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Gosford Park

Gosford Park

4.5 28
Director: Robert Altman

Cast: Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Kristin Scott Thomas


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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
After a long career as one of cinema’s most offbeat chroniclers of American culture, director Robert Altman turned his eye on England and made his best movie since his ‘70s heyday. Gosford Park takes place on a grand English country estate in the 1930s. When the host of a weekend hunting party is murdered, everyone -- well-heeled guests and servants alike -- becomes a potential suspect in the ensuing investigation. An Agatha Christie-style murder mystery might seem unlikely material for Altman, but Julian Fellowes’s Oscar-winning screenplay is more interested in examining the intricacies of the British class system than it is in whodunit. Gosford Park also allows Altman to do two of the things he does best: subvert a familiar genre and orchestrate a large ensemble of actors, something he accomplishes here to dazzling effect. The dream cast includes Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Michael Gambon as aristocrats, and Helen Mirren, Emily Watson, Clive Owen, Alan Bates, Derek Jacobi, and Richard E. Grant as servants. In the best Altman tradition, each character, no matter how limited his or her screen time, manages to create an indelible impression. Even pretty boy Ryan Phillippe, portraying a shady valet, delivers a surprisingly effective performance; the only weak link in the cast is Bob Balaban as a visiting Hollywood producer (ironically, Balaban co-produced Gosford Park). Altman uses his trademark techniques -- a roving camera and densely layered soundtrack -- to perfection here. Crucial information about the guests upstairs, who are never seen without a servant somewhere in the frame, is divulged through fleeting snatches of downstairs gossip. The result plays like a radical version of Upstairs, Downstairs in which the lives of servants and masters are fatally entwined. While not quite at the level of Nashville or the director’s other earlier triumphs, Gosford Park -- which received seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director -- proves that the 70-something Altman hasn’t lost his punch.
All Movie Guide
This handsome whodunit-cum-comedy of manners marks a return to form for maverick filmmaker Robert Altman. Set in a sprawling estate in the English countryside circa 1930, the movie gives Altman the chance to do what he excels in -- namely, juggle a cast of more than two dozen actors and weave a coherent, cohesive panorama of human behavior. As with most Altman movies, that behavior is distinguished by frailty and pettiness. The breezy barbarism of "civilized" people is on display, as is the strange symbiotic relationship that binds masters and servants. Altman commandeers his fluid camera through the halls, rooms, and lawns of the crowded mansion with the assurance of a master storyteller. There seems not one wasted shot in this efficient movie, and yet it breathes with the spontaneity typical of Altman. Also typical is Altman's perfunctory approach to the murder mystery. Never one interested in the rote workings of a genre, Altman sees the mystery less as an engine for suspense than as an opportunity for sad wisdom and sobering epiphany -- you could say it's less a whodunit than a whydunit. Needless to say, the material is familiar: weekends-in-the-country and upstairs-downstairs intrigues have been the stuff of other excoriations of the landed class, most famously Jean Renoir's canonical La Règle du jeu. Altman and his glittering cast -- a who's who of British acting -- wisely do not attempt to excavate new truths from the familiar form. Staying within its parameters, the movie is a lovely addition to a timeworn genre and a graceful echo of a timeless masterpiece.
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers
Abounds in scenes to savor. It's a feast, and one of Altman's best.
New York Times - Stephen Holden
A virtuoso ensemble piece to rival the director's Nashville and Short Cuts in its masterly interweaving of multiple characters and subplots.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

At a time when too many movies focus every scene on a $20 million star, an Altman film is like a party with no boring guests.
Los Angeles Times - Kenneth Turan
It's been nearly 10 years since an Altman film has been as consistently entertaining as this one is.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Alliance Canada
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Maggie Smith Constance, Countess of Trentham
Michael Gambon Sir William McCordle
Kristin Scott Thomas Sylvia McCordle
Jeremy Northam Ivor Novello
Bob Balaban Morris Weissman
Alan Bates Jennings
Richard Grant George
Helen Mirren Mrs. Wilson
Eileen Atkins Mrs. Croft
Emily Watson Elsie
Stephen Fry Inspector Thompson
Kelly MacDonald Mary Maceachran
Clive Owen Robert Parks
Ryan Phillippe Henry Denton
Tom Hollander Lt. Commander Anthony Meredith
Geraldine Somerville Louisa, Lady Stockbridge
Charles Dance Raymond, Lord Stockbridge
Sophie Thompson Dorothy
Derek Jacobi Probert
James Wilby Freddie Nesbitt
Camilla Rutherford Isobel McCordle
Claudie Blakley Mabel Nesbitt
Natasha Wightman Lavinia Meredith
Teresa Churcher Bertha
Jeremy Swift Arthur
Ron Webster Constable Dexter
Megan Owen Lewis
Frank Thornton Burkett
George Sherman beater
John Fountain beater
Joanna Maude Renee
Lucy Cohu Lottie
Adrian Scarborough Barnes
Frances Low Sarah
Sarah Flind Ellen
John Atterbury Merriman
Laurence Fox Lord Rupert Standish
Trent Ford Jeremy Blond
Finty Williams Janet
Emma Buckley May
Laura Harling Ethel
Tilly Gerrard Maud
Will Beer Albert
Gregor Henderson Begg Fred
Leo Bill Jim
Ron Puttock Strutt
Adrian Preater McCordles' loader
John Cox Loader
Ken Davies Loader
Tony Davies Loader
Steve Markham Loader
Terry Sturmey Loader
Julian Such Loader
Alan Bland beater
Peter Champion beater
Geoff Double beater
Robin Devereux beater
Richard Gamble beater
Brian Rumsey beater
Pip the Dog Widget

