Roman Holiday (1953) – A Review

Roman Holiday 1953 Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn
One of the most famous scenes from Roman Holiday

Hey, I can be a sucker for a good romantic comedy – the problem is finding one. I recently revisited Roman Holiday the 1953 film classic and was reminded just how darn good they can be when they’re done right.

Gregory Peck is an American newsman living in Rome and Audrey Hepburn is the visiting royal princess. When she decides to skip out on her royal duties for a day to experience the city and how the normal folk live. “The Princess’ Day Off!” It begins one of the most charming tours of Rome ever!

Peck is as usual great, and it’s a refreshing change to see him in a much lighter role than the heavier dramas he’s become better known for. Every romantic comedy needs someone to fill “the best friend” role and Eddie Albert does a nice, funny job in it.

Director William Wyler keeps the story moving and never allows the beautiful locations to eclipse his actors or this romantic tale. The film was entirely shot in Rome and of course it looks like an enchanting, friendly place and is probably the best advertisement for the city that the tourism bureau could ever hope to ask for.

Audrey Hepburn Gregory Peck Roman Holiday
Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn taking a ride

However, the real star here is Audrey Hepburn, who would go onto win the Best Actress Oscar for her first major leading role in a film and would lead her to be one of Hollywood’s great leading ladies.

Right from her first appearance as she is introduced to an endless line of guests in the palace and tries to hide her exhaustion and boredom you can’t help but like her. Her excitement over doing the most seemingly mundane things and getting to finally shake herself from her royal demeanor is a real delight and as the inevitable romance between the reporter and princess evolves you can’t help but smile.

The film is a fairy tale, but one that you’ll find yourself believing in. The most famous scene, a visit to the Mouth of Truth is still as funny as ever. There’s really nothing negative I can say about the film. It’s funny, romantic, sad, it’s got great locations and enjoyable characters. It definitely lives up to its “classic film” status.


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