The Remains of the Day (1993)



Critic Consensus: Smart, elegant, and blessed with impeccable performances from Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, The Remains of the Day is a Merchant-Ivory classic.

The Remains of the Day Videos & Photos

Movie Info

Filmed with the usual meticulous attention to period and detail of films from Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, The Remains of the Day is based on a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. Anthony Hopkins plays Stevens, the "perfect" butler to a prosperous British household of the 1930s. He is so unswervingly devoted to serving his master, a well-meaning but callow British lord (James Fox), that he shuts himself off from all emotions and familial relationships. New housekeeper Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson) tries … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Harold Pinter
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 6, 2001
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


as Miss Kenton

as Lord Darlington

as Father

as Cardinal

as Dupont D'Ivry

as Auctioneer

as Landlady

as Mrs. Mortimer the Co...

as Charlie, Head Footm...

as George, - 2nd Footma...

as Sir Leonard Bax

as Canon Tufnell

as Viscount Bigge

as Viscount Bigge

as Scullery Boy

as Baroness

as Dr Meredith

as Postmaster

as Sir Geoffrey Wren

as Wren's Friend

as Harry Smith

as Publican

as Publican's Wife

as Andrews

as Dr. Carlisle

as Prime Minister

as Lord Halifax

as Foreign Office Offic...

as German Ambassador

as German Embassy Offic...

as German Embassy Offic...

as Police Constable

as Dupont D'Ivry
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Remains of the Day

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for The Remains of the Day

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (9)

The actors keep this interesting, but as a story it drifts and rambles.

Full Review… | February 11, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

All the meticulousness, intelligence, taste and superior acting that one expects from Merchant Ivory productions have been brought to bear.

Full Review… | February 11, 2008
Top Critic

Who else but Merchant Ivory to give the big-screen treatment to Ishiguro's Booker Prize-winning novel about class, fascism and the stiff upper lip?

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Here's a film for adults. It's also about time to recognize that Mr. Ivory is one of our finest directors, something that critics tend to overlook because most of his films have been literary adaptations.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

What do you call filmmakers who make literary entertainment box office in the age of Beavis and Butt-bead? Try miracle workers.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

A subtle, thoughtful movie.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Remains of the Day


A beautifully wrought piece about the dangers of living through the affairs of aristocracy, this film is the embodiment of the Merchant-Ivory set of films while also being a fairly faithful adaptation of the book by Kazuo Ishiguro. Though the book is well represented and the overall message and grandeur of the film was in no way affected, I did take issue with several liberties that changed scenes in the book, raised questions that needn't be, and arguably some choices were simply unavoidably strange. Characters were merged, POVs were changed, and undertones were glaring. But I digress, this film does justice to the text by showing the incomparable Anthony Hopkins in a role that could only belong to him. His instincts as a servant and as a man with "dignity," as he espouses, truly embodied the character of Stevens. He seemed bland, yet affected, kind yet unbothered, and clinical while being personable and repressed. Oh, was he repressed. So enters Emma Thompson as Miss. Kenton, the housekeeper who keeps Stevens on his toes and challenges his pre-conceived notions. Their relationship really is the entire film, while also being about loyalty to someone who is blindly being led astray themselves in a long train of unforgiving ignorance. Stevens though, is a character whose psyche just goes deeper and deeper, a well of misgivings and fraudulent narration, unreliable in his own emotions and the way the facts of the film are presented. You want him to rendezvous with the one he longs for, but he is tethered by the belief that he has a grand purpose, and if he doesn't see it through than his entire life has been wasted. Next to Random Harvest this is the saddest film I have ever seen, because it rallies around an idea as old as time, and then doesn't see it to fruition. It's about longing, love, manipulation, and the callous reality that a life worth living is not expected to always be great. I find this film, and the book it is based off of, to be beautiful and poignant in its tender recognition of humanity. Though I don't agree with some decisions by the screenwriter and director, I do agree that this was a film that was difficult to put together, as there was first person narration in the book and none here. It really was a film that achieved on a level unexpected, and stayed heart warming throughout.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

While the movie was full of excellent performances, the story itself didn't leave an impression strong enough on me (yeah, again expectations were high, thanks to IMDb ratings). Besides, the execution wasn't effective enough to keep me glued to the movie. If anything was done quite right, it was the casting of the movie. That's what made this 2+ hours journey tolerable for me.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer


I am a sucker for starched-collar, buttoned-down romance, and this movie is pretty much the definition of that. Also, it has old people. I LOVE old people love stories. Ishiguro I'm not too crazy about, but I can forgive him.

Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

The Remains of the Day Quotes

– Submitted by Chad E (3 years ago)
– Submitted by rob g (4 years ago)
– Submitted by rob g (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Remains of the Day on our Movie forum!