5.0 7
Director: Richard Attenborough

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger, Edward Hardwicke


View All Available Formats & Editions

This lavishly mounted adaptation of the play by William Nicholson tells the true story of the doomed love affair between novelist and noted Christian scholar C.S. Lewis and a Jewish-American poet. Anthony Hopkins stars as C.S. "Jack" Lewis, an Oxford professor and successful author of the Chronicles of Narnia series of children's fantasy novels. A confirmed bachelor,


This lavishly mounted adaptation of the play by William Nicholson tells the true story of the doomed love affair between novelist and noted Christian scholar C.S. Lewis and a Jewish-American poet. Anthony Hopkins stars as C.S. "Jack" Lewis, an Oxford professor and successful author of the Chronicles of Narnia series of children's fantasy novels. A confirmed bachelor, Jack's existence is an inward life of the mind. Somewhat detached from the world, his only social outlet is evenings out at a local pub discussing philosophy and religion with his fellow lecturers. Jack has been corresponding with a bluntly intelligent American woman, Joy Gresham (Debra Winger), who arrives to visit him, with her young son Douglas (Joseph Mazzello) in tow. She tells Jack that she has actually fled from an abusive marriage and plans to divorce, and Jack astonishes friends and family by agreeing to a platonic marriage with Joy so that she can obtain British citizenship. As their friendship deepens and Joy discovers that she has a terminal illness, the relationship between Joy and Jack becomes a genuine romance, and their marriage turns into a real commitment. Shadowlands (1993) had previously been filmed as a well-regarded British television movie in 1985 starring Joss Ackland as Lewis.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
One of the best qualities of Richard Attenborough's adaptation of William Nicholson's play is the way it doesn't feel like a play at all. This is an excellent quality to possess, especially in a film that is in part about a middle-aged man discovering the joy of being alive. About halfway in, Winger's Joy takes Hopkins' Jack on vacation, a sequence shot in typically lush Attenborough fashion but made truly memorable by the inexperienced Jack's joy upon discovering that he can order cocktails sent up to his room. Extremely well-acted by both leads (note the way Winger slowly absorbs English inflections in her speech the more time her character spends there), Shadowlands steers away from the maudlin territory typically inhabited by doomed romances, emphasizing instead the emotional journeys of each character, both in terms of their time together and apart. Winger subtly plays a woman whom life has continually disappointed, and who is faced with the prospect of leaving it just as her fortunes have turned around. Hopkins' character is one who's come to think he's solved life's mysteries and must suddenly admit how little he knows. Teamed with Attenborough's restrained direction, they create a deeply memorable drama of unexpected renewal.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Hbo Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Anthony Hopkins Jack Lewis
Debra Winger Joy Gresham
Edward Hardwicke Warnie Lewis
Michael Denison "Harry" Harrington
John Wood Christopher Riley
Peter Firth Dr. Craig
Joseph Mazzello Douglas Gresham
Lucy Boulting Actor
Roddy Maude-Roxby Arnold Dopliss
Chris Williams Julian
Tim McMullan Nick Farrell
Julian Fellowes Desmond Arding
Andrew Seear Bob Chafer
Andrew Hawkins Rupert Parrish
Peter Howell College President
Robert Flemyng Claude Bird
James Frain Peter Whistler
Charles Simon Barker
Giles Oldershaw Marcus
Roger Ashton-Griffiths Dr. Eddie Monk
Pat Keen Mrs. Young
Howard Lew Lewis Tea Room Waiter
John Quentin Station Acquaintance
Alan Talbot College Porter
Sylvia Barter Woman in Bookshop
Pauline Melville Committee Chairwoman
Sophie Stanton Lecture Committee
Ninka Scott Lecture Committee
Walter Sparrow Fred Paxford
Gerald Sim Superintendent Registrar
Norman Bird Taxi Driver Witness
Abigail Harrison Staff Nurse
Julian Firth Father John Fisher
Karen Lewis Hotel Receptionist
Terry Rowley Registrar

Technical Credits
Richard Attenborough Director,Producer
Jonathan Bates Sound Editor
Patrick Clayton Asst. Director
Terence A. Clegg Executive Producer
Stuart Craig Production Designer
Brian Eastman Producer
George Fenton Score Composer
Diana Hawkins Co-producer
Simon Kaye Musical Direction/Supervision
Michael Lamont Art Director
Stephenie McMillan Set Decoration/Design
William Nicholson Screenwriter
Roger Pratt Cinematographer
Michael Roberts Camera Operator
Penny Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
Michael Stevenson Asst. Director
Lesley Walker Editor
Brian Warner Special Effects
Norma Webb Makeup


Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Shadowlands 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued with an article I'd read on a column regarding the play where this was based on (it also turned into a book). I didn't regret watching this movie. I considered this as my top two on my MOST ROMANTIC FILM OF ALL TIME. Anthony Hopkins played the legendary C. S. Lewis. Hopkins slipped away on his landmark role as Hannibal. For me, it is the best performance of his career. He also appeared as the sexually - repressed butler Mr. Stevens in "The Remains of the Day" Remains is a very serious film. Unlike "Shadowlands",it's a light but heartwarming film. On the other hand, Debra Winger portrayed the ill - fated Joy Gresham. Lewis (Hopkins) finally learns to love even at his age after meeting this wonderful lady. The scene where Joy Gresham died made me cry. I highly recommend this film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful and touching story that certainly does C.S. Lewis justice. Very memorable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Is it better to never love, than to love and suffer loss? This is the question that this poignant and heartwarming film chooses to address. Winger & Hopkins at their finest. The pacing of this love story couldn't be better & you truly feel the emotions of the actors wrap you in their arms.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful lovestory with gorgeous photography and a terrific intelligent script. Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger are perfect depicting the two opposite ends of the human emotional spectrum. A fabulous achievement in that it will make you feel the depths of sadness and the heights of human joy in the same breath. Best movie since ''Unbearable Lightness of Being'' and ''Immortal Beloved''.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who has questioned the why behind the transiency of this life, the meaning behind suffering might also question why we should hold anyone dear..that is 'Why should we love'when ultimately parting and loss of our loved ones can not be avoided? In the face of this dreary portrait of reality how does one find the courage to love? One of the conclusions one may reach after watching this movie might be the saying that ''it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all''
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was part of a class reading assignment, for English which I thought was going to be boring. I will never prejudge again. I bought this movie because it is awesome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago