Gosford Park Movie Poster Image

Gosford Park

Wonderful British whodunit with some sexual content.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 137 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The intelligent script reveals just how intertwined the lives of the different classes really are, despite outward appearances. The movie also explores what lengths people will go to in order to protect the ones they love.

Positive role models

No one is terribly upset when Sir William is murdered and it becomes clear why -- he used his power and class to hurt many. Before he dies visitors still suck up to him for money. The head housekeeper, Mrs. Wilson, tries hard to protect the ones she cares about.


A murder by poisoning and then the corpse is stabbed. You see the corpse fall over with a knife and no blood. A bullet grazes an ear in a hunting scene. One servant sexually assaults another, but is caught before it goes beyond rough kissing and groping.


Three affairs between servants and those they serve. Two scenes show a kitchen maid in the dark with some thrusting in the shadows barely visible. Some bawdy talk and sexual references, including mentions of illegitimate children and hints of a homosexual relationship.



Language is infrequent but includes "f--king." Also: "s--t," "piss," "hell," "damn," "bloody," and "bugger all." (Note that cigarettes in Britain are called "fags.")

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Smoking in many, many scenes in this 1932-set movie -- cigarettes and pipes. A drunken servant is carried to bed and there's plenty of drinking of wine and whiskey at the dinner parties.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Gosford Park has sexual references and situations (briefly graphic), including adultery, a hint of a homosexual relationship, and an attempted molestation. There is some strong language and a character is murdered by poisoning and stabbed afterward. Accurate to the period, characters smoke and drink heavily.

What's the story?

Set in the 1930s, GOSFORD PARK takes place at the home of Sir William (Michael Gambon) and his wife (Kristin Scott Thomas), who invite an array of guests for a weekend at their lavish country estate. Among the guests are "old money" Lady Constance (Maggie Smith), early screen idol Ivor Novello (Jeremy Northam), and Hollywood film producer Morris Weisman (Bob Balaban), who tags along to take notes on the place for a Charlie Chan movie. Secrets abound amongst the upper crust, while gossip swirls in the quarters of the regimented servants (Derek Jacobi, Helen Mirren, Ryan Phillippe, Emily Watson, and Clive Owen, among others). When Sir William is murdered, what ensues is a cross between Upstairs Downstairs, an Agatha Christie murder mystery, and a game of Clue. The estate becomes the setting for intrigue, romance, ambition, betrayal, and revenge, with the many overlapping and intersecting storylines revealing a cautionary tale about class, secrets, money, sex, and love.

Is it any good?


As in his best movies, director Robert Altman masterfully handles a dozen overlapping and intersecting storylines. Somewhere in the midst, there is a murder, but its resolution is incidental to the many other revelations and confrontations.

The Oscar-winning script is superb, but the movie is mostly a banquet of magnificent performances by most of England's finest performers. The Collector's edition DVD has outstanding extras, including commentary by the director, production designer, producer, and screenwriter, deleted scenes, and a Q&A session with the film-makers. Strongly recommended.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how each of the different characters fits into the overall story. Which characters do you sympathize with the most? Which do you dislike the most?

  • Who in the film actually cares about Sir William? Why?

  • Why was it so important to be the "perfect servant"? What will happen to each of the characters in 10 years?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 26, 2001
DVD/Streaming release date:October 8, 2002
Cast:Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon
Director:Robert Altman
Studio:USA Films
Run time:137 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual situations, language, brief violence

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Educator and Parent Written byFosterFan September 9, 2011

Robert Altman's amazing comeback...

Gosford Park is a wonderful, smart and terrifically entertaining film. Excellent performers join a very good script to create a complex portrait of flawed beings, all looking out for themselves, one way or another. If your kid likes games like Clue, and is patient enough, you should really consider allowing him to watch this film. Maggie Smith and Helen MIrren are the standouts in a star-filled cast.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byLionel September 5, 2009

Wonderful for Mature Teens

Gosford Park is a beautifully rendered film. No, it isn't a 'murder mystery'. Rather, it is a deep, dark, multi-layered drama centering mainly around the servants residing in a country house full of wealthy British snobs. The first half of the film introduces you to the servants, their customs and quirks, the abuse they receive, and the various ways they cope with it. Then, halfway through the film, the owner of the house is murdered. The rest of the film deals with the initial chaos and ultimate liberation that results. The acting was nothing short of brilliant (Helen Mirren was certainly the best as the lead servant), and the cinematograpy was very unique and fascinating, almost like looking at a photorealistic painting. For an R-rated movie, Gosford Park is very tame, but a few things are worth mentioning. F-words pop up occasionally (I counted six), but most of the dialog is clean. Quite a few sexual references are present as well, but there's never any nudity, and almost everything is handled with tact. Also, just about everyone smokes casually, and a butler gets very drunk. However, most teens should be able to handle it without a problem. Hope this was helpful!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Adult Written bybporter28 April 9, 2008

A masterpiece specifically for intellectual adults.