Roman Holiday 1953 // Review

Because this is a black and white movie, I have to admit I didn't think I would get very much sucked into the story. I thought it would lack vividness, perhaps, and - well - colour. 

But blimey, I was wrong. Although this movie is black-and-white, it was very colourful and charming and sparkly with real-ness. I can easily imagine all the colours - the yellow sandiness of Rome, the brown-grey bricks of the building, the greeny shades of Joe's bedroom, the soft-pinkines of Ann's dress and hat in the last scene, and the soft green of the motorbike in Rome. It's probably the colourful-est black-and-white movie made, ever. It's sunny, it's nostalgic, you form good friends with it immediately.


It bought me into a queer, candy-like, world-of-golden-summers nostalgia. It left me super angry, and super in love. I mean, it's a one-day romance in the yellow sunlight of Rome - how adorable and quirky is that?!! It also made me - I, who hate travelling! - want to go to Rome. Oh, let's just start the review. :-)

My sister pointed out, after I had written my review of Belle, that I often forget to summarize the story of the movie I am reviewing. I pass on to the gushing and the characters immediately. So this time I'll tell you what the story is about:

Princess Ann, beautiful heiress to the throne, is on a trip in Rome, with a very big and packed schedule before her. She has a stress-panic-evening in her bed on evening, tired of all the work and pretending-to-be-happy, and acting-super-glamorous's, and the doctor gives her a dose of 'very harmless' drugs. Going out into Rome that evening, she falls into a hazy waze of sleepy dose on a bench, where she meets Joe Bradley.

Joe Bradley feels he has to look after this young girl sleeping on the bench, and takes her to his apartment. When he realises she is, in fact, the much-talked-over princess, he takes his chance to win a lot of money, and takes the Princess on a trip where she does all the kind of things she always wanted to do. They fall in love and he eventually does not publish any pictures or stories of the Princess. SPOILER - They end up separated (more about the sniffle-worthy ending later, I'm afraid.) - END OF SPOILER.

Audrey Hepburn as Princess Ann (spelt without an E, oh dear!) was, as the natural observer, a delight to watch. Goodness, how beautiful is this actress!!!! - I simply cannot take it in. Those perfect eyebrows! That charming light-up-the-room kind of smile! This was Audrey's first leading role - the movie that made her famous, and she is, simply put, iconic as Ann. 

I love how we go behind the curtain and see such a different, younger, real Ann. Her character, when in public, doing her duties, is graceful, swan-like and poised (even when loosing a shoe, ha), and then we see her girlish, care-free, normal side when she escapes and does the things she's always wanted to do. She was beautiful, adorable, warm.

By the way, did you know that Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium? I'm really proud now.

OH MY GOODNESS. Joe Bradley. He's probably my new favourite movie hero!

I loved him so much that, believe it or not, he's been put right next to Mr Knightley and Matthew Crawley and all those much-talked over gentlemen on my blog, he really has! I love him! Seriously, he gave me so many of those little creamy feelsy feels inside. His way of arching one eyebrow, his twisted little grin, his twinkly eyes, messy apartment, funny dry lines and, oh such a gentleman! And the fact that Gregory Peck is achingly handsome doesn't really help. =)

He really is a Gentleman. With a capital G, by all means.

I hope no-one ever makes a re-make of this movie. If 'they' will, I won't watch it, because 'they' are sure to make something very unsuitable of the whole share-an-apartment-thing. But it was very appropriate in here - Jo Bradley is such a gentleman - he was a bit disturbed with the whole business, but he did it very well and distinguished-like. 

As I told my dad, 'If they would make this movie now, they would make something very inappropriate of the story.' But it's an old movie, and it's super good and trustworthy. It totally behaves, and I love it. :-)


As I said, they gave me so many feels. The smiles they exchange. The funny lines. Their strong, one-day, we-understand-each-other relationship was just so perfect. I'm sinking in their adorableness right now, looking at that gif. I love how they make each other smile. Joe finds Ann absolutely charming and just a plain-adorable-doll he wants to look after. Ann finds Joe so easy and funny. They were made for each other, don't ya think?

