A sheltered Princess escapes her duties while in Rome. She meets an American reporter who quickly realises who she is and decides to write a story about her. Audrey Hepburn stars as Princess Anne in an Oscar winning debut film role.
Tell you what. Why don't we do all those things, together?
Released in 1953 by Paramount Pictures and directed by William Wyler, Roman Holiday was a romantic comedy which starred Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in the starring roles. It was the first American film to be made entirely in Italy. The movie was hugely successful, turning the young Audrey Hepburn into a massive star, for which she won the academy award and the film picked up two more oscars as well as a slew of other awards.
Ann is a young princess from an unnamed country who has just arrived in Rome while on a highly publicised tour of several European capital cities. In her bedroom Ann is complaining to her assistant about the demands of her duties as royalty, she eventually has a tantrum and the assistant calls the doctor who administers a sedative to get her to sleep.
Once she is left alone she decides to escape from her confines and quickly stows away in the back of a delivery truck. The sedative begins to take effect and when she reaches the center of Rome she falls asleep on a public bench. Meanwhile American news reporter, Joe Bradley, has just left a game of cards with his friends and is walking home when he discovers a young woman asleep on a bench. When she fails to communicate with him he mistakes her for a drunk and puts her into a taxi. He attempts to leave her alone, however when the driver threatens to hand her over to the police he decides to let her stay in his apartment for the night.
The next morning, still unable to wake her, he goes to work. When asked by his boss if he went to the princess's press conference that morning, he lies that he did, unaware that it had been cancelled and a report issued that the princess had taken ill. Joe then sees a picture of the princess on the front page of a newspaper and suddenly realises that the princess has been in his apartment all along.
Joe invents a plan to get an exclusive one-on-one interview with the Princess Ann for which the newspaper would offer enough money for him to go back and work in America. Joe goes back to his apartment where he offers to show the princess around Rome. He hides that fact that he is a reporter, and that he knows she is a princess, instead going along with her fake name, "Anya Smith".
Joe recruits his photographer friend, Irving Radovich, to follow them and take pictures for his story. During the course of the day the princess gets her hair cut short, they visit the "Mouth of truth" statue and go on a Vespa ride through the streets of Rome which ends in a police station. They finish the day at a dance on the edge of the river where men hired by the royal family show up to try and return the princess to her staff.
Ann and Joe escape by jumping into the river and when they emerge they kiss, realising that they are in love. However the princess realises that their relationship can never work and that she must go back to her duties as a princess. She gets Joe to drive her back to her embassy and with tears bids him farewell.
The next day Irving shows up at Joe's apartment and the two decide to go to the princess's final press conference before she leaves the country. Joe tells Irving that he has decided not to print the story that would get the princess into a lot of trouble but tells him that he should still sell his photos.
At the press conference
At the press conference the princess is surprised to see Joe and Irving who she now realises are members of the press and knew who she really was all along. When asked what her favourite part of the tour was she states "Rome" and then requests to meet the members of the press. Working her way down the line she eventually reaches Irving who gives her back the photos of her exploits in Rome. She then speaks to Joe for the last time before she must depart. It ends with Joe quietly leaving the empty conference room.