Passport To Pimlico. Image shows from L to R: Arthur Pemberton (Stanley Holloway), P.C. Spiller (Philip Stainton), Central European (Paul Demel). Copyright: Ealing Studios / STUDIOCANAL.

Passport To Pimlico

1949 British comedy film about Pimlico belonging to Burgundy. Stars Stanley Holloway, Hermione Baddeley, Margaret Rutherford, Paul Dupuis, Raymond Huntley and others.

Passport To Pimlico. Image shows from L to R: Mr. P.J. Wix (Raymond Huntley), Arthur Pemberton (Stanley Holloway), Gregg (Basil Radford), Straker (Naunton Wayne). Copyright: Ealing Studios / STUDIOCANAL.

Passport To Pimlico

Ealing comedy about a legal discovery that leads the residents of Pimlico to declare themselves an independent nation, Burgundy

Stanley Holloway, Hermione Baddeley, Margaret Rutherford, Paul Dupuis, Raymond Huntley, John Slater, Jane Hylton, Betty Warren and others
T.E.B. Clarke
Henry Cornelius
Michael Balcon

It is 1947 and amidst the post-Blitz ravages of war-torn London, redevelopment is slowly beginning to take place. But whilst children play happily on the impromptu playgrounds created by bomb sites, their parents are still struggling with the continued hardship of the age and strict rationing on food and clothing in particular.

When a group of Pimlico children accidentally detonate an unexploded German bomb on just such a levelled site, the adults rush to assist and shopkeeper Arthur Pemberton manages to slip into the deep hole, still billowing dust. Dazed, he is not sure what he can see at the bottom, but a return visit later that night with his adult daughter quickly confirms the discovery of a long-forgotten chamber containing an astounding haul of treasure and an historic royal charter. Calling in an expert from one of London's top universities, it is established to be a never-revoked charter stating that the area - modern Pimlico - is not in fact English soil, but part of the Duchy of Burgundy.

The residents are initially shocked by news of their new technical nationality, but when they realise it offers them the chance to be free of rationing, Sunday trading laws, sales taxes and pub licensing regulations, they jump into their new-found nationhood with both feet!

However, things become problematic when the Burgundians try to deal with Whitehall. As they attempt to reach an agreement with the British governmental machine over cross-border relations, the officials push back hard. Matters quickly escalate and Burgundy is left completely isolated, the border marked by rolls of barbed wire and patrolled day and night by a police watch.

The Burgundians find England looks rosier by the minute when they are cut off from the water network and their food supplies run low, but Whitehall soon realises it hasn't counted on the free-spirited, anti-authoritarian feeling of other ordinary Londoners, and indeed the wider country at large!

Production Details

French goings-on in the heart of London
UK certificate
84 minutes
Release date
Tuesday 26th April 1949

General Film Distributors

Production companies
Black and white
Music composed by Georges Auric, played by The Philharmonia Orchestra, and conducted by Ernest Irving.
Laugh track

Broadcast details

Last repeat
Tuesday 14th September 2021 at 4:15pm on TPTV

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