Educating Rita (film)

Educating Rita
Educating rita uk.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLewis Gilbert
Produced byLewis Gilbert
Screenplay byWilly Russell
Based onEducating Rita
by Willy Russell
Music byDavid Hentschel
CinematographyFrank Watts
Edited byGarth Craven
Acorn Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • 16 June 1983 (1983-06-16) (UK)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget₤4 million[1]
Box office$14.6 million (USA)[2][3]

Educating Rita is a British 1983 drama/comedy film directed by Lewis Gilbert with a screenplay by Willy Russell based on his 1980 stage play. The film stars Michael Caine, Julie Walters, and Maureen Lipman. It won multiple major awards for best actor and best actress and was nominated for three Academy Awards.

Caine and Walters both won BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for best actor and actress. The British Film Institute ranked Educating Rita the 84th greatest British film of the 20th century.[4]



A Liverpudlian working-class young hairdresser Rita (Julie Walters) wants to better herself by studying literature. Her assigned Open University professor Frank Bryant (Michael Caine) however, openly abuses alcohol and soon develops misgivings about Rita's ability to adapt to student culture. Bryant is a jaded university lecturer, who describes his occupational ability as "appalling but good enough for his appalling students". His passion for literature is reignited by Rita, whose technical ability for the subject is limited by her lack of education but whose enthusiasm Frank finds refreshing.

Professor's mistake

To illustrate the rhyming principle of assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds, Dr. Bryant gives as an example the words 'swans' and 'stones' from W B Yeats's The Wild Swans at Coole. This is instead an example of consonance, the repetition of consonant sounds. However, in a scene just before Rita meets Dr. Bryant, some students mockingly observe, "He doesn't even know what assonance means!", confirming that it is Dr. Bryant's mistake, not the film's. In an ensuing discussion between Dr. Bryant and Rita, he asks her whether she understands assonance. Rita replies, "Yeah, it means you've got the rhyme wrong."

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