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Film: Roman Holiday
Roman Holiday is a 1953 Romantic Comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, directed by William Wyler.

The world-renowned Princess Ann, a member of the royal family of a small unnamed European kingdom, is in a whirlwind tour of Europe. After visiting London, Paris, and Amsterdam, she arrives in Rome, the Eternal City. Bored and upset with a life where her every waking minute is scheduled and rehearsed, she throws a tantrum and has to be sedated. However, before the drugs take effect, she manages to escape the embassy, determined to spend at least one day doing whatever she wants.

As the sedatives finally take effect, the weary princess collapses on a park bench, where she meets Intrepid Reporter Joe Bradley. Believing her to be drunk, he offers to have a taxi take her back to her home, but she refuses; finally, he caves in and allows her to sleep it off at his place (and no, that doesn't happen).

The next morning, Bradley wakes up late, having overslept and missed a scheduled interview with the princess. He tries to report in to his editor anyway, but he gets caught in the lie when he finds out that the princess "called in sick" at 3 o'clock that morning. After seeing a picture of Princess Ann in the paper, Bradley manages to put two and two together and sets out to get the scoop of a lifetime...

Notable moments include the original romantic Vespa ride through Rome, the scene at the Mouth of Truth, and a dance-turned-brawl where Ann clubs a man over the head with a guitar.


This film provides examples of:

  • Academy Award: The movie earned 10 nominations, including Best Picture. It ended up winning Best Costume Design and Best Writing. Even more notable, Audrey Hepburn won Best Actress.
  • Agony of the Feet: Ann's fancy shoes are not comfortable to stand in for long, leading to some trouble at a reception.
  • All Women Love Shoes: The first thing Ann does when hitting the street of Rome is buying new shoes.
  • Balcony Escape: Ann sneaks out of her room through the balcony.
  • Bar Brawl: The contagious fight scene at the river boat.
  • The Bet: Joe and his boss have one for $500. In some kind of Heroic Sacrifice Joe forfeits the big story and loses the bet.
  • Billed Above The Title: Invoked by Gregory Peck. After filming, Peck informed the producers that, as Audrey Hepburn was certainly going to win an Oscar (for this, her first major role), they had better put her name above the title. They did and she did.
  • Bittersweet Ending
  • Butt Monkey: Irving. Endlessly.
  • The Chains of Commanding: What Princess Ann is trying to escape from—and, ultimately, the reason she decides to return.
  • Clock King: Princess Ann's handlers. It's enough to make her want to run away in the middle of the night.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: Joe is giving Irving a hard time for being Oblivious To Hints. And he doesn't even try to disguise it.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: William Wyler filmed the movie in black and white because he feared that if he filmed it in color, the viewers would spend too much time admiring the Roman landmarks to focus on the story.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: This is more of a Values Dissonance issue, but the class difference would have prevented either from carrying their relationship further and both characters acknowledge it.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Ann wakes up in a strange bed to see Joe Bradley (whom she doesn't remember from the previous night) nearby, her first impulse is to frantically dive her hand beneath the covers, feeling around for her crotch. Joe "innocently" asks, "Did you lose something?" After a moment, a now much relieved Ann replies,"No." This would explain why she's so trusting of Joe afterwards.
    • This is also a Brick Joke to an early scene, when Ann asks why she can't sleep in pajamas, "just the top part". She was covering herself with his blanket, so she couldn't simply look to see if she'd done just that.
    • Joe explains that he's in the fertilizer business. This may be a snide way of saying everything he tells her is bullshit, or a smart remark against his profession as a journalist.
  • Gilded Cage: Ann gets so fed up with the demands and restrictions of royalty that she runs away and lives as a commoner for a day so she can experience "freedom".
  • Hand in the Hole: The aforementioned "Mouth of Truth" scene.
  • Hope Spot: After Ann has left him, Joe is glooming about it in his apartment when suddenly there is a knock on the door. Unfortunately it is only his boss.
  • Important Haircut: Ann gets one.
  • The Ingenue: Princess Ann, short of one jarringly out-of-place smoking scene, is the absolute epitome of adorable innocence.
  • Intoxication Ensues
  • Intrepid Reporter: Joe Bradley.
  • Jump Scare: The Mouth of Truth. Mixed with Joe being a Troll.
  • King Incognito: Ann disguises herself as a commoner to avoid detection and retrieval.
  • Manly Tears: Joe's eyes well up quite a bit during the press conference.
  • No Name Given: Ann's home country is always referred to as "her country."
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Ann thanks Joe for so unselfishly indulging her all day.
  • Oblivious To Hints: Irving doesn't seem to get Joe's subliminal messages which makes him become Joe's Butt Monkey.
  • Oh, Crap: The look on Princess Ann's face when she realizes that Irving's cigarette lighter is also a camera.
  • Pimped-Out Dress / Simple Yet Opulent: Ann's grand dresses are appropriately fancy and elegant.
  • Rebellious Princess: Princess Ann.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Joe pulls this trick twice on his boss. First he offers to show him his notes on the interview (he didn't do) and then again at the end when the boss wants to see the photos.
  • Shoe Phone: The camera hidden in Irving's cigarette lighter.
  • Spiritual Successor: Roman Holiday is this to It Happened One Night.
  • Star-Making Role: For Audrey Hepburn.
  • Stepford Smiler: What Ann is during most of her public appearances. It makes her genuine smiles towards Joe all the more poignant.
  • Subtext: On the surface, the statements uttered by Joe and Ann at the press conference are nothing more than platitudes. But the subtextual conversation conveys that a) Joe won't reveal what really happened during their day together and b) there is a genuine shared love that will be cherished between the two forever.
  • Tearful Smile: The default expressions of both Joe and Ann during the press conference.

Robot MonsterFilms of the 1950sSadko
Duck AmuckUsefulNotes/National Film RegistryKiss Me Deadly
The RobeAcademy AwardShane
Road to ...Creator/ParamountRobinson Crusoe On Mars
Blood SportImageSource/Live-Action FilmsManic Pixie Dream Girl

alternative title(s): Roman Holiday
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