Technical Credits
Robert Altman Director,Producer
Stephen Altman Production Designer
Joshua Astrachan Co-producer
Bob Balaban Producer
Jane Barclay Executive Producer
Jenny Beavan Costumes/Costume Designer
Stuart Brisdon Special Effects Supervisor
Patrick Doyle Score Composer
Andrew Dunn Cinematographer
Julian Fellowes Associate Producer,Screenwriter
James Fellowes Screenwriter
Jane Frazer Co-producer
Peter Gossop Sound Mixer
Sharon Harell Executive Producer
Sarah Hauldren Art Director
Deborah Jarvis Makeup
Hannah Leader Executive Producer
David Levy Producer
Sharon Martin Makeup
Tori Parry Production Manager
Anna Pinnock Set Decoration/Design
Robert Jones Executive Producer
Mary Selway Casting
Tim Squyres Editor
Richard Styles Asst. Director
Peter Taylor Camera Operator
Kate J. Thompson Makeup
Norma Webb Makeup


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Gosford Park 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was a pretty interesting and good murder mystery movie. love clive owen's perfromance and thought he looked nice with Mary. Anyway, this is about people staying at a house where a murder happens and everyone's a suspect. its revealed what goes on upstairs and downstairs with the servants. the dog was adorable and the ending was a surprise.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first time I saw this movie, I found it difficult to follow--thick accents, large cast, and lots of brief encounters that didn't seem to mean much. I'm not sure why I watched it again, but I'm so glad that I did, because that's when the genius of this film becomes evident--all the snippets of fit together, and what appeared to be just another whodunit is revealed as an amazing mosaic, an intricate web with all the threads held in perfect tension by a superb cast. As expected, Helen Mirren is pure gold, and Maggie Smith is a delight, but many of the lesser-known actors deliver outstanding performances. If you weren't certain about this movie the first time, give it a second chance--that's when it shines.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Gosford Park' delivers the perfect period-piece for today's movie-goers: it is quick and witty without sacrificing striking character development, pinpoint historical accuracy ('jimmies' as delivered by Maggie Smith), sweeping cinematography, and a veritable feast for the eyes. It follows in the proud tradition of such films as 'A Reversal of Fortune' (Jeremy Irons, Glen Close), great chiefly for the same reason: we get to see how 'the other half' lives. Admittedly, one must get around the linguistic and plot barriers on the first watch (accents, especially downstairs, are a little challenging, as is remembering character names). But watch it again, and the beauty begins to unfold: it's a fun mystery every time.
Balzac.nyc More than 1 year ago
Excellent period piece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a movie that focuses on the complex relationships among what seemed like 50 characters, this movie is a success. The problem is that few of the characters are likable, and that grating quality spreads to every facet over the two-and-a-half hours that Gosford Park runs. Over the course of this movie, all that happens is a bunch of people who don't like each other get together, annoy each other, and leave. The much-hyped murder has no consequence in this movie other than to reveal another (predicatable) twist in the nature of the relationship of a few of the characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For anyone who likes a good old fashon who-done-it,this may be for you. The characters are delightful and surprisingly human. The whole interplay between upstairs and downstairs is wonderful to watch. The director let the actors become the characters not just actors playing a part. The fact that he had ''tech'' assistance from people who entered service during the same time as the movie is set in, was a stroke of genius. It gives a real feel to all they say and do. The only disapontment was how the budding love story between Milly and Robert worked out. A promise of seeing these two characters together would have been a much better ending. However, all in all this is one of the best movies to come out of Hollywood in a long time. It is orginal, entertaining and fun to watch, with just a touch of tears to give it body. I highly recomend this work to everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you watch films to relax and enjoy yourself, this is not the film for you. Once you do get past the dialect, a long, boring, drawn-out plot ruins the good execution.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a movie to view many times. There is something new to discover each time. The scenes are like a tapestry. If ever you have visited places such as The Builtmore Estate you can picture the life style of the time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gosford Park is a great movie about the interaction of people in a a great mansion in the 1930's. The film is more about charachter and situation than being tied down to a plot. It's a film not about what happens, but how and why. This is a charchter driven movie. You feel like you know everybody at the party, because they have their own strong presence even if some of them have very little screen time. About the first half of the movie is nothing but people getting used to staying in this huge house and it seems like they talk about things that you could care less about and stuff that has nothing to do with the story. They're really building motives for every charachter, so when a murder happens, everyone's a suspect. You really have to play close attention to this movie. It's so realistic to the point that the actors seem like they're real people just sitting in a house chatting. They don't say everything clearly. It's as if there's no camera and we're watching this story unfold. I really had to watch it