I also loved the scene where they pretended they were a married couple. 

Let me talk about this scene. It didn't scare me, because I had seen the scene (or scene the seen?) beforehand (when it did kind of scare me for a moment), so I just sank in the adorable-couple-ness of it. I love how he teases her. I love it when people tease people in the kind of nice, adorable way. I know an elderly man at Church and we always really dryly tease each other and I just really like it.  Oh, I just LOVE Joe Bradley. It's so HIM, to do that. With his hand. 

And then she falls in his arms of giggling relief, a little embarrassed, he grinning. Then he teases some more and I just want to be Princess Ann. Oh for a holiday in Rome with Joe Bradley! :-D

The costumes in this movie were drool-y elegant. There aren't that many, and the main dress we see on Ann is her charming, simple two piece costume featured in a lot of the pictures in this post. I love the little striped bow around her neck - it's so holiday-ish and beach-ice-cream-like.

The other costumes we see Ann wearing are very royal and elegant. They remind me a lot of the dresses Queen Elizabeth wore in the fifties. Strings of pearls, gloves, flare-y, mid-calf dresses. And her sparkly earrings. AND HER HATS. As I said, although this movie doesn't have colour, I just know all the colours of the dresses. The one she wears in the above picture is dark burgandy red. Right?

No wonder this movie received a reward for costume design!

This movie was also really quite funny. Joe Bradley has a way of performing his lines that just makes my face crack into a crazy smile immediately. 'Honey, I haven't worn a nightgown in years' made me smile. And oh, the way he pushed his friend on the ground and went, 'Oh, dear, you slipped again!'

The chauffeur of the taxi when Joe met Ann first made me laugh too, when he tried to explain what he meant by 'bambino.' HAHA. Some very quirky side-characters in here.

Ready for this, dear fellow-Roman-Holiday-viewers? This is the part where I talk about the ending of Roman Holiday.

WHY. IT MADE ME SO ANGRY. I was screaming inside my brain, inside my everythings, I was screaming, 'Oh no! Oh no! They ARE a couple! They can't end like that!!!! NO!' I had a private panic attack, and you're lucky that I didn't fall dead of anguish and grief in my soul. Don't laugh, this is really serious, okay? I couldn't stand to see these two beautiful people so upset. Their eye contact - so quietly happy and hugely sad - almost gave me goosebumps - it was so achingly adorable.

The last scene was really hard to watch. That's all I can say. 

Let's end this post quietly. I have been quietened in sadness and scratchings inside me. *Sniffles*

Have you seen Roman Holiday?
Let's rewrite an ending together.


  1. In answer to your question, no I haven't seen it yet, but we were just given a copy, so, with how excited mom is about it, I do believe we will be seeing it soon. :D


  2. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!
    Oh my word, Naomi, I'm SO excited that you saw this!!!!
    Prepare for a long comment. ;)
    Aahhh, yes, isn't it though? I loved how you described it-the most colorful black and white movie! It's just soooo beautiful.
    And when I saw your big I LOVED IT in caps I squealed. I don't see how anyone could NOT love it, but...well, there's always a chance and I was nervous about whether you liked it or not!! :D So glad you do!!
    Oh, your descriptions are so lovely. "golden-summers nostalgia" "a one-day romance in the yellow sunlight of Rome"......*melts*
    Ever since watching this movie I've wanted to go to Rome!!

    Audrey as Princess Ann (yes, I know, isn't the lack of an E dreadful?!?) is my favorite of her roles. She's SO perfect and lovely and simply elegant. And I just can't believe this was her first role, because she acts like she's been doing it foreveeeeerrrr.
    Yes!! I love seeing the "real" Ann instead of the Princess Ann....it's so much fun!
    Audrey was born in Belgium? No, I didn't know that! You certainly have the right to be proud. ;)

    Aaahhhhh, that gif of Joe......*melts and sighs and tears up because it's so sad*. He's so amazing. He is one of my absolute favorite heroes too. Your description of him was spot-on. And yes a Gentleman with a CAPITAL G. And I loved his lines too!!! When Ann asks him for a drink when she comes home with him and he's like, "NO." hahaha
    And his scenes with Irving are soooo hilarious.

