The exquisite Audrey Hepburn lights up the screen in her first starring role opposite the charismatic Gregory Peck in this funny, beautiful, and intoxicating romantic comedy that is making its Blu-ray debut as part of the Paramount Presents line from Paramount Home Entertainment. Check out Ralph Potts’ Blu-ray coverage of Roman Holiday.


The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Paramount - 1953
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 118 minutes
Genre: Romance

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.37:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD Mono, French Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French
Starring: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert
Directed by: William Wyler
Written by: Dalton Trumbo, Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton
Region Code: A

Release Date: September 15, 2020

"Introducing Audrey Hepburn…"


“The exquisite Audrey Hepburn lights up the screen in her first starring role opposite the charismatic Gregory Peck in this funny, beautiful, and intoxicating romantic comedy.” – Paramount Home Entertainment

My Take:

Ranked as the #4 greatest love story of all time by the American Film Institute, Roman Holiday earned 10 Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture, and won Best Actress for Hepburn, Best Costume Design for legendary designer Edith Head, and Best Writing for Dalton Trumbo.

Director William Wyler’s 1953 fairy tale was one of Hollywood’s first on-location motion pictures and memorably captures the bustling streets and iconic sites of Rome. Roman Holiday expresses the exhilaration of joyously breaking free as young Princess Ann escapes her royal obligations against the backdrop of post-war Europe embracing long-awaited peace.

This is the first time I have seen Roman Holiday. It is one of those classic films that I haven’t really been drawn to. This is also only the second Audrey Hepburn film that I have seen in its entirety (I know I know). It’s hard not to immediately be taken in by Hepburn’s infectious charm and girl next door good looks. She owns this character and it is easy to see how it kick started her marvelous career. I loved the story’s schmaltzy romance, light humor and unbridled edge.

There are lots of little moments in this film which is a testament to the writing and direction. I was completely enamored by Hepburn and can see why she is revered as a Hollywood legend. She and co-star Gregory Peck had marvelous chemistry which again added to the film’s enrichment. I thoroughly enjoyed Roman Holiday. It’s a fondly influential and purely delightful film that is justly deserving of the iconic status that has been bestowed upon it.

Note: Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee and his name was not included in the film’s original credits. In 1992 the Board of Governors of the Academy voted to finally credit Trumbo for the “Story Writing” Oscar and his widow received a statuette in 1993. In 2011, the WGA restored Trumbo’s name to the screenwriting credits. This is the first physical home entertainment release to correctly credit Dalton Trumbo with both the screenplay and story by credits both on packaging and the film itself.

About the Restoration:

The original negative was processed at a local film lab in Rome and was unfortunately badly scratched and damaged. The film had to be pieced back together, but the splices were so weak due to the damage that extensive amounts of tape had to be used to allow the negative to make it through a printing machine. Because of the fragile state of the negative, a Dupe Negative was made and then blown up a few thousandths of an inch to cover all the splice tape that held the original negative together.

In anticipation of this new Blu-ray release, the film was digitally restored using the Dupe Negative and a Fine Grain element to capture the best possible image. Every frame was reviewed, and the film received extensive clean up to remove thousands of scratches, bits of dirt, and other damage. Because audio elements to properly up-mix to 5.1 do not exist, the original mono track was remastered, and minor anomalies were corrected. The result is a film returned to its original vibrancy and beauty that remains true to director William Wyler’s vision.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

This is appropriate for general audiences.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.

Audio: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

    • Dynamics:
    • Low frequency effects:
    • Surround Sound presentation:
    • Clarity/Detail:
    • Dialog Reproduction:
    • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

    • Resolution/Clarity:
    • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
    • Color Reproduction:
    • Fleshtones:
    • Compression:
Roman Holiday comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby TrueHD Mono sound.

The restoration is a success that delivers marvelous video quality. Images onscreen have excellent depth with rendering that draws out plenty of delineation. The level of visible detail in facial features, hair and clothing during close-ups is noteworthy. Wide angle shots vary in terms of visual depth but, most reveal subtle degrees of refinement and fidelity is never in question. Resolution is excellent as interior shots of the various locations/dwellings/sets featured in the story offer clarity, detail and dimension that belie the film’s 60 plus year old age. Blacks are noise free, stable and fairly deep. Contrast and brightness are balanced well which enliven bright scenes while maintaining an appreciable level of visibility and dimension during darker segments. Grain is presented in even layers that provide a satisfyingly filmic texture. This wonderful cinematic gem looks terrific thanks to a well-executed restoration. Kudos to Paramount.

The monaural soundtrack is presented in Dolby TrueHD lossless and I found it rendered the components of the original recording beautifully. The auditory is clean and free of unwanted clicks, pops or background hiss. Dialogue intelligibility is excellent as it is never lost amidst the other sounds coming through the central channel. Purists will appreciate the time and effort that went into maintaining the integrity of this great film’s original elements while restoring it. The result will allow those seeing it for the first time to experience it looking and sounding better than it ever has in the home environment.

Bonus Features:
  • Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on Roman Holiday
  • Behind the Gates: Costumes
  • Rome with a Princess
  • Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years
  • Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist
  • Paramount in the '50s: Remembering Audrey
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Four Photo Galleries: Production, The Movie, Publicity, The Premiere

Final Thoughts:

Roman Holiday is a fondly influential and purely delightful film that introduced the world to the talents, infectious charm and, effervescence of the marvelous Audrey Hepburn. It is indeed a classic film that is deserving of the accolades that have been bestowed upon it. This latest addition to the Paramount Presents line from Paramount Home Entertainment features newly re-mastered/restored elements that positively reflect upon this wonderful film. The supplied bonus features provide fans with an entertaining look at the film and the iconic star who made it so memorable. I am pleased to add it to my collection and highly recommend it for fans/film enthusiasts.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems