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4.4 out of 5 stars93
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 28 July 2004
On a stifling hot afternoon in Miramont Place, Pimlico, an unexploded bomb is accidentaly exploded, revealing a hidden treasure trove, a painting and some mysterious documents. When the documents are translated by Professor Hatton-Jones of London University (Margaret Rutherford)the inhabitants of Miramont Place learnt to their astonishment that they live on land that belongs to the Duchy of Burgundy, granted to the Duke by Edward IV, and that they are technically Burgundians. At first they have a wonderful time being Burgundians, tearing up their ration books, burning their identity cards, and ignoring the licensing and betting laws, but trouble starts when black market traders start to flood into the area. Shopkeeper Stanley Holloway forms a governing comittee, which includes another local shopkeeper, delightful Hermione Baddley ,and the present holder of the title of Duke of Burgundy,a charming young Frenchman, turns up to claim his dukedom and court Stanley Holloway's daughter. Frustrated by the lack of cooperation in Whitehall, the Burgundians stop the underground trains that pass beneath Miramont Place, and make the passengers go through customs., "The Burgundians are a fighting people" as Margaret Rutherford triumphantly remarks "Consider what they did against the might of Louis XI!" Then Whitehall decides to close the border, and things get really tough for the Burgundians, with dwindling food and water, but they are determined to fight on and not be crushed by bureaucracy. This is an absolutely wonderful film, a brilliant and hilarious plot, wonderful comic performances, with Margaret Rutherford outstanding, and, unlike many of the later Ealing comedies, a cheerful and upbeat ending. By far and away my favourite British comedy.
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on 12 January 2005
A few years back, I bought a VHS copy of Passport to Pimlico at a local bargain store, where it sold for a mere two dollars. The quality wasn't great but the movie was. I had seen it once before as a youngster, and was just as entertained by the ingenuity of the plot and the superb acting on my second viewing. This movie is not available on DVD in the US, which is a shame. It's a shame because a vast audience of Americans can't view this excellent British comedy which ranks up there with The Man in the White Suit, and The Lavender Hill Mob. Let's hope that if it does appear, it won't be re-made into something as tawdry as the recent Ladykillers, with Tom Hanks. This pathetic Hollywood re-make destroyed the charm and wit of the original 1956 movie, IMHO, and I would hate to see that happen to Passport to Pimlico. Why can't they leave the classics alone?
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VINE VOICEon 16 January 2006
"Passport to Pimlico" is a quaint, almost absurd , Ealing comedy set in post-WW2 London, still enduring rationing and still living amidst the ruined homes and factories of the Blitz. Against a background of a heatwave and UXB's , a treasure trove is uncovered in a cellar in Pimlico alongside a document which is a 15th Century Royal Charter proclaiming that the area in which the treasure was found is actually the property of the erstwhile Duke of Burgundy from France. This technicality leads to a farcical series of events as Pimlico declares itself independent after the British Crown claims their treasure trove. This is a likeable film, original,witty and quintessentially British and it provides an interesting social and cultural snapshot of post-War Britain. It is equally fascinating that 55 years after it was released ,the London (and Britain) of "Passport to Pimlico" is utterly unrecognisable and alien, which is a measure of the rapidity and intensity of social,economic and cultural change that has taken place since then.
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on 29 November 2009
A slightly early celebration of the end of rationing, it reminds one of just how great a pounding London received with great empty areas to be seen in this and the Lavender Hill Mob. Stanley Holloway is a grocer and general goods dealer with a dream of a swimming pool and recreation centre occupying the central bombed out court of the square in which all the characters live. Complexity arrives when the local kids push a spool of telephone wire down a small incline and it sets off the bomb that is being excavated. This explosion gives access to a small treasure in gold table ware, and Margaret Rutherford does her usual star turn as Professor Hatton Jones who is able to prove that Pimilco actually belongs to the long dead Kingdom of Burgundy. Not only does this give the inhabitants access to the export departments of British goods not being sold in Britain at the time, but it also allows Pimlico to become a spiv's paradise, a source for ill-gotten and shoddy goods. Complexities ensue (including a flood that wipes out all food supplies) which eventually are resolved by a Burgundian loan to Britain. Everyone in the movie is wonderful, and I think it's utterly hilarious.

