A Canterbury Tale

Synopsis: A 'Land Girl', an American GI, and a British soldier find themselves together in a small Kent town on the road to Canterbury. The town is being plagued by a mysterious "glue-man", who pours glue on the hair of girls dating soldiers after dark. The three attempt to track him down, and begin to have suspicions of the local magistrate, an eccentric figure with a strange, mystical vision of the history of England in general and Canterbury in particular.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery
Production: Archers
Rotten Tomatoes:
124 min

"When that April with his showers sweet...

"the drought of March

hath pierced to the root...

"and bathed

every vein in such liqueur...

"from which virtue

engendered is the flower;

"When Zephyrus seek

with his swete breath...

"inspired hath

in every holt and heath...

"the tender croppes...

"and the young sun hath in the Ram

his half cours y-ronne...

"and smale foweles maken melody...

"that slepen all the night

with open eye-

"so priketh them nature in their corages-

"then longen folk

to go on pilgrimages...

"and palmers for to seken

stranger strands...

"to distant shrines

known in sundry lands;

"And especially from

every shire's end of England...

"to Canterbury they wend...

"the holy blissful martyr for to seek...

that them hath helpen

when that they were weak. "

600 years have passed.

What would they see,

Dan Chaucer and his goodly company today?

The hills and valleys are the same.

Gone are the forests

since the enclosures came.

Hedgerows have sprung.

The land is under plow...

and orchards bloom

with blossom on the bough.

Sussex and Kent are like a garden fair...

but sheep still graze

upon the ridges there.

The Pilgrims' Way

still winds above the weald...

through wood and break

and many a fertile field.

But though so little's changed

since Chaucer's day...

another kind of pilgrim

walks the way.


when on our pilgrimage we wend...

we modern pilgrims

see no journeys end.

Gone are the ring of hooves,

the creak of wheel.

Down in the valley

runs our road of steel.

No genial host at sinking of the sun

welcomes us in.

Our journeys just begun.


Canterbury, next stop!



Canterbury, next stop!

Next stop, Canterbury!

Canterbury? Hey, that's my station.

- Sorry, folks. Thanks.

- Watch it. Watch it.

Thanks, pop.

I'll sit the next dance out.

Ah. You'll break someone's neck one of these days.

Yourn too, I shouldn't wonder.

Don't you know there's a bylaw against

getting out of a moving train, penalty 40 shillings?

Why don't you light up the names of your stations?

How do you expect folks to read the signs?

I don't. Nor don't the company.

I'm here to call out the name of the station.

Why wait till the train gets going?

Now look here. In the first place,

I called out the name of the station...

loud, precise and clear,

while the train was stationary.

You had ample time to alight. Ample.

I heard you with my own ears calling out

Canterbury after the train started to move.

- He called out, "Canterbury, next stop."

- See?

But I'm going to Canterbury, darn it.

- The train's going to Canterbury.

- And you're stopping here at Chillingbourne.

Well, son of a gun.

- What time is the next -

- 8:

- 8:

- A.m.

- Here, what do those stripes mean?

- Sergeant.

Well, they're the wrong way up.

He's a sergeant. See?

Cut the quiz questions, pop.

What kind of a place is this with no train all night?

This is the kind of place

where people sleep at night.

- Are you all right, Sergeant?

- Yeah. I'm for Chillingbourne Camp.

- Okay. Ticket, please.

- Right. Here we are.

You can keep yourn. Miss.


These two gentlemen

will accompany you to town hall.

Why do you think I need an escort?

No young lady must go alone at night.

Mr. Colpeper's orders.

This way, please.

- Who is Mr. Colpeper?

- Local magistrate, justice of the peace.

- Say, pop, is there a hotel in this place?

- They'll tell you down at town hall.

Town hall?

- Eh?

- I said don't tell me this whistle-stop is a town.

Chillingbourne was constituted

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Michael Powell

Michael Latham Powell (30 September 1905 – 19 February 1990) was an English film director, celebrated for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger. Through their production company "The Archers", they together wrote, produced and directed a series of classic British films, notably 49th Parallel (1941), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Matter of Life and Death (1946, also called Stairway to Heaven), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). His later controversial 1960 film Peeping Tom, while today considered a classic, and a contender as the first "slasher", was so vilified on first release that his career was seriously damaged.Many film-makers such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and George A. Romero have cited Powell as an influence. In 1981, he received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award along with his partner Pressburger, the highest honour the British Film Academy can give a filmmaker. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "A Canterbury Tale" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 31 Mar. 2023. <https://www.scripts.com/script/a_canterbury_tale_5023>.

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