The Duke

The Film

The Duke is a British comedy-drama film directed by Roger Michell, with a screenplay by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman. Dealing with the true story of the 1961 theft of the Portrait of the Duke of Wellington, the film stars Jim Broadbent, Helen Mirren, Fionn Whitehead, Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Goode. It was Michell's final film before his death on 22nd September 2021.

The film was awarded 5 stars from The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph following its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. It was released in cinemas in the UK on 25th February 2022.


It was announced in October 2019 that a film about the 1961 theft was in development, with Broadbent as Bunton and Mirren as his wife, and Roger Michell set to direct. Fionn Whitehead joined the cast the following month.

Filming began in November 2019, with Goode joining the cast. Location shooting took place in Bradford and the production team also used Prime Studios in Leeds.


The film was originally scheduled to be released in the United Kingdom by 20th Century Fox via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in November 2020, but Pathé later delayed it to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 7th June 2021, it was announced that Pathé would release the film on 3rd September 2021, after announcing a new distribution deal with Warner Bros. Pictures.

On 23rd July, Pathé announced that the film release would be again delayed, this time to 25th February 2022.


The Duke had an excellent reception at its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Since then, the film has been exceptionelly well received by critics, including a number of accolades as 'the best comedy-drama of the past five years'.

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, The Duke has a 94% approval rating.



Jim Broadbent as Kempton Bunton
Helen Mirren as Dorothy Bunton
Fionn Whitehead as Jackie Bunton
Matthew Goode as Jeremy Hutchinson
Anna Maxwell Martin as Mrs Gowling
Jack Bandeira as Kenny Bunton
Aimée Kelly as Irene
Joshua McGuire as Eric Crowther, Hutchinson's junior
Charlotte Spencer as Pammy
John Heffernan as Neddie Cussen, prosecuting barrister
Andrew Havill as Sir Philip Hendy, Director of the National Gallery
James Wilby as Carl Aarvold, judge in Kempton's case
Heather Craney as Debbie, clerk of the court in Kempton's case
Richard McCabe as Rab Butler, Home Secretary
Charles Edwards as Sir Joseph Simpson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
Sian Clifford as Dr Unsworth, handwriting expert