An Ideal Husband

Synopsis: Sir Robert Chiltern is a successful Government minister, well-off and with a loving wife. All this is threatened when Mrs Cheveley appears in London with damning evidence of a past misdeed. Sir Robert turns for help to his friend Lord Goring, an apparently idle philanderer and the despair of his father. Goring knows the lady of old, and, for him, takes the whole thing pretty seriously.
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Director(s): Oliver Parker
Production: Miramax Films
  Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 15 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
97 min

- Your usual, my lord.

- Mmm?

Good morning, my lord.

The morning paper, my lord.

"Sir Robert Chiltern,

a rising star in Parliament,...

.. tonight hosts a party that promises to be

the highlight of the social calendar...

.. with his wife, Lady Gertrude,...

.. who is herself a leading figure

in women's politics. "

"Together this couple...

.. represents what is best

in English public life...

.. and is a noble contrast

to the lax morality...

.. so common

amongst foreign politicians. "

Dear oh dear. They will never say

that about me, will they, Phipps?

I sincerely hope not, sir.

Bit of a busy day today, I'm afraid.

Distressingly little time

for sloth or idleness.

- Sorry to hear it, sir.

- Not entirely your fault, Phipps.

Not this time.

Thank you, my lord.

- Good morning, Tommy!

- Morning, Lady Chiltern.

I very much look forward to this evening.

- Miss Mabel.

- Tommy.

I hope you can make

our usual appointment...

.. as I have something very particular

I wish to say to you.

Good day, ladies.

When Tommy wants to be romantic,

he talks to one just like a doctor.

Till tonight.

- Miss Mabel.

- Lord Goring.

Lord Goring!

Countess, good morning.

- Aren't you going to congratulate me?

- Congratulations.

Aren't you going to ask what for?

- What for?

- I've decided to get married.

My God! Who to?

That part... is still to be decided.

Good morning, dear Gertrude.

Good morning, Lady Markby.

Allow me to introduce

my friend Mrs Cheveley.

Two such charming women

should know each other.

- How do you do?

- Mrs Cheveley and I have met before.

Of course.


And to think

you married Sir Robert Chiltern.

You know, I was so hoping

to meet your clever husband.


Yes, but I have to return

to Vienna on Friday.

Oh, dear, what a shame.

Well, perhaps I might bring her

this evening?

Yes, by all means.

- What can I say? I'd be delighted.

- Well...

- We'll see you tonight.

- See you tonight.

You see, Phipps,

fashion is what one wears oneself.

What is unfashionable...

-.. is what other people wear.

- Yes, my lord.

Other people are quite dreadful.

The only possible society is oneself.

To love oneself...

.. is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Yes, my lord.

Their Graces,

the Duke and Duchess of Berwick.

Lord Windermere.

Countess Basildon.

.. and, it is widely agreed,

the last truly decent man in London.

That you're a very personable man

with a most attractive personality,...

.. and you have brought into British politics

an honesty and integrity...

A nobler atmosphere, a finer attitude...

And higher ideals.

One mustn't believe everything

one reads in the newspapers.

Yes, in the old days we had the rack.

Nowadays we have the press.

Your own newspaper being

the notable exception, Sir Edward.

Where truth shines out like a beacon

and lies run vainly for the shadows.

Bravo, Lady Chiltern!

Do I detect in your conversation

a lyricism...

.. not uncommon in your husband's

excellent speeches?

If you are suggesting that my position

owes anything to my wife,...

.. you are mistaken.

It owes everything to my wife.

I demand that you make it known!

Without her, I am entirely unexceptional.

And without her love,...

.. I'm nothing.

All I know is, a serious shake-up

in the government looks inevitable now.

The Prime Minister himself

was asking about you this morning.

Really? Probably afraid

you'd be taking his job!

Lady Markby, Mrs Cheveley.

Oh, my dear,...

.. if I had a jewel for every staring eye!

I'm glad to say, Lady Markby,

you evidently do!

Excuse me.

Chre madame, quelle surprise!

Lady Markby.

- I have not seen you since Berlin.

- Five years ago, Vicomte.

You are younger and more beautiful

than ever. How do you manage it?

By making it a rule only to talk

to charming people like yourself.

Mrs Cheveley.

What do we know about her?

Very influential in Vienna -

in the highest circles.

A force to be reckoned with.

And are you staying in London long?

That depends on the weather,

the cooking,...

.. and partly on your brother.

My dear, Sir Robert

has been dying to meet you.

Everyone is! Our attachs in Vienna

write to us about nothing else.

An acquaintance that begins

with a compliment...

.. is sure to develop into a real friendship.

- I see you've met my sister.

- Yes, indeed.

My dear child, allow me to introduce you

to the Vicomte de Nanjac.


You have a beautiful house, Sir Robert.

We're very happy here.

- I would so love to look around.

- Allow me.

Thank you.

Lord Goring.

Good evening, young lady.

Well, sir, what are you doing here?

Wasting your life, as usual!

You should be in bed, sir!

I heard you were at Lady Rufford's

dancing till four in the morning!

- Good evening, Father.

- How do you stand London society?

A lot of damn nobodies

talking about nothing!

Nothing is the only thing

I know anything about.

That's a paradox, sir. I hate paradoxes.

So do I. Everyone one meets

is a paradox nowadays.

It makes society so... obvious, hm?

Do you always understand

what you say, sir?

Yes,... if I listen attentively.


Oh, conceited young puppy!

I have it on very good authority

that you have some delightful Corots.

- Oh, really? Whose?

- Baron Arnheim.

- Did you know the Baron well?

- Intimately. Did you?

- At one time.

- Wonderful man, wasn't he?

Very remarkable, in many ways.

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Oliver Parker

Oliver Parker (born 6 September 1960) is an English film director. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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