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84 Charing Cross Road

A movie directed by David Jones

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Friendship with Depth and Love

  • Nov 29, 2010
  • by
In these days of e-books, and bland books constructed from franchised ideas and formulas, we are presented "84 Charing Cross Road," a story about a relationship begun because of a mutual love of old great books.

Hopkins and Bancroft share a film highlighting both of their genuine personas.

Like Hopkins in "Shadowlands" and "The Remains of the Day," we see him in full glory, as a quiet man of grace and sophistication.

He owns the English bookstore, and Bancroft's character mails him a request for a book. Correspondence and a relationship begins. Contently and confidently married, Hopkins responds as an older brother might, and the two grow to cherish each other despite the distance.

As they care for each other, and slowly, their local friends and family become aware, we see how love transcends the sea. Neither character has an agenda, and this left me feeling a little less cynical about the world around me.

Like so many of today's e-mail- and chatroom-only friendships, they learn to appreciate each other, though knowing only the other as they choose to describe themselves.

This isn't a story about books or bookstores, despite the honest representation of their demeanor and personality. Any book lover knows the search for a book, and the texture of a bookseller's knowledge and connection with his books.

This is a movie about the depth, trust, and love of one unexpected relationship. Book lovers will enjoy the context, and good friends will smile knowingly.


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November 29, 2010
I think this is the second review I've read that gave this film high marks. I'll have to make time for it. Thanks for sharing!!
November 29, 2010
I would give this higher marks if I could. Quiet movie, not a popcorn thriller, but the movie carries long after the final credits.
More 84 Charing Cross Road reviews
review by . November 07, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Back before email and Twitter, there were letters...
The year is 1951 and New York book-lover Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft) writes to a small London bookshop in hopes of finding a rare book. Her request is filled quickly and politely by employee Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins). Delighted with the good service, Helene continues to order books from the shop at 84 Charing Cross Road for the next twenty years and she and Frank become devoted pen pals, sharing stories about their personal lives in addition to their love of rare books.      …
review by . August 28, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Well written and performed     Cons: none     Sitting at her typewriter in New York, Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft) sends off a letter to a stuffy bookstore in England that specializes in rare used books. Helene, oddly a true Bancroft-type character, is witty and charming and just a little bit kooky. Knowing not a thing about the foreign exchange rate, she includes way too much money for the purchases she is interested in.      Sitting …
About the reviewer
Brockeim ()
Ranked #168
Writer. Amazon reviewer. Humorist & poet. Friend of coffee & romance. Teller of tales, weaver of whimsy. Playful literary adventurer. Contact me so I can review your stuff.   … more
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About this movie


While searching for rare English books, New York writer Helene Hanff's (Anne Bancroft) letter to a London bookstore, run by Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins), begins a relationship between the two that spans two decades and two continents. Although their personalities and cultures are miles apart, their friendship blossoms into a deeper affection. Bancroft's performance earned her the BAFTA award, the British equivalent of the Oscar. Based on James Roose-Evans's play, which was based on Helene Hanff's memoir.
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Director: David Jones
Release Date: 1986
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (May 21, 2002)
Runtime: 1hr 40min
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