Variety - 01/28/1987
"...An appealing film on several counts, one of the most notable being Anne Bancroft's fantastic performance....Genuinely moving..."
Los Angeles Times - 03/20/1987
"...A joyous celebration of the life of the imagination....The film affords both Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins some of the warmest and most winning moments of their screen careers..."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2002
"...An astute and moving dramatisation of the long correspondence between New York writer and bibliophile Helene Hanff and London second-hand bookshop manager Frank Doel..."
While searching for rare English books, New York writer Helene Hanff's (Anne Bancroft) letter to a London bookstore, run by Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins), begins a relationship between the two that spans two decades and two continents. Although their personalities and cultures are miles apart, their friendship blossoms into a deeper affection. Bancroft's performance earned her the BAFTA award, the British equivalent of the Oscar. Based on James Roose-Evans's play, which was based on Helene Hanff's memoir.
In 1949, New Yorker Helene Hanff, a writer with a passion for English literature and a small budget, answers an ad for the London bookstore Marks & Co., which offers rare volumes at low prices. As a result, she takes up a twenty-year correspondence with bookseller Frank Doel, and the store's other employees. They exchange letters and gifts and form a long-distance friendship, but, sadly, never meet face-to-face.
Anne Bancroft's husband, Mel Brooks, purchased the rights to the story for her as a twenty-first anniversary present.
Based on the memoirs of Helene Hanff, a television writer, which detailed her correspondence with bookseller Frank Doel over twenty years.
In 1975, the BBC produced a television show based on Hanff's memoirs. This program, in turn, was adapted for the stage in 1981 by James Roose-Evans. The 1982 New York stage version ran for 96 performances. The Broadway show's original cast included Rosemary Leach (Helene Hanff), David Swift (Frank Doel), Barbara Ward (Cecily Farr), Charmian May (Megan Wells/Maxine Stuart), Charles Kinross (Mr. Martin), Adrian Hall (William Humphries), and Susanna Best (John Todd).