    UGH. Don't even mention a remake!!!! That would be horrendous!!!

    SQUEEP yes they are most perfect adorable lovely couple EVER. They end up together in my book. They get married and live in a tiny apartment in Rome and she cooks for him and eventually they have a little baby and maybe they'll eventually move back to the states and....yeah. Happily ever after in my book. That gif is sooo priceless and adorable. <3
    Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn are my very favorite black and white screen couple. They're perfect, the end.
    Agh! That scene! Soooo adorable (I know I'm saying that a lot, but what else is there to say?!?!) and funny and perfect. BUT. DID YOU KNOW THAT GREGORY PECK MADE UP THE HAND THING? It wasn't in the script and he did it as a joke. Audrey didn't know and that was her REAL reaction!!! (At least that's what I've heard!) It makes that scene even better, doesn't it??

    Ah, yes, I LOVE the costumes. I also love Ann's hair and would want to cut mine like it if I was in Rome but....it probably wouldn't look good on me. :P haha

    You didn't mention this in your post, but DIDN'T YOU LOVE THE DANCING SCENE?! Awwww, it makes me melt every. single. time.
    They are SO cute!! Thy're dancing and he looks down at her and I think then it's when he realizes he's in love with her.....I mean, it was coming on so gradual, but it was then he realized it. But then-their kiss and their faces afterwards....they both love each other but they know...THEY KNOW what's coming next...she has to go back and it's sooo saddd.

    Okay. I'm taking a deep breath so I can tackle the ending.
    I KNNNOOOOOOWWWW. I JUST..-waailll-. Why? Why why why why????
    WHY DID THEY END IT LIKE THAT?!??! I get teary eyed and aching inside when they hug at his apartment. They were talking about what it'd be like to get married and yet they know they can't and it's SO HEARTBREAKING.
    The farewell scene in the car.....his tears!!! It's sad when the heroine cries, but when JOE BRADLEY cries it's even more powerful and heartbreaking. I love heroes crying. Even if it hurts so much. :(
    The first time watching this, I was SURE she'd come running out as he was walking away, call "Joe!" and run into his arms.
    Okay. I can end this quietly too. :"( -silent tears-

  3. This is a family favorite. I don't mind the ending but I grew up with it so I guess you could say I'm resigned to it. ;)
    You're right, if they did remake they would put something inappropriate in.... stupid Hollywood! :(

  4. I have never seen it, but I REALLY want to watch it! I haven't checked if Hulu or Netflix has it yet...PLEASE I BEG OF YOU!!!!!!! HAVE IT!!!!

    ~Lydia~ <3


    Oh my goodness. I know. I KNOW. There are too many wonderfuls about this movie.

    JOE BRADLEY IS THE BESTEST YESH. Isn't he absotively one of the greatest guys eeeevvveeeerrrrr?:D

    THE ENDING. Gets me so bad. It's really hard to watch, but at the same time IT IS SO GOOD.

    Just…this whole review. I have nothing more to say, you've said it all so well:)

  6. As a long time MASSIVE Audrey Hepburn fan, I have been desperate to see this movie for absolutely ages!! I'm so glad you did this post because it's given me the final motivation to get out and find/buy/beg/borrow/steal it.
    Oh my, I haven't been up to date with your last few posts and I have to say I've missed reading them:) But it's delightful to catch up. You make me laugh so much, I love your unique style of writing.
    Naomi x

  7. You saw it! you saw it!
    *happy Dance* Another long comment I'm afraid!
    *scrolls back up*

    I was the same when I first saw it.. I was like "Mum why isn't it in colour??!" Silly ignorant 12 year old me.. gosh now I look back what was I thinking!?

    Oh that GIF! The look he gives her.. oh oh my heart!
    I want to go to Rome so badly too...we actually get the option as part of our degree when we are final year students. (I'm going to be a History and English Literauture Major with a Music Minor)

    Was this really her first film!? You'd never have geussed!

