Howards End

Howards End

James Ivory (1992)

PG Certificate


Our Score
This adaptation of EM Forster's novel has an elegance that never hides grim insights into the upper middle classes. Matriarchal Ruth Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave) dies after writing a letter bequeathing her country home, Howards End, to new friend Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson). But the note is destroyed by the Wilcox family of snobs-in-residence, whose head (Anthony Hopkins) then falls in love with Margaret. Meanwhile, the low expectations of the clerking classes are exemplified by a meek Leonard Bast (Samuel West), whose affair with Margaret's sister Helen (Helena Bonham Carter) leads to tragedy. From Bast's dank lodgings to Howards End's cosy rurality - into which the Schlegel sisters bring an energy the place has not known before - the perfect period detail is not an end in itself, but allows Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson to create extraordinarily convincing portraits. One of the finest conversions of a novel to cinema, this is a credit to the team of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant and writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.


A chance encounter during a cruise throws the romantic Schlegel sisters into the paths of the Wilcoxes, an industrious family headed by the well-meaning but strait-laced Henry. When aristocratic matriarch Ruth Wilcox bequeaths her family home to Margaret Schlegel, her children are outraged and dispose of the will, setting the stage for a conflict with tragic consequences. Merchant Ivory period drama, based on EM Forster's novel, starring Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins and Helena Bonham Carter.

Cast & Crew

Henry Wilcox Anthony Hopkins
Margaret Schlegel Emma Thompson
Helen Schlegel Helena Bonham Carter
Ruth Wilcox Vanessa Redgrave
Charles Wilcox James Wilby
Leonard Bast Samuel West
Aunt Juley Prunella Scales
Paul Wilcox Joseph Bennett
Tibby Schlegel Adrian Ross Magenty
Annie Jo Kendall
Evie Wilcox Jemma Redgrave
Station master Ian Latimer
Pianist Mary Nash
Dolly Wilcox Susie Lindeman
Jacky Bast Nicola Duffett
Director James Ivory
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: BFI FilmsAvailable on: video and DVDReleased on: 28 Jul 2017