A Canterbury Tale

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s beloved classic A Canterbury Tale is a profoundly personal journey to Powell’s bucolic birthplace of Kent, England. Set amid the tumult of the Second World War, yet with a rhythm as delicate as a lullaby, the film follows three modern-day incarnations of Chaucer’s pilgrims—a melancholy “landgirl,” a plainspoken American GI, and a resourceful British sergeant—who are waylaid in the English countryside en route to the mythical town and forced to solve a bizarre village crime. Building to a majestic climax that ranks as one of the filmmaking duo’s finest achievements, the dazzling A Canterbury Tale has acquired a following of devotees passionate enough to qualify as pilgrims themselves.

Film Info

Special Features

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by film historian Ian Christie
  • Excerpts from the American Version, with Kim Hunter
  • New video interview with actress Sheila Sim
  • A Pilgrim’s Return, a documentary about John Sweet, by Nick Burton and Eddie McMillan
  • A Canterbury Trail, a new documentary visiting the film locations, by David Thompson
  • Listen to Britain, 2001 video installation piece inspired by A Canterbury Tale, by artist Victor Burgin
  • Listen to Britain, a 1942 documentary by Humphrey Jennings
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Graham Fuller, Peter von Bagh, and actor John Sweet

New cover by Cameron Thorp

Purchase Options

Special Features

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by film historian Ian Christie
  • Excerpts from the American Version, with Kim Hunter
  • New video interview with actress Sheila Sim
  • A Pilgrim’s Return, a documentary about John Sweet, by Nick Burton and Eddie McMillan
  • A Canterbury Trail, a new documentary visiting the film locations, by David Thompson
  • Listen to Britain, 2001 video installation piece inspired by A Canterbury Tale, by artist Victor Burgin
  • Listen to Britain, a 1942 documentary by Humphrey Jennings
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Graham Fuller, Peter von Bagh, and actor John Sweet

New cover by Cameron Thorp

A Canterbury Tale
Cast
Eric Portman
Thomas Colpeper
Sheila Sim
Alison Smith
Dennis Price
Sgt. Peter Gibb
Sgt. John Sweet
Sgt. Bob Johnson
Esmond Knight
Seven Sisters Soldier/Narrator/Village Idiot
Credits
Director
Michael Powell
Director
Emeric Pressburger
Written, produced, and directed by
Michael Powell
Written, produced, and directed by
Emeric Pressburger
Cinematography
Erwin Hillier
Sound
John Seabourne Sr.
Music
Allan Gray
Conducted by
Walter Goehr
Production design
Alfred Junge

From The Current

A Tribute: A Canterbury Tale

If the most important subjects of film are light and time, I can’t think of a more poignant work than A Canterbury Tale. As seen by the Archers—the writing-directing-production team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger—light and time are th…

By Peter von Bagh


Jul 25, 2006

Explore

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Writer, Producer, Director

Though The Red Shoes is possibly the most popular and visually entrancing dance film of all time, the producing, directing, and writing team of the British Michael Powell and the Hungarian Emeric Pressburger created numerous other odes to the power of art and the imagination, always going against the realist strain of British cinema. Known by the name of their production company, the Archers, Powell and Pressburger forged a working alliance that lasted from the late thirties to the early seventies, and from the anti-Nazi propaganda of 49th Parallel and the astoundingly designed and edited epic The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp to the erotic, magical excesses of A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I’m Going!, Black Narcissus, and The Tales of Hoffmann. The duo were never as successful on their own as with each other, though Powell’s controversial Peeping Tom remains one of the most subversive and disturbing films ever made.