Roman Holiday Movie Poster Image

Roman Holiday

Delightful classic is perfect for family movie night.
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Classic
  • Release Year: 1953
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Themes include the importance of honesty, courage, and integrity.

Positive role models

When faced with a difficult decision, Joe chooses personal integrity over lucrative career gains.


A large (but relatively civilized) fight breaks out between government agents and dancers on a barge.


Very mild innuendo.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters smoke cigarettes. Main characters also drink champagne and wine but do not act intoxicated while doing so. A young woman seems like she's drunk -- falling asleep on a bench, slurring her speech, and tripping over her words, and, although the lead male character suspects she's been drinking, she's actually been given sleeping pills.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's nothing very objectionable in Roman Holiday. There's a scene in which the princess tries her first cigarette and another including a frenetic brawl on a barge. Both the male and female leads are good role models by the end of the film. Younger children will be able to follow the plot easily.

What's the story?

While on a goodwill tour of Western Europe, young Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) has a nervous breakdown during her ROMAN HOLIDAY. After receiving a shot of sleeping medicine from her doctor, she sneaks out of the embassy. The sheltered princess wants a real taste of Rome nightlife but, in her drugged state, winds up on a park bench instead. Not-so-mild-mannered reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) mistakes her for a polished drunk and comes to her rescue. But the bachelor certainly doesn't want to be responsible for her. When he can't shake the sleeping beauty, he lets her stay in his apartment, only to find out the next morning that he has a hot (in the stolen sense) princess on his divan. By concealing that he's a newspaperman, Joe gets the scoop of the decade. He poses as a fertilizer salesman to learn the princess's innermost desires, her views on world affairs, and her thoughts on fashion (which are worth the most, of course).

Is it any good?


This classic film is all about the eye candy. Hepburn (in her debut performance), tall, dark, and handsome leading man Peck, and Rome -- what more could you ask for in a romance? As the princess pretends to be schoolgirl Anya Smith and Joe Bradley pretends to believe her, the two spend the day playing hooky in Rome, Ferris Bueller-style. They are joined by Joe's photographer friend Irving (Eddie Albert), who snaps pictures of the princess without her knowledge. Albert is always a colorful character actor to add to the mix.

Ultimately, Princess Ann faces a dilemma considerably more poignant than any Ferris Bueller might have had. The age old duty-versus-love conflict plagues her as she decides whether she wants to stay with the man of her dreams or fulfill her royal obligations. Kids will have fun watching her journey in Roman Holiday and debating her ultimate decision.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the moral decisions the main characters have to make in Roman Holiday. Do you think Princess Ann made the right choice? Why did Joe Bradley act as he did in the beginning of the film? How about at the end? If you had an obligation to family that interfered with love, which would you choose?

  • How do you think this movie would be different if it was remade for contemporary audiences?

  • How do the gender roles shown in this film reflect the time in which it was made?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 2, 1953
DVD/Streaming release date:March 1, 2004
Cast:Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert, Gregory Peck
Director:William Wyler
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Character strengths:Courage, Integrity
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Kid, 11 years old May 18, 2011

Ever so romantic!

I absolutely love this movie, though I would have liked another ending. Who doesn't love Audrey Hepburn
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old February 27, 2013

Fun Movie in Rome!

Fun movie to watch! More for girls though. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck are wonderful! Love Rome!
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written byMiraclexBlazer July 30, 2009

Audrey Hepburn makes a wonderful role model.

This movie is simply amazing! Nothing inappropriate beyond the smoking of its era which is to be expected of a movie made in the early 1950's. Audrey Hepburn is exceptionally charming and Gregory Peck is very entertaining and is amazing opposite Audrey.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models