While on holiday, Regina "Reggie" Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) decides to divorce her tall, dark and mysterious husband because she suspects he is hiding something from her. Returning home, she discovers her apartment has been striped clean of all her possessions and every stick of furniture. The sole thing occupying the flat is a police officer bearing bad news: Charles is dead, and it appears her whole married life has been a charade.
Things get even worse when the stunned widow is summoned to meet with Hamilton Bartholomew (Walter Matthau), a representative of the CIA. By his account, Charles Lampert double-crossed three fellow conspirators after the team stole a quarter of a million dollars from the US government. Charles' untimely death is evidence that his disgruntled buddies are still searching for their share of the gold, as are its rightful owners. Due to her relationship to the deceased, Reggie is the best lead to the fortune, and can expect her life to be threatened too.
With this frightening piece of motivation, Reggie solicits a kind stranger (Cary Grant) to help her find the money before the thugs find her. But the act isn't over. Even as she places her trust in the handsome man, deception continues to hound her during the ensuing cat and mouse game.
Although Charade portrays a flirtatious relationship between the main characters, the biggest concern for families will be its violent depictions. Constant peril, gun-carrying callous criminals, and close-up shots of the numerous murder victims faces will make this movie too shocking for younger viewers.
Yet few films have blended suspense with romantic comedy as successfully as this "whodunit." Perhaps it's the chemistry between Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant (two of Hollywood's brightest stars), mixed with the stirring Henry Mancini score. Or maybe it's the masked motivations in the compelling, plot-twisting screenplay. Either way, this superb thriller's contrast between chill and charm will keep older audiences on the edge of their seats until the final curtain call.
Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...
Before an unhappily married woman can divorce her husband, she discovers he has been murdered. Soon three of his former acquaintances are threatening her life, demanding she give them their share of the stolen money her husband swindled them out of. Thrillers do not come much better than this carefully crafted tale, although the violence will be too much for young audiences.
Several dead bodies are shown: the faces of murder victims who have been strangled, drowned, suffocated or thrown from the train are shown. A gun that is drawn and shot turns out to be a water pistol. In a morgue, the toe tag and foot of a corpse are shown. Corpse is stabbed with a pin. Puppet character hits another puppet with a stick. Death treats are made on several occasions. Woman kicks man in shins. Lit matches are dropped on a character. A character with a claw hand scuffles with others on two occasions; characters lives are threatened, an eye is poked, and a bloody wound under torn clothes is shown. Character jumps from one balcony to another. Many characters carry guns. Brief verbal discussion about robbery, fatal shooting and dismembered hand. Characters are threatened at gunpoint. Character hangs perilously from edge of roof. A child is held hostage. Policeman describes capital punishment. Chase scene and gunfight put characters in peril. Man falls to death.
Sexual Content: B-
A character suggests that an unhappily married woman find new friends. A married woman flirts with another man. A lot of body contact (some with sexual inferences) occurs when characters play a game where they pass an orange without using their hands. Woman invites man into her hotel room several times (all offers are refused). Man and woman exchange hugs and kisses several times. Man says he is having a tough time keeping his hands off of a woman. Man rubs womans feet.
At least: 2 terms of deity, 1 mild profanity and name calling.
Alcohol / Drug Use: C+
Wine is served at meals and in a nightclub. Main character and several others smoke throughout the movie. Stinging liniment is used on a wound.
Character discusses the merits of being a thief. Some derogatory 60’s style remarks are made about marriage and the fairer sex.
Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...
Reggie’s biggest complaint about her husband is his dishonesty, yet she quickly falls in love with Peter even though it’s apparent he keeps secrets too. Why do you think she pursued the relationship, even when she knew she wasn’t dealing with the truth? What character traits would you look for in a partner?
Home Video Notes
Home Video Notes: Charade
Release Date: 9 July 2013
Charade releases to home video (Blu-ray).
Home Video Notes: Charade
Release Date: 21 September 2010
The 1963 classic Charade releases to Blu-ray with a restored, high-definition digital transfer of the movie. This Criterion Collection edition includes:
- Audio Commentary featuring Stanley Donen and Peter Stone
- Original theatrical trailer
- A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Bruce Eder