    Joe Bradley... he's just so beautiful! in terms of mannerisms and appearance cause Gregory Peck .. yeah GP *sighs*

    I have a friend like that actually.. wow.. didn't realise how much he and JB are alike.. whew!

    Yeah I don't want to see remake.. it's such a classic.. leave it alone everyone! :D

    Oh the mouth of truth! Did you know that that was adlibbed (off scripted) when GP put his hand in there and her falling on him was her real reaction when he surprised her.. :-D That makes the scene a whole lot sweeter doesn't it?

    Oh the ending. ooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhh Nup did not happen one bit nup nup nup *shakes head in denial*

  8. PRINCESS ANN IS SO PRETTY!!!! :D I especially love, love, LOVE that second picture of her! Everything is SO perfect!!! (oh dear, I'm using way too many exclamation marks! Oops, there I just used another one...but I can NOT help it! :D)

    I'm not even going to begin on her PERFECT eyebrows, or the way her jewellery matches bee-yew-tee-fully, or her smile is just absolutely breath-taking or....

  9. Chloe, Oh good for you for having a copy! And good for your mum for being excited. :-) I hope you enjoy it! Pretty sure you will. :-)

    Natalie, Goodness! Thank you for your scrumptiously delicious long comment! I admit I was waiting for a comment of yours, but I hadn't imagined it to be as lovely and long as the one you wrote. :-) So thank you!
    I DID love it. DEFINITELY. It's not my FAVOURITEST movie, but I do LOOOVE it. It's so beautiful and dreamy!!! *fails away with a sigh*
    Well, it wasn't Audrey's first EVER role - but it was her first leading role. She did an amazing job. No wonder she became famous afterwards! Have you see her audition for Roman Holiday? It's avaliable on Youtube and it's charming. :-)
    I KNOW. That cracked me up too, when he said 'NO.' when Ann asked him for some wine. He's so lovely. I AM IN LOVE. :-D
    Natalie, you actually went and wrote down an ending? I LOVE YOU. Did you? And yes - an apartment with a kitchen. AND A BABY. Yeeeesss. *sobs*
    Yes, Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn are my favourite black-and-white couple as well. Period. They just ARE.
    Oh YES! I had forgotten about that!!!!! Gregory Peck invented that about the hand!!! MY GOODNESS I LOVE THE SCENE EVEN MORE NOW. :-D And Audrey Hepburn has suddenly become even more adorable. :-)
    Oh yes! Her hairstyle! So charming. 'ALL off? You sure?'
    I DID LOVE THE DANCING SCENE, NATALIE. How did I forget to mention it?!! I love how Joe Bradley is so tall and really looks DOWN to look at here. The dance was SOOO romantic. My heart was buzzing in the glory of it.
    I know right? Joe Bradley was crying. I also love it when heroes show their emotions. Oh, number #100 as to why Joe Bradley is my new favourite hero!!! LOVED IT ALL.
    Let's not go on about the ending. Shhhh. It didn't happen.
    Thank you for your lovely comment, Natalie, I enjoyed it immensely! Also, thank you for recommending this charming movie to me in the first place - I am greatly indebted!! :-)

    Lois, Well, I definitely DO mind the ending. A LOT. Yeah, so I hope they never make a re-make. :-D

    Lydia, Oh, I HOPE Hulu or Netflix has it for you! You HAVE to see it. Really. :-)

    Olivia, YES I DID!!!!!!!! :-D
    Oh dear, I see I ain't the only one who loved Joe Bradley. Well, I suppose we can share him. :-D HE IS GREAT. :-D Aww, thank you so much, Olivia - I'm glad you enjoyed the review and think I said it all well. :-)

    Naomi, Hahaha, find/buy/beg/borrow/steal. =) Well, whatever you end up doing, I'm sure, as a Audrey fan, YOU WILL LOVE IT!! Have you see any other Hepburn movies? Which ones would you recommend? I love her, but I've only seen this one and My Fair Lady (loved them both.)
    Thank you for your lovely words, Naomi! I means a lot to me that people enjoy my writing style and posts. And I make you laugh! Well, thank you!

