A Passage to India (1984) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Passage to India1984

A Passage to India (1984)



Critic Consensus: A Passage to India is a visually striking exploration of colonialism and prejudice, although it doesn't achieve the thematic breadth of director David Lean's finest work.

A Passage to India Photos

Movie Info

Set in the colonial India of the 1920s, this is the epic story of an Indian man who befriends a British woman and then is accused of raping her. Though he is eventually acquitted, he suffers greatly as a result of the accusation.

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Judy Davis
as Adela Quested
Peggy Ashcroft
as Mrs. Moore
James Fox
as Richard Fielding
Nigel Havers
as Ronny Healsop
Antonia Pemberton
as Mrs. Turton
Art Malik
as Mahmoud Ali
Saeed Jaffrey
as Hamidullah
Clive Swift
as Maj. Callendar
Ann Firbank
as Mrs. Callendar
Roshan Seth
as Amritrao
Z.H. Khan
as Dr. Pana Lal
Phyllis Bose
as Mrs. Leslie
Dina Pathak
as Begum Hamidullah
Ishaq Bux
as Selim
Paul Anil
as Clerk of the Court
Adam Blackwood
as Mr. Hadley
Mellan Mitchell
as Indian Businessman
Peter Hughes
as P & O Manager
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Critic Reviews for A Passage to India

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (7)

It is a disappointing signpost to what lies ahead. Lean swiftly turns the narrative into a melodrama of social and sexual unease.

February 10, 2020 | Full Review…

The film, for all Lean's innate elegance, is strangely remote and unmoving. It could easily have been a Merchant-Ivory film.

November 6, 2007 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

David Lean's studied, plodding, overanalytic direction manages to kill most of the meaning in E.M. Forster's haunting novel of cultural collision in colonial India.

November 6, 2007 | Full Review…

An impeccably faithful, beautifully played and occasionally languorous adaptation of E.M. Forster's classic novel.

November 6, 2007 | Full Review…

Not for literary purists, but if you like your entertainment well tailored, then feel the quality and the width.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Forster's novel is one of the literary landmarks of this century, and now David Lean has made it into one of the greatest screen adaptations I have ever seen.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Passage to India

Beautiful cinematography.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer


In an India seething with anti-colonial fervor versus colonial superiority and "duty", a young Englishwoman accuses an Indian doctor of "the worst". David Lean does everything but star and score the music, in this his final bow. Beyond the obvious politics and racism he leaves us with a human story, one of hopes and aspirations for a better world ... and then he casts a white man as an Indian brahmin. Revealing hypocrisy.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

The first half of the movie was relatively watchable but the second half was appalling. Why would a woman accuse someone of raping her, and why in God's name would she withdraw it only when she's called to the witness box, is beyond me. Okay, it's because she's honest and she couldn't accept someone being unjustly crucified for a crime that was never committed. So she withdraws everything only and only when she's called to the witness box. Applause for the lady's courage!!! I can understand that she may have made such an accusation because she wasn't well when she made it and might have done so under someone's influence. But at least after recovery, she could have taken back the false charges. Her conscience was probably on leave during the earlier proceedings of the court. The range of my imagination is quite poor at times. I know that such a dramatization is essential to create a greater effect for the movie, but the way this particular part was executed was very poor. Anyway, I liked the way characters were developed and the interactions between them. I'd also like to mention that except for that idiotic part in the movie, I found the rest of the movie well done. Victor Banerjee sucked as Dr. Aziz while Alec Guinness excelled as Godbole, a veteran with foresight and better understanding of the human life.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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