The film that is largely responsible for making Audrey Hepburn a star, William Wyler’s Roman Holiday is an escapade quite worthy of a 1950s film. The premise is a solid one: a royal princess, fed up with her commanding and proper life, escapes her handlers and, in street clothes, sets out to experience a more common life in Rome. Naturally, she meets a man, and one can very simply guess where the tale goes from there, though the ending might do a bit to surprise you. There’s a lot to like about this one, but, as I’ll get to in a bit, I was expecting a little bit more than what I ended up getting.
This is one of those films that is exceptional as a whole, but cut down into parts is nothing all that extraordinary. The cinematography is basic but laudable, the script is steady and concrete, and the editing pretty much solid. This leaves the acting, mostly, and it is this where the film shines; Gregory Peck and Hepburn make a fantastic pair, and their evolving chemistry all throughout the film is what makes this so watchable. Now, that being said, I must have been in the mood for a film that was really something, because I couldn’t help but be somewhat let down by Roman Holiday. It certainly wasn’t the fault of the film, which was solidly standard all around, but I just wasn’t in the right mindset to appreciate standard; I was expecting something more, and something more I did not get, but at the very least, I wasn’t too disappointed.
Now, I hope that last bit in the previous paragraph didn’t do too much to dissuade you from watching this film, because this is a fine film in just about every regard, and certainly worth the time watching it (though it does take a while to really get into the swing of things, unnecessarily adding to the running time). Just don’t get your hopes up too much getting into it, and you won’t be too disappointed, if at all. I kinda wish I had more to say about it, but I’m really coming up empty, so I’ll just say that Peck and Hepburn were a joy to watch, and that hopefully you’ll like it about as much as I did, which is enough of a return on your investment to make it matter.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10