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Roman Holiday is a 1953 romantic comedy. The film introduced American audiences to Belgian-born actress Audrey Hepburn, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Gregory Peck and Eddie Albert co-starred. The movie was directed and produced by William Wyler. It was written by John Dighton and author Dalton Trumbo. As Trumbo was on the Hollywood blacklist, he was not credited; instead, Ian McLellan Hunter fronted for him. Trumbo's name was finally digitally added to the film's credits when it was released on DVD in 2003.

In the 1970s, both Peck and Hepburn were approached with the idea of a sequel, but the project never came to fruition. The film was remade for television in 1987 with Tom Conti and Catherine Oxenberg, who herself came from a European royal family.


Ann (Hepburn) is a royal princess of an unspecified country. She is on a widely publicized tour of several European capitals, including Rome. One night, she is overwhelmed by the strenuous demands of her official duties, where her day is tightly scheduled. Her doctor gives her a sedative to calm her down and help her sleep, but she secretly leaves her country's embassy to experience Rome by herself.

The injection eventually takes effect and she falls asleep on a bench, where Joe Bradley (Peck), an expatriate American reporter, meets her. Not recognizing her, he offers her money so that she can take a taxi home, but a very drowsy "Anya Smith" (as she calls herself) refuses to cooperate. Joe finally decides, for safety's sake, to let her spend the night in his apartment. He is amused by her regal manner, but less so when she appropriates his bed. He transfers her to a couch without awakening her. The next morning, Joe wakes up late and, leaving the princess still asleep, hurries off to work.

When his editor, Mr. Hennessy (Hartley Power), asks why he is late, Joe lies to him; he claims to have attended a press conference for the princess. Joe makes up details of the alleged interview until Hennessy informs him that the princess had suddenly "fallen ill" and the conference had been canceled. Joe sees a picture of her and recognizes the young woman. Joe and Hennessy end up making a bet that Joe can get an exclusive on the princess.Joe realizes he is sitting on a windfall. Hiding the fact that he is a reporter, he offers to show Rome to Anya, but not before getting his photographer friend, Irving Radovich (Eddie Albert), to tag along to secretly take pictures. However, Anya declines Joe's company and leaves.

Enjoying her freedom, on a whim, Anya gets her hair cut short in a barbershop facing the famous Trevi Fountain. Joe follows and "accidentally" meets her again. They spend the day seeing the sights, including the "Mouth of Truth", a face carved in marble which is said to bite off the hands of liars. When Joe pulls his hand out of the mouth, it appears to be missing, causing Anya to scream. He then pops his hand out of his sleeve and laughs. Hepburn's shriek was not acting — Peck decided to pull a gag he had once seen Red Skelton do, and did not tell his co-star beforehand. Later, Anya shares with Joe her dream of living a normal life without her crushing responsibilities. That night, at a dance on a boat, government agents finally track her down and try to escort her away, but a wild melee breaks out and Joe and Anya escape. Through all this, they gradually fall in love, but Anya realizes that their relationship cannot continue. She finally bids farewell to Joe, without revealing her true identity, and returns to the embassy.During the course of the day, Hennessy learns that the princess is missing, not ill as the embassy had claimed. He suspects that Joe knows where she is, and tries to get him to admit it, but Joe claims to know nothing about it. Knowing Joe's feelings for Anya, Irving reluctantly decides not to sell his photos.

The next day, Princess Ann appears at the delayed news conference, and is surprised to find Joe and Irving among the members of the press. Irving takes her picture with the same miniature cigarette lighter/camera he had used the previous day. He then presents her with the photographs he had taken that day, as a memento of her adventure. Joe lets her know, by allusion, that her secret is safe with them. She, in turn, works into her bland press conference statements a coded message of love and gratitude to Joe. She then departs, leaving Joe to linger for a while, contemplating what might have been.


Gregory Peck

Joe Bradley
The role was originally written with Cary Grant in mind. Grant turned the role down, believing he was too old to play Hepburn's love interest. (The studio later persuaded Grant to play opposite her in Charade.) Peck's contract gave him solo star billing, with the name of then-unknown Hepburn listed much less conspicuously in the credits. Halfway through the filming though, he requested that the producer give her equal billing — an almost unheard-of gesture in Hollywood.

Audrey Hepburn

Princess Ann ('Anya Smith')

Hepburn was cast after a screen-test. After she had performed a dignified, subdued scene from the film, the director called "cut", but the cameraman left the camera rolling, capturing the young actress suddenly become animated as she chatted with the director. The candid footage won her the role; some of it was later included in the original theatrical trailer for the film, along with additional screen test footage showing Hepburn trying on some of Anya's costumes and even cutting her own hair (referring to a scene in the film). Roman Holiday was not Hepburn's first American acting job—she appeared on a 1952 CBS Television Workshop production of Rainy Day in Paradise Junction—but it was her first major role, one which introduced her to the general public.
Eddie Albert as Irving Radovich
Harcourt Williams as the Ambassador of Princess Ann's country
Margaret Rawlings as Countess Vereberg, Ann's principal lady-in-waiting
Tullio Carminati as General Provno
Paola Borboni as the Charwoman
Laura Solari as Secretary





In 1999, Roman Holiday was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Roman Holiday was acknowledged as the fourth best film in the romantic comedy genre.

In 2002, AFI named Roman Holiday the fourth best love story of all time on its AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions list.

Tributes and references in popular cultureEdit

In the film L.A. Confidential, Bud White and Lynn Bracken go to the movies on a date, and see Roman Holiday. A brief clip of Peck, Hepburn, and the Vespa is shown.

The film inspired the lyrics of Deep Blue Something's "Breakfast at Tiffany's," but the author, Todd David Pipes, thought that one of Hepburn's other films would make a better song title.

At least two different orchid cultivars share this name, Epc. Joseph Romans 'Roman Holiday' and Blc. Empress Worsley 'Roman Holiday'.

The "Mouth of Truth" scene was shown in the 2006 film You, Me and Dupree, with Dupree stating that the trick always gets him even though he knows it's coming. The joke is also used in the film Only You and the 2007 film National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

In the popular television show Gossip Girl, a Christmas episode is titled "Roman Holiday" (01x11). In addition, in "Never Been Marcused" (02x02), Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) is seen telling Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) about her new boyfriend, "It's like Roman Holiday, except I'm Gregory Peck and he's Audrey Hepburn".

"Anya Smith" hitting the government agent on the head with a guitar is imitated in 2006 anime Paprika during a dream sequence of a cinephile.

In the manga and anime REC, Fumihiko Matsumaru and Aka Ondo went to see the movie in the first episode.

In the anime "The Irresponsible Captain Tylor", Empress Azalyn states that she is a fan of the movie, then a few moments later she undresses herself in a tribute to when Joe undresses Ann.

In the episode Play it Again, Brian of Family Guy, Brian rents the film to watch with Lois. In classic Family Guy fashion, the clip shows Anya revealing to Joe that she was a princess the whole time, with Joe replying "You bitch! I'm going to punch you in the face!"

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