The Importance Of Being Earnest. Image shows from L to R: Algernon 'Algy' Moncrieff (Rupert Everett), John 'Jack' Worthing (Colin Firth). Copyright: Fragile Films.

The Importance Of Being Earnest (2002)

The Importance Of Being Earnest

2002 screen adaptation of Oscar Wilde's comic masterpiece. Starring Rupert Everett and Colin Firth as two men assuming the same identity

Oscar Wilde
Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O'Connor, Reese Witherspoon, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Anna Massey, Edward Fox and others
Oliver Parker
Oliver Parker
David Brown and Barnaby Thompson

Jack Worthing, respectable owner of a Hertfordshire country estate and charge of young Cecily, hides a little secret: when in London, he adopts the identity of his (fictional) younger brother, fun-loving libertine Ernest.

There, Jack has fallen in love with Gwendolen, the cousin of friend and full-time London resident Algy - who himself holds a secret, in the form of an equally fictional and apparently severely ill close friend, by way of excuse to escape to the country at will.

Unfortunately for Jack, Gwendolen is as much in love with the name Ernest as with the man who claims to be him - and her mother, Lady Bracknell, can barely stand the sight of him.

When the two friends discover each others' secrets, Algy sets out to meet the young Cecily, and in so doing sets in motion a train of events that will cause each man to question his identity - and reveal the mix-up between a young baby and a novel at Victoria Station.

Production Details

UK certificate
98 minutes
Release date
Friday 6th September 2002
Production company
Laugh track

Broadcast details

Last repeat
Saturday 20th April 2019 at 10:25pm on BBC2

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