Gosford Park

January 4th, 2002


more trailers Gosford Park

Kristin Scott Thomas and Robert Altman in Gosford ParkStill of Kristin Scott Thomas in Gosford ParkStill of Ryan Phillippe and Emily Watson in Gosford ParkStill of Jeremy Northam in Gosford ParkGosford ParkStill of Kristin Scott Thomas and Jeremy Northam in Gosford Park

Multiple storylined drama set in 1932, showing the lives of upstairs guest and downstairs servants at a party in a country house in England.

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 7.3/10 (43,200 voted)

Critic's Score: 90/100

Director: Robert Altman

Stars: Maggie Smith, Ryan Phillippe, Michael Gambon

Set in the 1930's the story takes place in an old fashioned English country house where a family has invited many of their friends up for a weekend shooting party. The story centers around the McCordle family, particularly the man of the house, William McCordle. Getting on in years William has become benefactor to many of his relatives and friends. As the weekend goes on and secrets are revealed, it seems everyone, above stairs and below, wants a piece of William and his money, but how far will they go to get it?

Writers: Robert Altman, Bob Balaban

Maggie Smith - Constance Trentham
Michael Gambon - William McCordle
Kristin Scott Thomas - Sylvia McCordle
Camilla Rutherford - Isobel McCordle
Charles Dance - Lord Raymond Stockbridge
Geraldine Somerville - Louisa Stockbridge
Tom Hollander - Anthony Meredith
Natasha Wightman - Lavinia Meredith
Jeremy Northam - Ivor Novello
Bob Balaban - Morris Weissman
James Wilby - Freddie Nesbitt
Claudie Blakley - Mabel Nesbitt
Laurence Fox - Rupert Standish
Trent Ford - Jeremy Blond
Ryan Phillippe - Henry Denton

Taglines: Tea At Four. Dinner At Eight. Murder At Midnight.

Release Date: 4 January 2002

Filming Locations: Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $15,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $395,162 (USA) (30 December 2001) (9 Screens)

Gross: $87,745,500 (Worldwide) (2001)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Ryan Phillippe was cast at the 11th hour replacing an actor who withdrawn.

Continuity: Lady Trentham is holding the paper open as Denton leaves after having coffee spilled on him. In the next shot, the paper is closed and she opens it again.

Morris Weissman: You're providing a lot of entertainment for nothing.
Ivor Novello: Morris... I'm used to it.

User Review

Right said Bob!


Robert Altman's long, fragmented and very hit-or-miss career reaches another of his periodic highs with this clever and beautifully realised dissection of the English class system and skit on the classic Agatha Christie whonunnit.

Altman's preferences for kaleidoscopic social observation has sometimes failed in the past due to the weight of its own ambition: multi-plotted and multi-charactered snapshots of time and place held together by loose ties or a general thematic framework. Sometimes it pays off spectacularly (Nashville); sometimes it flatters to deceive (Short Cuts).

It works well here due to the necessary discipline of the single location and the greater opportunities for interaction among the characters this affords. Add to that an exemplary cast of (mostly) British character actors and a knowing script by Julian Fellowes that gives Altman's keenly observant camera plenty of time to make its own points.

Rightly, Altman is less concerned with the murder mystery, which is almost an aside, than with the opportunity given by a shooting party at a 1930s stately mansion to observe the English aristocracy and their servants in social interaction.

Never happier than when involved in a bit of human anthropology, Altman lightly dissects the complexities and hierarchies which go on both above and below stairs; in which many subtle and unsubtle rituals are played out among groups of people who clearly dislike each other but are forced through circumstance, need or employment to observe the fundamental social practices required.

1932 is also a time of intruding change into the nature of the old English ruling classes, slowly disintegrating in this between-wars period and, in this case, largely reliant on the wealth of one particularly reluctant patron to keep them in furs and flunkies. In on this act comes the (to them) faintly odious whiff of 20th century new money, represented by Hollywood and popular culture. These intruders are kept in their place, but the message is clear - change is coming, and coming fast.

The muted colours and autumnal setting continue this theme of a world in terminal decline and of a group of characters keenly conscious of place and tradition yet also wearied and exhausted by it. Only at the very end, when fundamental change has occurred and many characters are left to face up to very different destinies do we see a bit of sunshine creeping in, heralding the dawn of a new era.

The cast are all excellent, with special mention deserving of Maggie Smith's effortless scene stealing as a bitchy but broke old Countess; the ever reliable Jeremy Northam as matinee idol Ivor Novello, well aware of his place in the great scheme of things and young Kelly Macdonald in the pivotal role of Smith's harassed maid who's inquisitiveness rattles a whole load of family skeletons.