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Shadowlands [DVD]

Price: £3.20 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger, Edward Hardwicke, Joseph Mazzello, Michael Denison
  • Directors: Richard Attenborough
  • Producers: Richard Attenborough, Brian Eastman
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Nov 2005
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000B64VPS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,504 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Based on the true story of author C. S. Lewis and his relationship with poet Joy Gresham. Joy breathes new life into his ordinary e xistence but he resists any romantic involvement, seemingly unable to conjure his long suppressed emotions. However, Lewis breaks do wn his wall when Joy is faced with terminal cancer.


This emotionally moving romantic drama was adapted by William Nicholson from his own acclaimed play, based upon the real-life romance (during the 1950s) between the writer CS Lewis and a divorced American poet named Joy Gresham. Best known for writing The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) is living comfortably as a respected Oxford don, his academic lifestyle a kind of shell protecting him from the emotional risk of love. Joy Gresham (Debra Winger) arrives at Oxford as an avid admirer of Lewis' writing, and the safety of his collegiate routine is quickly disrupted when Lewis realises he's fallen deeply and unexpectedly in love. Their courtship is uniquely engaging; he is shy and uncertain, she is outspoken and bold. But when Joy is diagnosed with cancer, Lewis' Christian faith is put to the test--he cannot fathom why their happiness together would be so drastically challenged. Together, they find a way to accept and honour the time they have shared together, and under the sensitive direction of Richard Attenborough, Shadowlands arrives at a conclusion that is both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. Hopkins and Winger are equally superb in this absorbing story of personal and spiritual transformation--a story previously filmed for television in 1985, with Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By oliraceking on 29 Nov 2005
Format: DVD
Ever since Shadowlands came out in 1993 I have been captivated by it. The story of C.S Lewis; writer, academic and bachelor for 50 years who meets and eventually falls in love with American poet Joy Davidman, is a straightforward one. But it is a touching one.

Richard Attenborough has come in for a lot of (unjust) criticism as a director over the years, mainly by those who think his epics reach further than they can grasp. This film, perhaps his smallest, is one of his more applauded.

William Nicholson adapted his stage play for this project and the script maintains the basic love story, with some wisdom thrown in for good measure. Attenborough chose to cast Anthony Hopkins to replace the then "unkown to Americans" Nigel Hawthorn (a studio decision). Hopkins' speciality is restraint - a 'dormant volcano'. It serves the character of Lewis brilliantly here because he is containing love, emotion and feeling. It means that once he opens up towards the end of the film, you see a side of Hopkins that I for one have never seen before or since.

Debra Winger is well cast as the overbearing, uninhibited American Joy Gresham, as is her son Joseph Mazzello (whom Attenborough had previously worked with in Jurassic Park). And Edward Hardwicke is excellent as Lewis's brother, Warnie.

I think the reason this story works for me is that is a metaphor for being English (or was, anyway): the repressed type who won't open up to emotion - is afraid of change, and by the time he does change, it's too late and he feels the pain he so feared in the first place. What I like is the message that, 'it's part of life' and as the film says, "The pain now is part of the happiness then - that's the deal.
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By RD VINE VOICE on 22 Feb 2007
Format: DVD
I only rented this movie because I think Anthony Hopkins is an amazing actor and he didn't let me down.

He plays C.S Lewis, the author of the Narnia books among others. 'Jack' (as his brother calls him) is an ageing university lecturer in Oxford who lives with his equally single brother simply passing the time teaching people literature and belief in God. His life is routine and he is content.

One day he agrees to meet an American woman who is a fan of his work and has been writing him letters which he finds interesting. She asks him questions which provoke thought and isn't afraid to say what she feels/thinks. They develop a strong friendship and love over time only to have their feelings tested in the worst way.

The movie sounds drab when put that way but it unravels at a gentle (some may call it slow!) pace with a wonderful and witty dialog. There are several characters entwined in the background which give the movie more substance and ground work. To top it all off are the beautiful settings in which it is set.

A movie about true love and loss to touch anyones heart strings.

Definitely worth watching.
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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Themis-Athena on 6 Jan 2006
Format: DVD
"I seem to play men who are sort of imprisoned in themselves," Anthony Hopkins comments in an interview included on this movie's DVD. And although this adequately characterizes a mere fraction of his work, roles like that of butler Stevens in Merchant/Ivory's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's "Remains of the Day," Henry Wilcox in E.M. Forster's "Howards End" (also by Merchant/Ivory) and even Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter, illustrate Hopkins's minimalist approach to acting, which makes him so uniquely qualified to play emotionally restrained men, locked up behind the walls erected by convention, trauma or madness. Thus, while bearing little physical resemblance to the real C.S. Lewis, atheist-turned-Christian scholar and bestselling author of the famous "Narnia Chronicles," Hopkins was a natural choice for the role in this movie about Lewis and his wife-to-be, American poet Joy Gresham (Debra Winger).
Albeit subtitled "based on a true story," "Shadowlands" doesn't purport to recount the couple's relationship in its full complexity - that would take much more than a 2 hours, 15 minutes-long film, if it were accomplishable at all. On equally strong intellectual footing, Joy Gresham and "Jack" Lewis were bound to each other not only by a joint interest in literature and because Joy challenged all assumed bases of Lewis's scholarly life, but also by their personal geneses as convert Christians (he coming from atheism, she from Judaism, at least partly influenced by Lewis's writings).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Eaton on 15 Dec 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There is nothing wrong with this film and many things right with it. The acting, scenery, cinematography, score, everything is perfect. Yet it is so much more.
I am reticent to name any film as an 'all time favourite', anyone who can say that has not seen enough cinema - but this is a film which could easily be mistaken for Sunday afternoon schmaltz and yet is in reality a masterpiece. Never have I watched this and failed to enjoy it, or become bored. The performances contain such subtle nuances and so much is going on without being obvious that even after multiple viewings it still holds the attention and creates its magic.
Purists may allow the artistic licence taken with the Lewis/Gresham story to detract from their enjoyment of the film, but this is no simple biopic. Nor is it, as many would like, a piece of evangelism for one of the 20th Century's great Christian thinkers. It is an examination of love, faith, and the experience of life. It is also about how we all deal with our emotions, hopes, dreams, and fears.
Yes, this borders on the fantastic, but then as my Father remarked after the 30th or so viewing - 'the 50's were never that good'.
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