Fill a bowl with alpine strawberries, break out the Château Lafite (1899, of course) and bask in Brideshead Revisited
, the 1981 miniseries based on Evelyn Waugh's classic novel
, adapted for the screen by John Mortimer (Rumpole of the Bailey
). In his breakthrough role, Jeremy Irons stars as Charles Ryder, a disillusioned Army captain who is moved to reflect on his "languid days" in the "enchanted castle" that was Brideshead, home of the aristocratic Marchmain family, whose acquaintance Charles made in the company of an Oxford classmate, the charming wild-child Sebastian. Anthony Andrews costars as the doomed Sebastian, whose beauty is "arresting" and "whose eccentricities and behaviour seemed to know no bounds". The "entitled and enchanted" Sebastian takes Charles under his wing ("Charles, what a lot you have to learn"), but vows early on that he is "not going to let [Charles] get mixed up with [his] family." But mixed up Charles gets. He becomes a friend and confidante, not to mention a lover, to Sebastian's sister Julia (Diana Quick). Meanwhile, the self-destructive Sebastian's life spirals out of control.
Brideshead Revisited boasts a distinguished ensemble cast, including Laurence Olivier in his Emmy Award-winning role as the exiled Lord Marchmain, Claire Bloom as Lady Marchmain, and the magnificent John Gielgud as Charles's estranged father. Grand locations and a haunting musical score make this a memorable revisit of an irretrievable bygone era. --Donald Liebenson
Epic adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's classic novel. During World War Two, Charles Rider (Jeremy Irons) is stationed at the now deserted stately home, Brideshead Manor, formerly the residence of the Flyte family. He recalls how, as a Cambridge undergraduate, he first visited Brideshead after befriending Lord Sebastian Flyte (Anthony Andrews). Charles then became caught up with the Flytes and their problems, most notably Sebastian's burgeoning alcoholism.