Gosford Park


Gosford Park

Critics Consensus

A mixture of Upstairs, Downstairs, Clue, and perceptive social commentary, Gosford Park ranks among director Altman's best.



Total Count: 158


Audience Score

User Ratings: 48,445
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Gosford Park Photos

Movie Info

Maverick American filmmaker Robert Altman takes a witty and absorbing look at the foibles of the British class system in this intelligent murder mystery set in the early '30s. Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon) and his wife Lady Sylvia (Kristin Scott Thomas) are a pair of wealthy British socialites who have invited a variety of friends, relatives, and acquaintances to their mansion in the country for a weekend of hunting and relaxation. Among the honored guests are Constance (Maggie Smith), Lady Sylvia's matronly aunt; Ivor Novello (Jeremy Northam), William's cousin who is also a well-known actor and songwriter; and Morris Weissman (Bob Balaban), an American film producer who is friendly with Ivor and researching an upcoming project. Observing the proceedings are the domestic staff of the mansion, including imperious butler Jennings (Alan Bates); footmen George (Richard E. Grant) and Arthur (Jeremy Swift); Probert (Derek Jacobi), a valet to Sir William; housekeeper Mrs. Wilson (Helen Mirren); Mrs. Croft (Eileen Atkins), who oversees the kitchen; and Elsie (Emily Watson), a maid. Also on hand are the guests' personal servants, including Mary (Kelly Macdonald), Constance's maid; Henry (Ryan Phillippe), Weissman's valet; and Parks (Clive Owens), a butler. While the servants are required to display a high level of decorum, they are expected to be passive observers who do not comment on what they see, though the gossip among them travels thick and fast once they retire to the servants' quarters downstairs. And it turns out that there's plenty worth gossiping about, especially after Sir William turns up dead, and everyone is ordered to stay at the mansion while the police investigate the killing. Gosford Park also features Charles Dance, Tom Hollander, Natasha Wightman, and Ron Webster; the screenplay was written by Julian Fellowes, based on a story by Altman and co-star Bob Balaban. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Michael Gambon
as Sir William McCordle
Kristin Scott Thomas
as Lady Sylvia McCordle
Maggie Smith
as Constance, Countess of Trentham
Helen Mirren
as Mrs. Wilson
Eileen Atkins
as Mrs. Croft
Kelly Macdonald
as Mary Maceachran
Bob Balaban
as Morris Weissman
Alan Bates
as Jennings
Jeremy Northam
as Ivor Novello
Derek Jacobi
as Probert
Camilla Rutherford
as Isobel McCordle
Geraldine Somerville
as Louisa Stockbridge
Charles Dance
as Raymond Stockbridge
Stephen Fry
as Insp. Thompson
Ryan Phillippe
as Henry Denton
Tom Hollander
as Anthony Meredith
Clive Owen
as Robert Parks
Natasha Wightman
as Lavinia Meredith
James Wilby
as The Hon. Freddie Nesbitt
Claudie Blakley
as Mabel Nesbitt
Laurence Fox
as Lord Rupert Standish
Trent Ford
as Jeremy Blond
Jeremy Swift
as Arthur, Second Footman
Meg Wynn Owen
as Lewis, Lady Sylvia's Maid
Sophie Thompson
as Dorothy, Still Room Maid
Teresa Churcher
as Bertha, Head Kitchen Maid
Sarah Flind
as Ellen, Junior Kitchen Maid
Lucy Cohu
as Lottie, Junior Kitchen Maid
Finty Williams
as Janet, Housemaid
Emma Buckley
as May, Housemaid
Laura Harling
as Ethel, Scullery Maid
Tilly Gerrard
as Maud, Scullery Maid
Will Beer
as Albert, Servants Hall Footman
Gregor Henderson-Begg
as Fred, Bootboy
Leo Bill
as Jim, Oddjob Man
Ron Puttock
as Strutt, Gamekeeper
Adrian Preater
as McCordles' loader
Joanna Maude
as Renee, Louisa's Maid
Adrian Scarborough
as Barnes, Anthony's Valet
Frances Low
as Sarah, Lavinia's Maid
John Atterbury
as Merriman, Constance's Chaffeur
Frank Thornton
as Burkett, Constance's Butler
Ron Webster
as Constable Dexter
John Cox
as Loader
Ken Davies
as Loader
Alan Bland
as beater
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News & Interviews for Gosford Park

Critic Reviews for Gosford Park

All Critics (158) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (136) | Rotten (22)

  • Taking advantage of a splendid cast, a sharply focused script and the fresh English setting, "Gosford Park" emerges as one of the most satisfying of Robert Altman's numerous ensemble pictures.