Rob Boyter
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on 22 September 2007
Post-war London - a place of bomb sites, ration books, licensing laws and to cap it all, it's a sweltering summer. Kids playing on a bomb site accidentally set off an unexploded bomb, uncovering an ancient treasure that indicates that the area is part of Burgundy. The locals are quick to take advantage of the situation and create a ration-free state, but things start to get very complicated! A rather surreal, but inventive film which, in post-war Britain (still under rationing) would have been welcomed like a breath of fresh air. A great cast, including Stanley Holloway, Margaret Rutherford, and a young Charles Hawtrey. One of Ealing's most popular films, it drags a bit in parts. However, the story is irresistible.
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on 2 December 2012
'Passport to Pimlico' is a lively glimpse into a post war world that has now gone. It very well portrays a society that was closer and much more friendly. It is a world that I remember well, full of the sort of people that surrounded my childhood. We didn't have much but we were happy with what we had, and we dreampt of better. I, to, played in the bomb sites and took my 'sweet ration' to the shops and paid in heavy copper coins many of which had the portrait of Queen Victoria on them. This was a movie to 'take people out of themselves' in a period which was often squalid and people were underwashed. The bulk of the working class had outside loos ( often shared,) and we bathed once a week.
However the discovery of a legal document apparently disputing ownership certainly has modern legal overtones, and whilst the society portrayed in this film has gone, the lawyers making fortunes with their nice big fat fees certainly hasn't!
I have mixed feelings about this film. I'm glad that I bought it, but I don't think that I could bear to see it too often, some of it is 'a bit too near the knuckle'. I always watch the background action in movies, because it's often more revealing about its time than the main foreground action. This one os redolant of the 40s and 50s.
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on 3 September 2009
Set in London in 1949 amongst the bombsites and aftermath of the war,rationing in force and people on their uppers.The plot is an unexploded wartime bomb is set off,which reveals a room full of treasure plus a very old parchment revealing that Pimlico is not in fact British,but a part of French Bergundy.
The fun now begins as they defy the British Government as they set up a little bit of France in London,they can now import all the luxury food and goods into their "Kingdom".All goes well for a time before the rot sets in.Dont worry it all turns out right in the end.Great comedy characters in one of the best Ealing comedies.
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on 12 December 2004
I am a huge fan of the Ealing Studios comedies; it is such a shame that this film is almost completely unknown here in America. I hope that SOMEDAY it will be released in DVD here, so that my friends will finally get to see it. And I agree completely with complaints of how Hollywood ruined "Ladykillers"! What was the point of remaking a film that was perfect to begin with?! Anyway, from the perspective of a Los Angeleno, this film was charming and hilarious. And if it is remade, at least the original will probably be relased here on DVD!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 March 2012
They say that the Ealing era was the British film industry's finest hour. Today, they are certainly dated but in an inventive, often very funny way. Not quaint, nor sloppy, nor nostalgic. As such they are all very watchable (& enjoyable)

"Passport to..." to my mind, is the best that depicts the street level London directly after the War, with the close-knit community rallying round, but with that 'spirit' that saw them through the Blitz. So, there's wheeling and dealing, pushing their luck, practical jokes and a broad humour that's infectious.

The story is absolute mumbo-jumbo nonsense with the subliminal message mocking the bureaucratic minefield that was necessary in shaping a devastated Britain - and London. Job's worth petty rules fly in the face of common sense.

To my mind, this is the best Ealing that snapshots a time and a place - many of the scenes are shot out in the bombed-cleared areas rather than the studio. The cast are a ragbag of the well-knowns of the time and many, many extras from young ruffians to bowler-hatted officials. It's fun and can be watched many times over. This must be at least my sixth.

It must have seemed like a breath of fresh air at the time - years of the Ministries commanding everyone in that 'proper', clipped voice, about every little detail - which they all knew they had to dutifully do. And now, we can all have a 'right larf'! at their expense.
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on 23 January 2007
When a WWII bomb goes off in a post-War London neighbourhood, the residents discover not only treasure but that the area is actually part of the Duchy of Burgundy and not in the UK.

The results are hilarious. The characters are brilliant. So very Ealing and so very British. For me the best British film ever!
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