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The Winter Guest is a 1997 drama film directed by Alan Rickman and starring Phyllida Law and Emma Thompson.

The Winter Guest
Winter guest.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlan Rickman
Produced bySteve Clark-Hall
Edward R. Pressman
Written bySharman Macdonald
Alan Rickman
Music byMichael Kamen
CinematographySeamus McGarvey
Edited byScott Thomas
Distributed byFine Line Features
Release date
  • 24 December 1997 (1997-12-24)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


Set in Scotland on one wintry day, the film focuses on eight people; a mother and daughter, Elspeth (Phyllida Law) and Frances (Emma Thompson); two young boys skipping school, Sam (Douglas Murphy) and Tom (Sean Biggerstaff); two old women who frequently attend strangers' funerals, Chloe (Sandra Voe) and Lily (Sheila Reid); and two teenagers Nita (Arlene Cockburn) and Alex (Gary Hollywood). The film consists primarily of the interactions between the characters.


The film is based on Sharman MacDonald's play, premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse (in the Quarry studio theatre, 23 January to 18 February 1995) before transferring to the Almeida Theatre in London (14 March to 15 April 1995).

Like the film it was also directed by Rickman, starring Law, Reid, Voe and John Wark, with Siân Thomas in the role of Frances, played in the film by Emma Thompson.


The film was met warmly by critics, with Thompson winning an award at the Venice Film Festival.

Awards and nominationsEdit

  • British Independent Film Awards (UK)
    • Nominated: Best British Actress (Emma Thompson)
  • Brussels International Film Festival (Belgium)
    • Won: Audience Award (Alan Rickman)
  • Chicago Film Festival (USA)
    • Won: Gold Hugo – Best Film (Alan Rickman)
  • Czech Lion (Czech Republic)
    • Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film (Alan Rickman)
  • European Film Awards
    • Nominated: Best Actress (Emma Thompson)
  • Venice Film Festival (Italy)
    • Won: 'CinemAvvenire' Award (Alan Rickman; tied with A Ostra e o Vento and Giro di lune tra terra e mare).
    • Won: OCIC Award (Alan Rickman)
    • Won: Pasinetti Award – Best Actress (Emma Thompson)
    • Nominated: Golden Lion (Alan Rickman)

External linksEdit