    Evie, I did! I did! :-D Yay, a long comment!
    Haha, 'why isn't it in colour?' Weren't we all silly as young girls? (Not that we aren't now, sometimes, heehee.)
    I KNOW THE Gif!!! <3 Oh, you should go to Rome and go on a motorbike. :-) With your friend who reminds you of Joe Bradley! :-D That sounds nice, huh?
    Yes, I LOVE THAT GREGORY PECK ADDED THE HAD THING. It makes the scene 10000 times sweeter and better and - ohmygosh I want - need - to re-see that scene again. :-)
    NOPE. not talking about the ending. NOPE.

    Blessing Counter, she is, right?!! Her jewels are just perfectly spot-on. She knows where to put what and she's just, as you said, SO perfect. Dazzling beauty, Audrey was!!! :-D

    Thanks for the lovely comments everyone!

    ~ Naomi

  10. There's really nothing I can think of to say here -- either you've said it in your review, someone else has said it in a comment, or I've already told you. :-) So I'll just say, I'm so glad you loved it, dear! Oh yeah, and...

    GREGORY PECK. *sigh*

    Wonderful review! :-)



    Okay, I'm calm now...sort of. xD It was just amazing! I LOVED it! <3 Except for the ending...which was adorable...but I want to write a sequel and they meet again and get together, lol xD I'm still sniffing. :P Though it wasn't as bad since I knew they wouldn't get together anyway.

    ~Lydia~ <3

  12. Of course, the way that this ends is that, five years later, Joe is assigned to cover the wedding of the princess of wherever it was Ann was princess of (I have completely forgotten), and he's just so terribly depressed by the idea of going to her wedding, but he's in terrible financial straits because he's adopted two orphaned kids who were going to be sent to the orphanage otherwise, and so he has to go. And when he gets there, he discovers that Princess Ann has a younger sister, and it's the younger princess who's getting married! But Princess Ann is on the verge of being engaged to the Prince of Somewhere, who is a very nice but empty-headed fellow. But when she sees Joe again, she realizes that her life and her duties don't have to be always separate, and that since her sister is marrying a prince, she can marry whom she chooses and run the risk of having to let her sister inherit the kingdom, and so... they get married and live happily ever after, with their two adopted kids and the four more they have together. The End.

  13. Hamlette, that is perfect. The end.

  14. Naomi,
    Aww, your welcome! I'm so glad you enjoyed long comment. ;)
    And again, I'm SOO glad you loved it!! It's so fun watching your friends fall in love with the same books and movies you adore!
    Oh, that's right...her first LEADING role. I think I knew that but I forgot. :) No! I haven't seen her audition! I'll look that up right away. *goes to youtube* Awww, it was so sweet! Did you see the one that included her testing out her costumes???
    Gregory Peck is my very very very favorite "vintage" actor. I love him. :)
    Weeellll, no... actually I didn't write down an ending. :( I realized I confused you by saying "my book". So sorry! I just meant in my opinion. I should have said that. I did START to right it down, though....I haven't finished it yet...I need to very much! Maybe I could publish it to my blog if I ever do! :)
    Aaahhhhh, yes, I KNOW!!! The dancing scene is just SO SWEET. <3
    Joe Bradley is one of the best heroes ever, the end.
    Roman Holiday is one of the best movies ever, the end. ;) haha
    I'm SO glad you enjoyed it, Naomi!!!

  15. I love that you guys are making up your own ending to this. That's the best thing about the world of fiction--if you don't like whatever happens and you don't want to believe it, YOU CAN CHANGE IT. You have that power. :)

  16. Naomi I know this is an old post. BUT THIS IS TRULY PERFECTION. I recently rewatched Roman Holiday and just wanted to sink into the dreaminess of it.:)Joe Bradley. I agree. He IS on the same level as Mr. Knightley--so protective and kind and sweet and loving. And I agree about the never showing your emotions hero thing. I feel like most heroes are rarely or never seen crying, but it really adds more depth to their character to see them vulnerable and well, just more NORMAL. I love this review muchly.:)

    ~Rilla Blythe


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