Splitting Heirs

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Splitting Heirs
Splitting Heirs.jpg
Theatrical release poster.
Directed by Robert Young
Produced by Simon Bosanquet
Redmond Morris
Written by Eric Idle
Music by Michael Kamen
Cinematography Tony Pierce-Roberts
Edited by John Jympson
Prominent Features
Distributed by UIP (UK/International)
Universal Pictures (US/Canada)
Release date
  • 2 April 1993 (1993-04-02) (UK)
  • 30 April 1993 (1993-04-30) (US)
Running time
87 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $3,246,063 (USA)

Splitting Heirs is a 1993 British film starring Eric Idle, Rick Moranis, Barbara Hershey, Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Cleese and Sadie Frost. The film was directed by Robert Young, and features music by Michael Kamen. It was entered in the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.[1]


The film centres on the aristocratic family of the Dukes of Bournemouth (England), upon which misfortune has fallen throughout history, leading its members to believe the family is cursed. The most recent heir, Thomas Henry Butterfly Rainbow Peace, was left in a restaurant as an infant in the 1960s; by the time his parents remembered him, he had disappeared. Meanwhile in the 1990s Tommy Patel (Eric Idle) has grown up in an Asian/Indian family in Southall, never doubting his ethnicity despite being taller than anyone else in the house, fair-haired, blue-eyed, light-skinned—-and not liking curry. From the family corner shop he commutes to the City where he works for the Bournemouth family's stockbroking firm, handling multi-million pound deals.

Tommy is given the job of acting as host to the visiting American representative of the firm, Henry Bullock (Rick Moranis), who turns out to be the son of the head of the firm, the present Duke. They become friends and the friendship survives Henry becoming the new Duke when his father dies. Circumstantial evidence shows that the true Bournemouth heir is actually Tommy; we see a series of family portraits each of which captures something of Tommy's facial characteristics, and his Indian mother tells him the story of his adoption. He consults the lawyer who dealt with his adoption, Raoul P. Shadgrind (John Cleese), who says Tommy has no hope of proving his claim, but plants the idea of him obtaining his rightful place in the family by getting Henry out of the way; Shadgrind himself then engineers a variety of 'accidents' in the belief that he will share in the spoils as Tommy's partner. The delightfully-complicated love interest comes with Tommy's and Henry's (shared at the same time) lover, later the new Duchess (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and their (shared at different times) mother, the dowager Duchess (Barbara Hershey). As befits a classical comedy of errors, the final resolution of everyone's doubts and misconceptions leaves everyone living "happily ever after - "well, for a bit, at least..."

The setting for the Duke's stately home in the latter part of the film is Longleat.



The film currently has a score of 8% on Rotten Tomatoes[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Box office[edit]

The movie performed poorly.[8]

Video release[edit]

The film has been released on VHS in the United States and Britain. A Region 1 DVD has been released in the United States, and a Nordic edition Region 2 DVD was released in 2010.[9]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Splitting Heirs". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  2. ^ "Splitting Heirs". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  3. ^ Tallerico, Brian (2013-08-28). "Splitting Heirs Movie Review & Film Summary (1993)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  4. ^ "`Splitting Heirs' Has An Air Of Desperation About It - Chicago Tribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. 1993-04-30. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  5. ^ Chris Hicks (1993-05-09). "Film review: Splitting Heirs". Deseret News. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  6. ^ "MOVIE REVIEW : Idle's 'Splitting Heirs' Is Funny Despite Its Limits - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1993-05-01. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  7. ^ Canby, Vincent (1993-05-01). "Movie Review - Splitting Heirs - Review/Film; Trying to Kill One's Way To a Title - NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  8. ^ "Weekend Box Office : 'Proposal' Still Doing Indecent Business". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  9. ^ http://cdon.no/film/en_arving_for_mye-11717151

External links[edit]