The Importance of Being Earnest

Synopsis: Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff are two men that are both pretending to be someone they are not.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): Anthony Asquith
Production: General Film Distributors
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
95 min

"The Importance of Being Earnest."

Eating as usual, I see, Algy.

I believe it is usual in good society...

to take some slight refreshment

after morning exercise.

And what brings you to London,

my dear Ernest?

Oh, pleasure, pleasure.

What else should bring one anywhere?

Where have you been

since last Thursday?

- In the country.

- What on earth do you do there?

When one is in town,

one amuses oneself.

When one is in the country,

one amuses other people.

And who are the people you amuse?

Oh, neighbors, neighbors.

Got nice neighbors

in your part of Shropshire?

Perfectly horrid.

Never speak to them.

How immensely

you must amuse them.

- Shropshire is your county, is it not?

- Shropshire? Yes, of course.

By the way,

Gwendolen is in town, isn't she?

She is. In fact, she's having tea

with me this afternoon.

- How perfectly delightful.

- And so is Aunt Augusta.


You know, the way

you flirt with Gwendolen...

is almost as bad as the way

Gwendolen flirts with you.

I am in love with Gwendolen.

I have come up to town

expressly to propose to her.

I thought you had come up on pleasure.

I call that business.

How utterly unromantic you are.

I really don't see anything

romantic in proposing.

It's very romantic to be in love,

but there's nothing romantic

about a definite proposal.

Why, one may be accepted.

One usually is, I believe,

and then the whole excitement is over.

The very essence of romance

is uncertainty.

If ever I get married, I shall

certainly try and forget the fact.

I have no doubt about that,

my dear Algy.

The divorce court was specially

invented for people like you.

Divorces are made in heaven.

Marriages are...

Yes, Algy?

Oh, well, there's no use

my speculating on that subject.

Or, indeed, your speculating

on marrying Gwendolen.

Why on earth do you say that?

In the first place, girls never marry

the men they flirt with.

- Ah! That is nonsense.

- It isn't. It's a great truth.

It accounts for the extraordinary number

of bachelors that one sees

all over the place.

Second place,

I don't give my consent.

Your consent?

My dear fellow,

Gwendolen is my first cousin,

and before I allow you to marry her,

you will have to clear up

the whole question of Cecily.

Cecily? What on earth

do you mean?

What you mean, Algy,

by "Cecily"?

I don't know anyone

of the name of Cecily.

Do you mean to say that you've had

my cigarette case all this time?

I wish you'd let me know.

I've been writing frantic letters

to Scotland Yard about it.

I was very nearly offering

a large reward.

I wish you would offer one. I happen

to be more than usually hard up.

It's no good offering a large reward

now that the thing is found.

I think that's rather mean of you,

Ernest, I must say.

However, it makes no matter,

for now that I look at the inscription,

I find that the thing isn't yours after all.

Well, of course it's mine!

You've seen me with it a hundred times.

You have no right whatsoever

to read what is written inside.

It is a very ungentlemanly thing

to read a private cigarette case.

It's absurd to have a hard-and-fast rule

about what one should

and shouldn't read.

More than half of modern culture

depends on what one shouldn't read.

I'm quite aware of the fact,

and I don't propose

to discuss modern culture with you.

It isn't the sort of thing

one should talk of in private.

- I simply want my cigarette case back.

- Yes!

But this isn't your cigarette case.

This cigarette case is a present

from someone of the name of Cecily.

You said that you didn't know

anyone of that name.

Rate this script:(0.00 / 0 votes)

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. Wilde's parents were successful Anglo-Irish intellectuals in Dublin. Their son became fluent in French and German early in life. At university, Wilde read Greats; he proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. He became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles. As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new "English Renaissance in Art" and interior decoration, and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversational skill, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day. At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into what would be his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). The opportunity to construct aesthetic details precisely, and combine them with larger social themes, drew Wilde to write drama. He wrote Salome (1891) in French while in Paris but it was refused a licence for England due to an absolute prohibition on the portrayal of Biblical subjects on the English stage. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late-Victorian London. At the height of his fame and success, while The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) was still being performed in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for criminal libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The libel trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with men. After two more trials he was convicted and sentenced to two years' hard labour, the maximum penalty, and was jailed from 1895 to 1897. During his last year in prison, he wrote De Profundis (published posthumously in 1905), a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. On his release, he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of 46. more…

All Oscar Wilde scripts | Oscar Wilde Scripts

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Submitted on August 05, 2018


Translate and read this script in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Discuss this The Importance of Being Earnest script with the community:


Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


"The Importance of Being Earnest" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 19 Sep. 2020. <>.

We need you!

Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

Watch the movie trailer

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Marketplace:

Sell your Script !

Get listed in the most prominent screenplays collection on the web!

The Studio:

ScreenWriting Tool

Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.