Crown Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) is in Rome during her goodwill tour of Europe but finds herself frustrated with her tightly scheduled and sheltered life. Finally, she is so fed up that she escapes her guardians and runs off. She runs into American reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), who soon figures out that she is the famous princess. He shows her around Rome, hoping to get a good story, but soon the two fall for each other….
The original trailer of Roman Holiday:
Gregory Peck – Joe Bradley
Audrey Hepburn – Princess Ann
Eddie Albert – Irving Radovich
Hartly Power – Mr. Hennessy
Margaret Rawlings – Countess Vereberg
-The studio originally wanted Roman Holiday to be filmed in Hollywood, but director William Wyler insisted it had to be shot in Rome. They agreed, but with a much lower budget. Therefore, the film had to be shot in black and white and an unknown actress had to be cast for Princess Ann, which would be Audrey Hepburn.
-Audrey Hepburn won the role of Ann thanks to an unconventional screen test. She performed the scene, but the cameraman was instructed to secretly keep the camera rolling after the director said ‘cut’. This unrehearsed, spontaneous footage of Audrey Hepburn, along with some candid interview footage, won her the role.
-Gregory Peck’s role was originally written with Cary Grant in mind, but he turned it down as he believed he was too old to play opposite Audrey Hepburn. Nevertheless, he did play opposite her in Charade ten years later.
-Gregory Peck was quite depressed about his imminent divorce during shooting. However, during filming he met Veronique Passani. They fell in love, got married and remained together for the rest of their lives.
-The Embassy Ball sequence featured real Italian nobility, who all donated their salaries to charity. The reporters at the end of the film were real reports as well.
-Some of the film’s success was attributed to the public’s fascination with Britain’s Princess Margaret who had to choose between love and duty during her highly publicized relationship with the divorced Peter Townsend.
-After filming, Gregory Peck told the producers that they should put Audrey Hepburn’s name above the title as she was definitely going to win an Oscar. They did and she did.
-When Audrey Hepburn won the Oscar for Best Actress she was so excited that she kissed the Academy president on the mouth instead of his cheek. She also left the Oscar in the ladies room and quickly had to find it to pose for the waiting photographers.
-The actual writer of the film, Dalton Trumbo, was not credited because he was a member of ‘The Hollywood Ten’. A group of Hollywood employees who refused to answer questions about their involvement in Communist parties and were therefore blacklisted.
-In the 1970’s both Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn were approached with the idea of a sequel, but the project never came to fruition.
Best Actress – Audrey Hepburn – 1954 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Writer – Ian McLellan Hunter (and Dalton Trumbo) – 1954 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Costume Design – Edith Head – 1954 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Actress – Audrey Hepburn – 1954 Golden Globes
Best British Actress – Audrey Hepburn – 1954 British Academy of Film and Television Arts
Best Written American Comedy – Ian McLellan Hunter – 1954 Writers Guild of America
Best Picture – William Wyler – 1954 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Supporting Actor – Eddie Albert – 1954 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Director – William Wyler – 1954 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Writing – Ian McLellan Hunter – 1954 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Cinematography – Franz Planer and Henri Alekan – 1954 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Art Direction – Hal Pereira and Walter H. Tyler – 1954 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Film Editing – Robert Swink – 1954 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Film – Roman Holiday – 1954 British Academy of Film and Television Arts
Best Foreign Actor – Eddie Albert – 1954 British Academy of Film and Television Arts
Best Foreign Actor – Gregory Peck – 1954 British Academy of Film and Television Arts
Outstanding directorial Achievement – William Wyler – 1954 Directors Guild of America
Roman Holiday is a classic feature that is still loved by many today. It is a light-hearted, romantic comedy that proved to be timeless. Roman Holiday made the iconic Audrey Hepburn famous and she is still associated with her role in the film. Audrey won an Oscar for the role, which surprised no one as she was so natural and luminous in her very first feature film. Gregory Peck was the ideal leading man for Roman Holiday and his chemistry with Audrey is obvious from the get-go. Stills from the film’s most romantic scenes are sold in countries all over the world. The premise of the film is so timeless that it has been copied countless of times since its release. But still, no copy can come close to the real thing.
Roman Holiday was also very good advertising for Vespa and Rome. It inspired the Vespa craze that followed and promoted the beauty of Rome. To this day there are popular Roman Holiday city tours.
Read more about Audrey Hepburn’s life.