Educating Rita (movie)

1983 film by Lewis Gilbert

Educating Rita is a British 1983 drama/comedy movie directed by Lewis Gilbert. The screenplay is by Willy Russell based on his 1980 stage play. The film stars Michael Caine, Julie Walters, Michael Williams and Maureen Lipman. It won multiple major awards for best actor and best actress and was nominated for three Academy Awards.

Educating Rita
Directed byLewis Gilbert
Screenplay byWilly Russell
Based onEducating Rita
by Willy Russell
Produced byLewis Gilbert
CinematographyFrank Watts
Edited byGarth Craven
Music byDavid Hentschel
Acorn Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • 16 June 1983 (1983-06-16) (UK)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£4 million[1]
Box office$14.6 million (US)[2][3]

Caine and Walters both won BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for best actor and actress. The British Film Institute ranked Educating Rita the 84th greatest British film of the 20th century.[4]

Rita (Julie Walters) is a 26-year-old Liverpudlian working-class hairdresser. She is dissatisfied with the routine of her work. She is reluctant to have a child. She fears it will tie her to the same monotonous routine for life. She yearns to escape to something, without exactly knowing what that is. She signs up for an Open University course in English Literature. Her assigned tutor is Frank Bryant (Michael Caine). Bryant is a jaded university lecturer. He describes his abilities as "appalling but good enough for his appalling students". His passion for literature is reignited by Rita. Her ability for the subject is limited by her lack of education. Frank finds her enthusiasm refreshing. Frank's cynicism returns as he notices Rita beginning to adopt the pretensions of the university culture he despises. The film ends with Frank being sent to Australia.



Lewis Gilbert says it was difficult to raise finance for the film. "Columbia wanted me to cast Dolly Parton as Rita".[5] Julie Walters, in her feature-film debut, reprised her role from the stage production.

The film was shot in Dublin. Trinity College, Dublin, is used as the setting for the university. University College Dublin, in Belfield, Dublin, is used for Rita's summer school. The room used by Bryant as his office is in the College Historical Society. The room used by Bryant as his tutorial room is in the University Philosophical Society. The production left portraits of Douglas Hyde and Isaac Butt, and a bust of John Pentland Mahaffy on display. Number 8 Hogan Avenue in Dublin near Grand Canal Dock was used for Rita's house. A house in Burlington Road, Ballsbridge was used for Bryant's. The scene set in France was filmed in Maynooth, County Kildare. Pearse Station and Dublin Airport were also used. The scene in the pub was shot in The Stag's Head pub on Dame Court in Dublin.[6]





The American Variety magazine in December 1982 praised Walters' interpretation of Rita as "witty, down-to-earth, kind and loaded with common sense."[7]

Ian Nathan reviewing the film for Britain's Empire film magazine calls it a "gem,". He gave it four out of five stars.[8]

American critic Janet Maslin called the film "the perfect play about literature for anyone who wouldn't dream of actually reading books".[9]

Chicago critic Roger Ebert gave the film two stars out of four. He said Russell's screen adaptation "added mistresses, colleagues, husbands, in-laws, students and a faculty committee, [that were] all unnecessary".[10]

Awards and nominations


Academy Awards


Golden Globe Awards


British Academy Film Awards


National Board of Review


Retrospective assessments


In 1999, the film was among the BFI Top 100 British films.

In 2007, while promoting the remake of Sleuth, Caine called Educating Rita "the last good picture [he] made before [he] mentally retired."[11]

Home media


The film was released on DVD in the UK and the US. In 2008, ITV Studios released it on Blu-Ray in the UK (Region B) as a 25th Anniversary edition.

Proposed remake


In November 2002, the then-82-year-old director Lewis Gilbert said he would like to remake it "with a black cast that could include Halle Berry and Denzel Washington". principal photography was to commence in 2003. The project was abandoned.[12]


  1. "The Chancellor Strikes Back." Sunday Times [London, England] 8 Apr. 1984: 33+. The Sunday Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.
  2. "Educating Rita". The Numbers. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  3. "Educating Rita". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  4. British Film Institute - Top 100 British Films (1999). Retrieved 27 October 2017
  5. "Of human Bondage". The Guardian. 9 March 2000.
  6. "Educating Rita film locations". Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  7. "Educating Rita (UK)". Variety. 31 December 1982. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  8. Nathan, Ian (1 January 2000). "Educating Rita". Empire. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  9. Maslin, Janet (21 September 1983). "Educating Rita (1983)". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  10. Ebert, Roger (28 October 1983). "Educating Rita". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  11. "Sleuth – Sir Michael Caine interview". Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  12. "In brief: Black cast for Educating Rita remake". The Guardian. 15 November 2002. Retrieved 7 August 2010.

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