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Retrospective - Britain's Finest Leading Ladies
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith delivers an incredible central performance as an unattached posh private school teacher in Edinburgh in the 1930s.

Based on a novel, then turned into a Tony award-winning play, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie follows Smith as the titular teacher. She encourages romantic and political idealism in her precocious students, educating them in matters of love and art over cold hard facts. Her controversial teaching style captures the attention and indignation of the school’s headmistress, Miss Mackey (Celia Johnson). Unfazed by this, Miss Brodie falls into a complicated tryst with fellow teacher Mr. Lowther (Gordon Jackson). When her politics indirectly causes a tragic event, Jean begins to unfold, questioning everything she believes in.

The film delves into themes of loyalty, manipulation, individuality, and the complexities of mentorship and education. It also explores the clash between Miss Brodie's free-spirited, unconventional approach and the traditional values of the school.

This is widely considered by many to be Smith’s greatest performance, which still resonates today.

1969 | 116 min | UK | Drama
Director: Ronald Neame
Cast: Maggie Smith, Robert Stephens, Pamela Franklin, Gordon Jackson, Celia Johnson
Maggie Smith delivers a tour de force performance as the captivating and complex Miss Brodie.
The New York Times

Festivals and Awards

Best Actress, Academy Awards 1970
Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, BAFTA Awards 1970
Best Original Song, Academy Awards 1970
Best Supporting Actress, BAFTA Awards 1970