Director: James Ivory
Year Released: 1993
A demure butler (Anthony Hopkins) lives only for his craft and nothing else: he dotes on his master, a Nazi sympathizer (James Fox), keeps his staff in line and even holds back his love for a co-worker (Emma Thompson), because acting on that would interfere with his job. The script is a little clunky, so it's all up to Hopkins to pull this one through (in one of the best performances of the 1990's): refusing an advance by Thompson (in a powerful scene), refusing to give an opinion on political matters, refusing himself time to tend to his dying father in order to cater a party. When he goes and reunites with Thompson twenty years after the fact and he and she are still the same, it's heartbreaking (she weeps, he walks away, time laughs). The British class system, meanwhile, is given a light slap on the cheek.