Roman Holiday: Visiting Rome through the Eyes of Audrey Hepburn

Written by Natale Ryan

Audrey Hepburn is a famous face in Korea. The Belgian actress’ face and name can be seen on shampoo, clothing advertisements, and on a logo for a brilliant South Korean café. These are but a few reasons why the actress is so popular here. In 2015, Hepburn’s son, Sean Hepburn, commissioned the Sewol Memorial Forest, in honor of those who lost their lives. Ever since I was young, Audrey Hepburn has been one of my favorite actresses. In my opinion, her classy, calm demeanor and wise words have helped shape the world. It is not only her personality that has entranced me, but also her history. After being turned away from ballet school because of her height, she turned to acting. Her first major film role was in a movie called Roman Holiday with the handsome Gregory Peck. Despite being her first major role, she would later receive an Academy Award for it.

In this film, Hepburn portrays Princess Ann, who is bored and stressed with her scheduled aristocratic life. The princess has been traveling through various countries, with a stop in Rome, Italy. The actress plays her part well. The audience can feel the princess’ frustration with her life during the opening scene, in which Ann must introduce herself to a long line of other aristocrats. Gregory Peck portrays Joe Bradley, an American reporter who is down on his luck. Peck brings a charm to the classic film that is hard to find nowadays. He happens upon Anya Smith, as she calls herself, who has run away from her guards. Recognizing her, the reporter decides to give her a proper Roman holiday to get the scoop on her while he is incognito. The movie is a combination of Ann’s first experiences, invasions by the secret service, and romance. I won’t spoil the movie, as it is a funny and charming love story. The film sends a clear message of life’s enjoyment, while highlighting the beauty of Rome.

The places Ann visits during her holiday are real, and they can all be found in Italy. One famous scene takes place in a church in front of a sculpture, known in Italy as “The Mouth of Truth.” Hepburn said she had an amazing time filming abroad. Famous sights like the Colosseum, the Tiber River, and the Trevi Fountain can all be seen. While dated, the music in the movie is brilliant and sets a wonderful mood for each scene.

Classic movies, in my opinion, don’t get reviewed enough in these modern times. Because of the lack of color, sometimes overacting was used to elaborate more on the beauty of things. Hepburn’s classic beauty and graceful movements can make the viewer feel like they are in the presence of a real princess. She can, however, switch her acting styles and act like a young girl who needs more freedom and flexibility. Peck, with his rugged appearance in the film and almost haughty personality, exhibits a no-nonsense confidence and is only using the princess for financial gain.

Roman Holiday is held in high regard by many. It is timeless, beautiful, and emotional. It is forever part of my library, and I encourage readers to watch it. And while you are at it, you could visit your local Audrey Hepburn café for a nice cup of coffee and pretend like you are having a Roman holiday – in Korea!

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