Rotten Tomatoes
Cancel Movies Tv shows Shop News Showtimes

Brief Encounter

Released Aug 24, 1946 1h 26m Romance Drama List
93% Tomatometer 46 Reviews 91% Audience Score 10,000+ Ratings
Returning home from a shopping trip to a nearby town, bored suburban housewife Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) is thrown by happenstance into an acquaintance with virtuous doctor Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard). Their casual friendship soon develops during their weekly visits into something more emotionally fulfilling than either expected, and they must wrestle with the potential havoc their deepening relationship would have on their lives and the lives of those they love. Read More Read Less

Where to Watch

Brief Encounter

Prime Video Max Apple TV

Watch Brief Encounter with a subscription on Max, rent on Prime Video, Apple TV, or buy on Prime Video, Apple TV.

Brief Encounter

What to Know

Critics Consensus

Brief Encounter adds a small but valuable gem to the Lean filmography, depicting a doomed couple's illicit connection with affecting sensitivity and a pair of powerful performance.

Read Critics Reviews

Critics Reviews

View All (46) Critics Reviews
Zadie Smith Daily Telegraph (UK) Lean's sad, buttoned-up account of unconsummated love is about all of us and our cautious natures. Jan 17, 2018 Full Review Sophie Monks Kaufman Little White Lies Romance and goodness are evoked with equal power and from these conflicting impulses, voluptuous demons spring eternal. Rated: 5/5 Nov 9, 2015 Full Review Kate Muir Times (UK) One of cinema's classic love stories. Rated: 5/5 Nov 5, 2015 Full Review Ruth Maramis FlixChatter Film Blog One of the greatest classic romances, beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. This timeless cinematic gem is just as memorable as David Lean's big, epic films. Rated: 4.5/5 Feb 16, 2024 Full Review Kat Halstead Common Sense Media For a movie where it appears that very little happens, this classic 1940s British romantic drama packs an almighty emotional punch. Rated: 4/5 Apr 6, 2021 Full Review Film Daily Staff The Film Daily Rate this offering as one of the better British films. Feb 1, 2021 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (1000+) audience reviews
Stephanie Brief Encounter was excellent. The cinematic elements of the film deserved an Oscar! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/09/23 Full Review Normal D Brief Encounter is a film that utilizes sure handed direction and perfect performances to engagingly animate a dark and dryly hilarious script. Melodramatic, intriguing, charged with chemistry and propelled forward by immaculate editing, the film is an immensely entertaining look at the complexities of romantic love, from a woman's point of view. Our heroin, or perhaps anti-heroine, is fascinatingly rendered, and her relatable motivations and failures play out against a cast of equally fascinating side characters, who's parts are very beautifully written and performed. The film is able to, with a very small and simple story, elicit thoughts about society, monogamy, ethics, morals, lust, manipulation, and trust. Beautiful to look at, with a pitch perfect score, Brief Encounter is the kind of film that made me lean forward in my chair while watching, and cackle and slap my lap, and then feel really sad. It's a ride. I liked it. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 12/07/23 Full Review Iain M Has to be in the top 3 British movies of all time. The story is a masterpiece in emotional supression, what might have been, what they really wanted to say and do. Both main roles are superbly underplayed by Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard respectively, but you know I think the real hero of the story is Fred - watch it and perhaps you will catch my drift. Incidentally, the action takes place around a railway station platform cafe, which is actually Carnforth Railway Station, and there is now a cafe and museum there where you can re-live the film. (They also do an excellent bacon and egg roll.) Rated 5 out of 5 stars 12/01/23 Full Review Jeremy S An absolute classic. Makes me nostalgic for a time before my time. Very British, when British was still a thing. Stoic characters, atmospheric railway stations, romantic without gushing, moving , engrossing and quietly brilliant . Rated 5 out of 5 stars 11/29/23 Full Review matthias s 'Brief Encounter' is a captivating 1945 romance film directed by David Lean. Set in post-war England, it follows Laura and Alec, two strangers who meet at a railway station and instantly connect. As they continue to meet in secret, their undeniable chemistry intensifies, despite the societal constraints and moral obligations that threaten to keep them apart. Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard deliver remarkable performances, making their characters' love both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. Adapted from Noel Coward's play, the screenplay weaves poignant dialogues and emotional monologues throughout the narrative. Lean's direction, coupled with stunning black-and-white cinematography, elevates the film into a timeless and profound exploration of love and human emotions. 'Brief Encounter' is an enthralling masterpiece that will leave viewers deeply moved and engaged in the complexities of love and sacrifice. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 11/15/23 Full Review CodyZamboni Low key, bittersweet would be romance by people who know their relationship is doomed from the start. I like the nicely understated performances, and it was gratifying to see actors that are older, frumpier and not glamorous Hollywood types, That helps add to the realism and poignancy. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 07/26/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Brief Encounter

My Rating

Read More Read Less POST RATING WRITE A REVIEW EDIT REVIEW

Cast & Crew

The Red Shoes 99% 91% The Red Shoes Little Women 75% 83% Little Women Voyage to Italy 96% 75% Voyage to Italy Marty 96% 87% Marty Far From the Madding Crowd 64% 77% Far From the Madding Crowd Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

Movie Info

Synopsis Returning home from a shopping trip to a nearby town, bored suburban housewife Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) is thrown by happenstance into an acquaintance with virtuous doctor Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard). Their casual friendship soon develops during their weekly visits into something more emotionally fulfilling than either expected, and they must wrestle with the potential havoc their deepening relationship would have on their lives and the lives of those they love.
Director
David Lean
Producer
Noël Coward, Anthony Havelock-Allan, Ronald Neame
Screenwriter
Noël Coward, Anthony Havelock-Allan, David Lean, Ronald Neame
Distributor
Samuel Goldwyn Company, Paramount Pictures, Criterion Collection, Universal Pictures
Production Co
The Rank Organization [gb], G.C.F., Cineguild
Genre
Romance, Drama
Original Language
British English
Release Date (Theaters)
Aug 24, 1946, Wide
Release Date (Streaming)
Nov 18, 2016
Runtime
1h 26m
Sound Mix
Mono
Most Popular at Home Now