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A Passage to India

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United Kingdom, United States · 1984
Rated PG · 2h 44m
Director David Lean
Starring Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee, Peggy Ashcroft, James Fox
Genre Adventure, Drama, History

Set during the period of growing influence of the Indian independence movement in the British Raj. A British woman, Miss Adela Quested arrives in India to join her fiancé, a city magistrate named Ronny Heaslop. Adela befriends an Indian doctor, Aziz H. Ahmed, and culture’s clash after Adela accuses Aziz of rape.

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Time Out by

Not for literary purists, but if you like your entertainment well tailored, then feel the quality and the width.


Miami Herald by Bill Cosford

Old-fashioned isn't necessarily bad. In Lean's case it can be immensely entertaining, because he knows how to build a story. At 76, he is still quite vital a force behind the camera, and he makes A Passage to India, born a comedy of manners, into high melodrama. [11 Jan 1985, p.D1]


Chicago Reader by Dave Kehr

David Lean's studied, plodding, overanalytic direction manages to kill most of the meaning in E.M. Forster's haunting novel of cultural collision in colonial India.


Empire by Ian Nathan

Perhaps, it was the choice of material, a much more internalised story despite its glossy Raj setting, or the absence of Robert Bolt as screenwriter (it was he who put the fire in Lean’s belly), but the film, for all Lean’s innate elegance, is strangely remote and unmoving.


The A.V. Club by Noel Murray

While it isn't as brilliant as his The Bridge On The River Kwai or Lawrence Of Arabia, Lean's final film is just as meticulously designed, because more than any other filmmaker of his era, he understood how the right hat could say as much about a character —and a society—as any line of dialogue.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

Forster's novel is one of the literary landmarks of this century, and now David Lean has made it into one of the greatest screen adaptations I have ever seen.


The New York Times by Vincent Canby

Mr. Lean's Passage to India, which he wrote and directed, is by far his best work since The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia and perhaps his most humane and moving film since Brief Encounter.

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