A Canterbury Tale
A Canterbury Tale (1949)

One of the most puzzling and offbeat movies to come out of World War II was A Canterbury Tale, a bizarre adaptation of the famous long poem by 14th century English author Geoffrey Chaucer. Made in 1944 and set in the Nazi-threatened Britain… More

Rated: NC-17
Running Time:
Release Date: January 21, 1949
DVD Release Date: July 25, 2006
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Critic Score: 85% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice

Is this the strangest film produced by (and about) an Allied nation during WWII?

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

Very nearly plotless, this 1944 film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger represents one of the few times the narrative cinema has approached the lyrical ideal.

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Adrian Turner
Radio Times

This far-sighted film, which was dismissed at the time, is lyrical in its celebration of a disappearing England.

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Variety Staff

Sincerity and simplicity shine through every foot of this oversized modern version of the Chaucer epic tale. Here is rare beauty.

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Peter Galvin

It's a wonderful film; bizarre, and pulsing with a weird sexual undertow, it abounds with mysticism, beautiful images and a plot that's as compelling as it is daffy.

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TV Guide

A mighty strange movie, one that updates Chaucer's story to wartime Britain.

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Allan T. Sutherland
Time Out

Though infuriatingly difficult to categorise, the film is bold, inventive, stimulating and extremely entertaining.

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David Parkinson
Empire Magazine

Curious allegorical epic which was supposed to speak to Allied spirits during the second world war but was a trifle obscure in its symbolism even then.

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MFB Critics
Monthly Film Bulletin

In the leading roles, Portman does a conscientious job with a difficult role, Sweet creates charm without over-sentimentalising and Price is brisk and efficient.

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More reviews for A Canterbury Tale

Flixster Audience Score: 82% Flixster User Reviews
Daniel Mumby
The early works of Powell and Pressburger are tainted by their links with the Ministry of Information. Regardless of their merits at the time, 49th Parallel and… More
Adam Mahler
Wow is all I can say at this time
Ken Stachnik
I'm just not British enough to really enjoy this.
Walter M.
[font=Century Gothic]"A Canterbury Tale" starts with American Sergeant Bob Johnson(John Sweet) getting off the train at the wrong stop at the small… More
Stephen M
A film about what it means to be British, scripted by a Hungarian. Hmmm, they got the date wrong on this, and it sure as hell wouldn't be classified NC-17!… More
Daniel Dolgin
A Canterbury Tale, while seemingly popular in Britain is a lesser known film of The Archers. In my mind for good reasons. The story follows three young adults,… More