Synopsis: Wessex County, England during the Victorian era. Christian values dominate what are social mores. These mores and her interactions with two men play a large part in what happens in the young life of peasant girl, the shy, innocent, proper yet proud Tess Durbeyfield. The first of these men is Alec d'Urberville. After learning from a local historian that they are really descendants of the aristocratic d'Urberville family which has died out due to lack of male heirs, Tess' parents send her to a nearby mansion where they know some d'Urbervilles actually reside. This move is in order for the family to gain some benefit from their heritage. Upon her arrival at the mansion, Tess quickly learns that the family of Tess' "cousin" Alec are not true d'Urbervilles, but rather an opportunistic lot who bought the family name in order to improve their own standing in life. Tess is pulled between what she was sent to accomplish for her family against her general disdain for Alec, who will give her anyt
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Roman Polanski
Production: Criterion Collection
  Won 3 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 14 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
186 min

- Good night.

- Good night, Sir John.

Begging your pardon, sir.

We met on this selfsame road

the other day...

...and I said, "Good night," and

you replied, "Good night, Sir John."

I may have.

- Did so again today.

- So I did.

Why call me "Sir John" when I be

plain Jack Durbeyfield, the haggler?

Just a whim of mine.

I'm Parson Tringham by the way.

I made a discovery about you

while tracing some family trees...

...for our new county history.

I'm an antiquarian, you know.

You, Durbeyfield,

are directly descended...

...from the knightly house

of the d'Urbervilles.

- Did you really not know that?

- Never heard it before, sir.

Raise your head a little so that I can

see your face from the side.

Yes, that's the d'Urberville

nose and chin.

- A trifle coarser than of old, but still.

- Daze my eyes.

According to the records, your line

goes back to Sir Pagan d'Urberville...

...who came from Normandy

with William the Conqueror.

I've been slaving away

and living rough all these years?

Well, I thought you might already

know something about it.

It is true, I got an old silver spoon

at home and a graven seal...

...but I never paid them much heed.

Where do we d'Urbervilles live today?

You don't live anywhere.

You lie buried in your family vault

at Kingsbere-sub-Greenhill...

...laid out in lead coffins with your

effigies under marble canopies.

- And where be our family mansions?

- You haven't any.

No land neither?

None at all?

You had an abundance of land

in the old days.

What can I do about it, sir?

Well, as to that...

- Can I do nothing?

- Nothing whatever...

...save possibly chasten yourself

by thinking:

"How are the mighty fallen."

Good night...

...Sir John.

Won't you take a quart of beer

with me, sir?

There's a grand brew to be had

at The Pure Drop.

Though not so good as at Rolliver's.

Sir John d'Urberville.

That's who I am.

What is this?

- It is our club dance, sir.

- Club dance?

- But where are your partners?

- They've not finished work yet.

They'll be here by and by.

- Will you join us till then, sir?

- With pleasure...

...but one partner won't go far

among so many.

One's better than none.

It is sad work a-footing it

with no one to give you a squeeze.

Don't be so forward.

- What are you doing?

- I've a mind to enjoy myself. Come on.

You're full of nonsense.

Suppose someone sees us.

All right, go on. Don't wait for me.

I'll catch you up in five minutes.

Sir? Hey, hey, hey, sir?

Hey, sir?

Life has found me

a great gentleman.

- Noblest in the county!

- Lord, oh, Lord.

If it isn't your father

riding home in his cart.

There bain't be a man in the whole

of Wessex with finer skeletons than I!

Father's tired, that's all.

He sent for the cart

because our own horse died.

You know that very well.

Rows and rows

of knightly ancestors, I got.

Bain't be a man in the whole

of Wessex with finer skeletons than I.

I'm glad you've come.

Where are you off to?

I thought I'd change and help you.

You bide here. I want to tell you

what's happened.

We've been found to be the greatest

gentlefolk in the county...

...reaching back long before

Oliver Crumble's time...

...back to the days

of the pagan Turks.

With monuments and vaults...

...and crests and coats of arms,

and the Lord knows what all!

Is that why Father made such

a mommet of himself in that cart?

Our true name is d'Urberville.

That's why he came home in style,

not because he'd been drinking.

Where is he now?

It was a parson told him

the pedigree of the matter.

- But where is he now?

- Well, to tell you the truth...

...he was that upset, he's gone off

to Rolliver's to get up his strength.

Much strength he'll find

at the bottom of a pint pot.

Very well, I'll go and get him.

We'll be back afore you know it.

Now, look, be a good girl

and put the little ones to bed for me.

There it is.


That spoon may be small,

but my family was great.

- Jack, I've got a project.

- We owned carriages, estates...

...and mansions without number.

- Listen to me.

Is there any money in it?

It is well to be kin to a coach,

even if you don't ride in one.

I've been thinking since

you brought me the news.

- I've got a project.

- Which reminds me, woman.

You better find that dang seal

of ours, or I'll do you a mischief.

Listen. There's a great lady

by the name of d'Urberville...

...living out by Trantridge.

Well, she's nothing compared

with us.

Younger branch of the family,

no doubt.

I'll wager they don't go back

to King Norman's day.

That's as may be, but she's rich.

Lot of good her money will do us.

It could do. We must send

our Tess to claim kin.

- Claim kin?

- Why shouldn't two branches...

...of the same family

be on visiting terms?

It would certainly put her

in the way of a grand marriage.

Then she ought to go there tomorrow.

Let's drink to that. Mrs. Rolliver!

There you are, my poppet.

We was just on our way.

But you're asking me to go begging.

Begging. What are you saying?

It is all in the family.

If they was in need, I should

take them in without a word.

We all have to take the ups

with the downs, Tess.

Now, you must go and see her...

...and ask her for some help

in our trouble.

If the lady received me at all, it

would be enough if she were friendly.

You must not expect her to help us.

Come, come, my dear.

With your pretty face,

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Gérard Brach

Gérard Brach (23 July 1927 – 9 September 2006) was a French screenwriter best known for his collaborations with the film directors Roman Polanski and Jean-Jacques Annaud. At the beginning of the 1970s he twice directed the movies La Maison and The Boat on the Grass. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Tess" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Jun 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/tess_19555>.

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