The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

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For the novel, see Judith Hearne.
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne .jpeg
Video cover
Directed by Jack Clayton
Produced by Richard Johnson
Peter Nelson
Screenplay by Peter Nelson
Based on Judith Hearne 
by Brian Moore
Starring Maggie Smith
Bob Hoskins
Wendy Hiller
Music by Georges Delerue
Cinematography Peter Hannan
Edited by Terry Rawlings
Distributed by Island Pictures
Release dates
  • 23 December 1987 (1987-12-23) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne is a 1987 drama film made by HandMade Films Ltd. and United British Artists (UBA) starring Maggie Smith and Bob Hoskins. It was directed by Jack Clayton (his final theatrical film) and produced by Richard Johnson and Peter Nelson, with George Harrison and Denis O'Brien as executive producers.

The screenplay was by Peter Nelson from the novel Judith Hearne by Northern Irish-Canadian writer Brian Moore. The music score was by Georges Delerue and the cinematography by Peter Hannan.

The novel was written after Moore had left Ireland, partly because of the religious stranglehold on the country, and was living in Canada. The book was published in 1955 and began to be optioned for the stage and screen almost immediately. John Huston optioned it, intending to film it with Katharine Hepburn; director Irvin Kershner planned on Deborah Kerr. When finally somebody had the rights and the financing at the same time, Jack Clayton, a Catholic himself, was chosen to direct.

The cast also features Wendy Hiller, Marie Kean, Ian McNeice, Alan Devlin, Prunella Scales, Sheila Reid and Aidan Gillen in his first film appearance. Although the novel is set in Belfast, filming took place in Dublin.

A radio drama adaptation was produced by BBC Radio 4 in 1995, directed by Michael Quinn.


Pauline Kael wrote: "Clayton is a felicitous choice to direct a character study film about a woman's rage against the Church for her wasted life. His first feature was Room at the Top with Simone Signoret and he made The Innocents with Deborah Kerr and The Pumpkin Eater with Anne Bancroft - he knows how to show women's temperatures and their mind-body inter-actions. Maggie Smith becomes the essence of spinster - she makes you feel the ghastliness of knowing you're a figure of fun."[1]


Maggie Smith won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress. She also won the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress (tied with Billie Whitelaw for The Dressmaker). Bob Hoskins won the Best Actor award (also for Who Framed Roger Rabbit)



  1. ^ Pauline Kael, Hooked p.410 - 411

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