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gosford Park is not your average Blockbuster hit, but it is. Infact, should we call it a BLOCKBUSTER hit? Maybe not. But it is for sure a time life classic. I for one found the movie clever in the first viewing, and witty in the second, third, fourth, and so on. It has been a long time since we have been given such great cinema. Being only 18 I have not seen as many movies I have wished, and seen to more then what I have wished for. (LOTR Spinn Off) I am glad to have seen this movie though, and hold it in my personal collection. It is age breaking, and should be viewed by all movie lovers. And that is my two cents.
anselmus More than 1 year ago
The Ivor Novello song that emerges as the theme song of this movie is a throwaway, disposable romantic trifle of a song, but in the course of Altman's treatment of this script it becomes a deeply moving, deeply felt and tragic theme. Helen Mirren, near the end, delivers the knock-out punch, but in so doing she builds on detail after telling detail added by each cast member. Kelly McDonald, playing a novice maid, new servant to a snobbish anti-Semitic aristocrat, serves as the instrument by which the mystery of the relationships below stairs, and of the murder above, is revealed. The murder is used as what Alfred Hitchcock called a McGuffin: a plot device by which the characters can be revealed. Jeremy Northam is splendid as Novello.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The movie opens a bit slowly and the viewer has to pay close attention to all of the interaction of the characters. However, the movie eventually finds itself in the drawing room ''whodunit'' genre. The characters are very real, and their portrayal of the relationship between master and servant convincing. And in the spirit of any good mystery, the elements of revenge, jealousy, and motive are plenty.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie. The cast was wonderful and the plot had interesting twists and turns. The only problem I had with it was that at times I couldn't understand what they were saying. I would have to go back over the conversation again to hear it clearly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought the DVD before renting it and I'm not sorry I did. I've watched this flick over and over again and everytime I see something that I missed before. One of my absolute favorites. You might need to watch it with subtitles the first go around - the dialect is a little strong.
ProfessorWannaBe More than 1 year ago
In the midst of a stereotypical 1930s British shooting party, the host turns up dead. Stephan Fry is the bumbling detective who leads the half-hearted investigation while the guests and servants attempt to deal with each other and their secrets. As a result, the movie plumbs the psyches of victims, witnesses, and murderers alike. It's a profound look at motives for lying, leaving, and killing, as well as class dynamics. If you're looking for a feel good period romance film, there are better choices; however, it is a must-see for those who want to see both sides of the story: upstairs, downstairs; murderer, victim. Be sure to watch this one more than once! The entanglements of so many people with so many secrets makes it hard to appreciate the intricacies of the characters, plots, and period atmosphere in just one viewing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really impressed with the movie not only because of the plot but also because of the combination of Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was one of the best movies I've ever seen. The plot and story was incredible, there were so many subtle nuances that you had to actually ''think'' while watching the movie. Though it is a story about rich people on a hunting weekend, themes include class discrimination, sexual issues and murder. Costumes were great, actors were great plus its got Ryan Phillipe!!! Don't miss it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW! I didn't think I'd like this movie at all! Before my friend bought it he said it was two and a half hours long, but that it was suppose to be like clue. When i heard two and a half hours long I was like ''oh great''. And now look at me! I'm about to buy a copy for myself! Based on an ''idea'', this movie is absolutely gorgeous! The costume design is beautifully subtle, the characters are well developed even though this is a really large ensemble cast. The plot and story line is written so well I wish i had wrote it! I really don't want to detail the story line- just watch it! Yeah it's long- but trust me you will not be wasting two and a half hours of your life watching it!
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