Vanity Fair (2004)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  1 September 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 16,869 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 146 user | 117 critic | 41 from

Growing up poor in London, Becky Sharp (Witherspoon) defies her poverty-stricken background and ascends the social ladder alongside her best friend, Amelia.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Angelica Mandy ...
Kate Fleetwood ...
Ms. Green (as Lillette Dubey)
John Franklyn-Robbins ...


The British Empire flowers; exotic India colors English imaginations. Becky Sharp, the orphaned daughter of a painter and a singer, leaves a home for girls to be a governess, armed with pluck, a keen wit, good looks, fluent French, and an eye for social advancement. Society tries its best to keep her from climbing. An episodic narrative follows her for 20 years, through marriage, Napoleonic wars, a child, loyalty to a school friend, the vicissitudes of the family whose daughters she instructed, and attention from a bored marquess who collected her father's paintings. Honesty tempers her schemes. No aristocrat she, nor bourgeois, just spirited, intelligent, and irrepressible. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


All's fair in love & war. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sensuality/partial nudity and a brief violent image | See all certifications »



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Release Date:

1 September 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vanidad  »

Box Office


$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,268,925 (USA) (3 September 2004)


£204,693 (UK) (14 January 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the early 1970s Stanley Kubrick wanted to direct an adaptation of this book, but found it to be too big to make it into a three-hour film. He instead made Barry Lyndon (1975). See more »


After the dance, Lady Gaunt is next to Mrs. Crawley. In shots from a different angle, she disappears. See more »


Becky Sharp: [as Rawdon is about to leave for battle] You won't do anything brave, will you?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the credits start rolling the word "Alvida" (goodbye) appears in Urdu script. Beneath it is the following dedication: for our beloved Ammy Kulsum Alibhai 1927-2003 See more »


Referenced in At the Movies: Venice Film Festival 2012 (2012) See more »


Gori Re/O Fair One
Lyrics by Javed Akhtar
Music by Shanker Ehsaan Loy
Performed by Shankar Mahadevan and Richa Sharma
See more »

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User Reviews

Thackery goes Hollywood
2 February 2005 | by (Orange County, CA USA) – See all my reviews

"Vanity Fair" (2004) is an acceptable but abbreviated version of the classic Thackery Victorian period novel which tells of Becky Sharp (Witherspoon), who uses artifice and charm to climb from lowly governess to aristocrat, always able to find a suitable family of peerage or property to use as a rung in her ladder to the top in spite of the tribulations of the time. At just over two hours, this film cannot deal in depth with the many characters in the story and has to content itself with hitting the high points which make for a very condensed telling suited to those who only wish the flavor of the story. Those with a particular interest in Victorian pulp fiction or more expansive dramas should turn to the BBC's 1998 six hour miniseries which offers greater character depth, a presentation much more true to the period, and a very much better cast. (B-)

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