Dean Spanley

Dean Spanley

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Our best guess for you: 3.5 stars

Average of 541 ratings: 3.5 Stars

2008 M Suitable for general audiences.

England 1904. Henslowe Fisk (Jeremy Northam) and his ailing father, Horatio Fisk (Peter O'Toole), decide to go to a lecture given by the Swami Nala Prash (Art Malik) on reincarnation, called 'The Transmigration of Souls'. While there, they meet one Dean Spanley (Sam Neill) as well as Wrather (Bryan Brown), a self-described facilitator from the Colonies.

Later encountering the Dean at this father's club, and then in the grounds of the cathedral, Henslowe takes this to be more than coincidence and decides to ask the man to dinner, enticing him with the promise of his favourite tipple Imperial Tokay, a rare Hungarian sweet wine. Using Wrather to procure a bottle, Henslowe begins a series of dinners with Spanley, in which - after two glasses of the wine - the Dean begins to recount strange recollections of his past life. Incredulous at first, Henslowe becomes intrigued by the Dean's clear-headed accounts of his days during his former life. But as these alcohol-induced investigations continue, it becomes clear that Dean Spanley has an intimate connection to someone close to Henslowe, a revelation that will ultimately prove incredibly cathartic for all concerned.

More movie details

96 minutes
2009 New Zealand Film And TV Awards
Best Film
Best Supporting Actor: Peter O'Toole
Best Director: Toa Fraser

DVD details

Screen Format
1.78:1 Widescreen 16x9 Enhanced
English Dolby Digital

31 Member Reviews Write a review

4 by TikipungaKid

Any fim with Peter O'Toole is worth a watch, but also great performances from Bryan Brown and Sam Neill. A good heart warming watch - a little slow - but let the film take you on the journey - it is worth it!

5 by Kate Bush

Adorable! What an unusual film. Very quirky, clever and touching. Well acted & beautifully filmed.

4 by hightide

Delightful. Watched this as a family. Needed to explain what was going on to our 8 year old, 10 year old mostly got it, 13 year old loved it.

3.5 by kiwi

excellent one-liners throughout, this film was so funny. It was delightful to watch. Great acting especially O'Toole, Neil and Brown.


Just what I needed a quiet, interesting film with good old actors gently moving us along. Brian Brown, Sam Neill and Peter O'Toole chilling on the back porch.

5 by OrangePeko

Fantastic film. Clever, funny, excellent acting and a brilliant script. Must love dogs, or people who might have been dogs at some point.

4 by marjidors

I wondered about this film to start with, but found it really great.

I keep thinking about it and how it felt to be a dog!

Most unusual.

A must see.

5 by Paulio2

A truly original, excellent and warm movie. Great performances from Sam Neil and Peter O'Toole. One to see again sometime.

4 by sianone

Directed by New Zealander Toa Fraser (No.2) I have watched this twice now and enjoyed it both times. The subject matter is amusing and somewhat unusual, but I prefer that to run-of-the-mill formulaic... Read more

3 by MacDish

Not quite as profound as I'd hoped, but watchable anyway. Brown and Neill didn't have much scope for acting excellence, but O' Toole was his usual faultless self.