standpoints are established, it's hard to believe that any good will come to Crocker-Harris, which only makes the ending more poignant.
Rated 19 Mar 2010
4
70th
Brilliant in its restraint and economy. There's not a wasted line of dialogue, nor any unnecessary stylistic flourishes or camera movements. It's as tightly written a script as I've come across. Its stage origins are clear, but it distinguishes itself with expert compositions and use of lighting. And the cast is uniformly superb, with Redgrave as the obvious standout. If there are any notable flaws with this film, I have yet to think of them.
Rated 01 Mar 2007
65
73rd
A classic and must see for film fans.
Rated 02 Aug 2014
96
92nd
Sensitively filmed and acted film maintains a delicate balancing act, remaining true to its theatrical roots without ever being stagey -- full credit to Asquith's smooth direction, and a gut-puncher of a performance from Redgrave, bringing life and humanity to the cold and condescending Crocker-Harris (what an incredible break-down scene). Heightened by a flawless supporting cast; Kent as the even icier wife, beloved colleague Patrick and Smith's sympathetic student are all especially fine.
Rated 15 Dec 2012
86
87th
It really does a good job of making the kind of teacher that is usually the villain in a bad 80s comedy into a sympathetic human being. It's one of the better character studies that I've seen.
Rated 19 Nov 2017
95
99th
Blew me away. Both the script and Redgrave's performance are sublime.
Rated 18 Dec 2023
74
84th
While it’s true that the protagonist is the only character who is truly fleshed out, and that his cuckolding wife is a caricature, Redgrave’s performance and the quality of his dialogue are enough to make this ultimately quite a moving film about a man wrestling with his faults and his shame. For myself, I’m very fond of the Tony Harrison Version.
Rated 22 Jul 2009
90
97th
Crocker-Harris is the meanest, coldest and at the same time most sympathetic old geezer since Nikolai Stepanovich from Chekhov's "A Boring Story". The tragedy consists in that right about the time of his retirement, he begins to see the error of his ways. Browning is an exceptionally moving, emotional film that nevertheless consistently avoids sentimentality.
Rated 13 Aug 2021
79
80th
I think it's apt to say-There's no experience quite like The Browning Version. It snares you in it's narrative trap, little by little you become immersed in, what on the surface, looks to be this entirely droll affair. The trap being that this film in no way is an exploration of artistically generalising the same formulaic plots of the time, but instead, an expression of the psychological..humans living their lifes and their truly relatable slice of life quandary's. And I absolutely adore that
Rated 20 Jun 2016
81
88th
Watching this film the week of the #Brexit referendum proved a good choice. I can't help but hope the entire leadership of both campaigns will sit down and watch it and then get back to us when they do their post-mortems on their conduct these past weeks. As for the film, it is an economical drama that all teachers can profit from viewing.
Rated 15 Aug 2023
96
91st
Though kind of a somber film, the writing and performances are of the highest level. A private school Latin teacher reflects on his career.
Rated 16 Jan 2010
83
67th
You'll learn to love this loser
Rated 15 Feb 2012
68
25th
Well-acted and the end result nearly saved it, but ultimately found it dry and underwhelming. Would not watch again.
Rated 28 Oct 2013
87
91st
86.500
Rated 20 Jul 2018
77
74th
Economically tragic
Rated 07 Aug 2019
90
96th
I'm a big fan of a character study and this is one of the best.
Rated 16 Mar 2021
87
82nd
Nunca te Amei estreava há 70 anos em Londres. https://letterboxd.com/ladyspiggott/film/the-browning-version/
Rated 07 May 2017
65
61st
This really is a one man film with Redgrave as Crocker-Harris putting on a wonderful performance. I felt for him before the film even started to tell me to feel for him. That being said, the film doesn't feel as mature as it tries to be. Some of the characters feel too much like characters, and the climax of the film is too much like, well, the climax to a film. Something a bit more quiet would have been much more powerful.
Rated 13 Nov 2015
73
80th
A more sentimental alternative to Death of a Salesman that navigates daringly between two perspectives of the teacher. Redgrave elegantly portraits his condescending and tender sides, but the way to his emotional transformation is also full of narrative pawns, knocked over one by one.
Rated 03 Jun 2023
80
99th
A heartfelt story on self-reflection coming alive brilliantly through Michael Redgrave's subdued delivery. Such a minor story too which Anthony Asquith makes into this truly beautiful, at the same time pitiful, portrait of a man down. A film so nuanced that I'm sure will make new revelations on each viewing.

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