Dean Spanley. Dean Walter Arthur Graham Spanley (Sam Neill).

Dean Spanley

2008 British comedy film. Stars Jeremy Northam, Sam Neill, Bryan Brown and Peter O'Toole.

Dean Spanley

Based upon the 1939 novel by Lord Dunsany. A father and son bond after encountering an eccentric clergyman who believes he was a dog in a past life

Jeremy Northam, Sam Neill, Bryan Brown and Peter O'Toole
Edward Plunkett and Alan Sharp
Toa Fraser

Since the death of his younger son in the Boer War, Horatio Fisk has aged into a bitter and curmudgeonly misanthrope, distanced even from his good-natured older son, Henslowe, who visits him weekly.

To relieve the tedium of their regular outings, the pair decide to attend a lecture on the Transmigration of Souls delivered by a visiting Hindu Swami. There, they meet the eccentric and mysterious Dean Spanley, with whom Fisk Jr strikes up a bizarre friendship following a series of chance meetings.

Henslowe tempts the Dean to dinner with promises of a rare Hungarian Tokay wine, which he must then go to great lengths to procure, his quest leading him to resourceful rogue trader Wrather. From these unlikely encounters, a sequence of events conspire to unlock the heart of the stiff-upper-lipped Fisk Sr, and reveal the emotional truths buried in his past.

Production Details

UK certificate
100 minutes
Release date
Friday 12th December 2008
Laugh track

Website links


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