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Roman Holiday

By Lee Gardner | Posted

Is it possible movies were ever this lighthearted, this sweet, and still this appealing? Roman Holiday was, and is none the less so for having been filmed 50 years ago. This quintessential romantic movie soufflé features top-shelf ingredients: Audrey Hepburn, in her first starring role; Gregory Peck, never better in a romantic lead; and the sites and streets of Rome, not a Hollywood back lot filling in for the Eternal City, as was usual at the time. The great director William Wyler blends it all together with a light touch as Hepburn's sheltered but harried young European princess bolts from her royal handlers and winds up incognito in American reporter Peck's apartment. He eventually figures out who she is and smells a scoop, but before long the princess' guileless charm gets under his gray-flannel exterior--she is Audrey Hepburn, after all, and this is the film that made that mean something special to a generation of movie lovers. It still works, too.

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