    Jul 6, 2010

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • Gosford is fine, well-groomed entertainment, but the road it takes has already been well paved.

    Sep 29, 2008

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • Altman's unexpected venture into Agatha Christie territory works a treat.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Tom Charity

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • A scintillating comedy-drama and one of [Altman's] most richly moving and entertaining pictures.

    Jul 20, 2002 | Rating: 4/4
  • Is there anyone but Altman who could have pulled off such an effervescent mix of satire, affection, and devastating rebuke? And attracted such an ensemble? And let everyone work at this high level?

    Mar 22, 2002 | Full Review…

    David Edelstein

    Top Critic
  • Altman is a supreme artist-joker, and the jest this time is that the most American of film directors has given us a finely wrought British whodunit with the emotional layering of a first-rate novel.

    Jan 22, 2002

Audience Reviews for Gosford Park

  • Oct 25, 2015
    I'm sorry, I know that this is supposed to be a critically acclaimed film, but I just can't see what all the hype is. There's nothing really noteworthy about this aside from the fact that it's got a great cast. And honestly? This has to be the most boring film I've ever seen. I mean holy shit this is a snoozefest.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • May 10, 2014
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 26, 2013
    Anyone that has a fascination with "Clue" or "Downton Abbey" or "Boardwalk Empire" will get a kick out of 2001's "Gosford Park". Openly the launching point for the PBS series "Downton Abbey", Maggie Smith stars in both incarnations with a subtly and humor that is unmatched throughout the film. With a huge ensemble cast, with several noticeable performances, like that of Kelly Macdonald before her starring role on "Boardwalk Empire", she takes on an almost leading role, becoming the center of the mystery that surrounds the film. Director Robert Altman follows the wealthy man murder mystery story-line with precision, taking over the first half of the film to introduce all the players and their possible motives, exonerating several of the characters immediately and playing with expectations and assumptions based on the evidence, complete with the bumbling, ignorant detective. Rounding out the cast is Kristin Scott Thomas, Ryan Phillipe, Clive Owen, Helen Mirren, Emily Watson, and Michael Gambon just to name a few. Relying slightly too heavily on the dramatic interest in these characters and not delivering the mystery sooner, the revelations come too quickly and suspense is never really allowed to build. Besides some standout performances, "Gosford Park" leaves no real lasting impression and becomes a dance of all the characters juggling for screen time.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Jul 21, 2013
    In what can be described as Clue meets Downton Abbey, director Robert Altman manages to weave a large and talented ensemble cast through a complex plot, doing so while keeping a cohesive narrative. The result is something quite notable, a smart drama that has richly defined characters, with a witty sense of humor and acute social commentary. Gosford Park is, above all, a highly skilled period piece. Everything from the dialogue, personalities, and set-design perfectly embodies early 1930s England. The class system depicted, right on the precipice of massive change, is keenly observed, with the antiquated air of British aristocracy still being ever so slightly kept alive. The script of Gosford Park takes a large cast, and sets them within a mystery that has so many different facets, one never knows what will happen. It does this while creating very subtle relationships and inter-dynamics between the characters, we get a very broad view of the issues going on. This creates a film that is fascinating to watch just for its very essence, not just in service of the plot. The cast itself is immensely talented, with such reliable greats as Helen Mirren, Clive Own, and Maggie Smith. Each performance is excellent, with the sense of intrigue being kept alive in every scene. The Altman's direction further showcases his great talents. The way he structures the scenes and frames the shots, everything is done to great effect and after obvious thought. The film is nearly entirely dialogue driven, yet never boring, and lengthy at almost 2.5 hours, yet it never feels slow. Overall Gosford Park is a quite intriguing period piece, filled with great performances, smart writing, and intelligent humor. 4/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer

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