Passport to Pimlico (1949) - Rotten Tomatoes

Passport to Pimlico (1949)




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Movie Info

Passport to Pimlico is one of the most charmingly whimsical Ealing Studios comedies of the late 1940s-early 1950s. As a result of wartime bombing, an ancient parchment is uncovered, proving that the Pimlico section of London belongs to Burgundy, France. Long taken for granted by other Londoners, the tiny Pimlico populace decides to take advantage of its "foreign" status.
Classics , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Eagle-Lion Films


Stanley Holloway
as Arthur Pemberton
Paul Dupuis
as Duke of Burgundy
Barbara Murray
as Shirley Pemberton
Margaret Rutherford
as Professor Hatton-Jones
Hermione Baddeley
as Eddie Randall
Naunton Wayne
as Straker
Jane Hylton
as Molly
Betty Warren
as Connie Pemberton
John Slater
as Frank Huggins
Malcolm Knight
as Monty Cowan
Sydney Tafler
as Fred Cowan
Charles Hawtrey
as Bert Fitch
James Hayter
as Commissionaire
Philip Stainton
as P.C. Spiller
Michael Hordern
as Inspector Bashford
Arthur Howard
as Bassett
Bill Shine
as Captain
Harry Locke
as Sergeant
Sam Kydd
as Sapper
Grace Arnold
as Woman in Underground
Roy Carr
as Benny Spiller
Nancy Gabrielle
as Mrs. Cowan
Gilbert Davis
as Bagshawe
Joey Carr
as Dave Parsons
Lloyd Pearson
as Fawcett
Arthur Denton
as Customs Official
Tommy Godfrey
as Bus Conductor
as Conjurer
Paul Demel
as Central European
Michael Knight
as Monty Cowan
Roy Gladdish
as Charlie Randall
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Critic Reviews for Passport to Pimlico

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (2)

Sustained, lightweight comedy scoring a continual succession of laughs.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Top Critic

A treat.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A worthy restoration and a reminder of a (short) period when Britain were world leaders of thoughtful film comedy.

Full Review… | June 5, 2012
Little White Lies

An entertaining effort from the Ealing studios that sadly hasn't proved as enduring as its peers.

Full Review… | June 3, 2012
Empire Magazine

A fresh comedy with some well-aimed satirical arrows from producer Balcon's Ealing Studios, famous for their sophisticated, irreverent comedies.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Passport to Pimlico


"Passport to Pimlico" starts innocently enough on a sweltering day in London, or as innocently as it can with an unexploded bomb in the vicinity. That's okay because the authorities have decided to leave it alone for now. And then having a bit of fun, a bunch of boys accidentally set it off, with thankfully no injuries. At least, until Arthur Pemberton(Stanley Holloway), a shopkeeper, stumbles down the hole to get a closer look and thinks he sees treasure. That is confirmed later when he and his daughter Shirley(Barbara Murray) have a closer look. They get even more information when Professor Hatton-Jones(the always delightful Margaret Rutherford) testifies at the inquest including one big surprise. "Passport to Pimlico" is a funny bit of nonsense, albeit one that has some grounding in reality, from its slow start in the reality of post-war London(the movie is actually dedicated to ration books) to historical discoveries lying just underneath the ground.(Considering they just discovered the remains of Richard III, anything is possible, right?) And as much as it may feel like the movie is getting out of hand later, it is grounded in a remarkably astute Cold War satire that is still relevant today, as it possibly foresees free trade zones. After all, what can be sillier than borders that keep people apart?

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

I found the film a little dated and not as skillfully shot as later classic Ealing films but I enjoyed the central idea around the film and the lengths the members of Pimlico go to in order to make a stand against England. Maybe not as 'funny' as other well known Ealing films (The Lavender Hill Mob and Kind Hearts and Coronets for example) this is still an enjoyable British film made long before Richard Curtis started churning them out.

David Sayers
David Sayers

Super Reviewer


This Ealing comedy, like so many others, has such an interesting and entertaining story that you don't always notice the clever and rather perceptive touches. It takes an unlikely, bizarre situation and makes it completely believable, just by drawing things out to their logical extremes. A solid cast and a good dose of British dry wit also help out. Stanley Holloway heads the cast, as one of a small group of Londoners who, as the result of an offbeat chain of events, find themselves declared subjects of Burgundy. As things proceed, one wacky development after another follows, but each one is simply a perfectly logical (or perhaps perfectly illogical) extension of the previous one. It's a fine satire on the whole structure of arbitrary procedures and policies that go along with governments, borders, and the like. It also focuses its share of attention on human nature in general, since the hapless but sympathetic 'Burgundians' also have their own foibles. It works by creating sympathy for them simply because they are normal, everyday people like the rest of us, caught up in an unprecedented situation. The settings are the kind of straightforward, convincing sets that you usually expect from Ealing, and they help in creating the contrast between daily life and the unexpected disruptions that the characters now face. Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne also add quite a bit, as a pair of high-level bureaucrats who seem more interested in deflecting responsibility than in getting problems solved. Things fit together quite well to make a movie that is enjoyable and insightful at the same time.

josh callis
josh callis

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