Now, Voyager

USA 1942, 117 mins
Director: Irving Rapper

Nervous spinster Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) is stunted from growing up under the heel of her puritanical Boston Brahmin mother (My Fair Lady’s Gladys Cooper), and remains convinced of her own unworthiness until a kindly psychiatrist (Notorious’s Claude Rains) gives her the confidence to venture out into the world on a South American cruise.

Onboard, she finds her footing with the help of an unhappily married man (Casablanca’s Paul Henreid). Their thwarted love affair may help Charlotte break free of her mother’s grip— but will she find fulfilment as well as independence?

Made at the height of Davis’s reign as the queen of the women’s picture and bolstered by an Oscar- winning score by Max Steiner (Gone with the Wind), Now, Voyager is a melodrama for the ages, both a rapturous Hollywood romance and a poignant saga of self-discovery.

‘Don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.’ Bette Davis gave one of her most celebrated performances in this classic from 1942. Charlotte Vale (Davis), a troubled young woman who has been subjected to years of emotional abuse at the hands of her domineering mother, is treated at a Vermont hospital by kindly psychiatrist Dr Jaquith (Davis’ favourite co-star, Claude Rains). Before returning home Charlotte takes a cruise and falls for a married man (Henreid). At the end of the voyage, he must return to his jealous and cruel wife and she must be reunited with her mother – leaving both of them unclear as to whether they can ever be happy.

The film’s depiction of mental health issues and the treatment available is remarkably enlightened for its time, and with Max Steiner’s glorious Oscar®-winning score and great performances all round, Now, Voyager remains one of the standouts of Hollywood’s golden age.
Justin Johnson,

A contemporary review
Film version of an American best seller. Charlotte Vale, the repressed and bitterly unhappy daughter of an old and dominant Boston mother, has a serious nervous breakdown and goes to stay at a famous sanatorium run by Dr Jaquith. He sends her on a cruise to finish her convalescence and there she meets Jerry Durrance, a married man with two daughters. Their acquaintance deepens into love though each is aware that nothing can come of it.

The film is long but interesting throughout and is extremely well directed by Irving Rapper. Bette Davis is at the height of her power as a dramatic actress and in the early scenes when she is in the advanced stages of a breakdown, is moving in her realism. Paul Henreid is warmly sympathetic as Jerry and the cast has no weak link. The child, Janice Wilson, is amazing as Tina. The settings are varied and the problems raised are of interest to most people, particularly to women.
Monthly Film Bulletin, September 1943

Directed by: Irving Rapper
©/Presented by: Warner Bros.
Production Company: First National
A Hal B. Wallis production
Screen Play by: Casey Robinson
From the novel by: Olive Higgins Prouty
Director of Photography: Sol Polito
Special Effects: Willard Van Enger
Editor: Warren Low
Montages by: Don Siegel
Art Director: Robert Haas
Set Decorations by: Fred M. MacLean
Gowns by: Orry-Kelly
Wardrobe: Rydo Loshak, Marguerite Royce, Mary Deery
Make-up Artist: Perc Westmore
Music by: Max Steiner
Musical Director: Leo F. Forbstein
Orchestral Arrangements: Hugo Friedhofer
Sound by: Robert B. Lee
Sound System: RCA Sound System
Dialogue Director: Edward Blatt

uncredited crew
Unit Manager: Al Alleborn
Assistant Director: Sherry Shourds
2nd Assistant Director: Emmett Emerson
Script Clerk: Meta Rebner
Camera Operator: Al Greene
Assistant Camera: Frank Evans
Grip: Harold Noyes
Gaffer: Charles O’Bannon
Best Boy: Joe Cramer
Stills: Bert Six
Props: Scotty More
Make-up: Eddie Allen
Hairdresser: Martha Acker
Technical Adviser: Gilberto Souto
Stand-ins: Phyllis Clark, George Becker

Bette Davis (Charlotte Vale)
Paul Henreid (Jerry ‘J.D.’ Durrance)
Claude Rains (Dr Jaquith)
Gladys Cooper (Mrs Henry Windle Vale)
Bonita Granville (June Vale)
John Loder (Elliot Livingston)
Ilka Chase (Lisa Vale)
Lee Patrick (‘Deb’ McIntyre)
Franklin Pangborn (Mr Thompson)
Katherine Alexander (Miss Trask)
James Rennie (Frank McIntyre)
Mary Wickes (Dora Pickford)

uncredited cast

Charles Drake (Leslie Trotter)
Janis Wilson (Tina Durrance)
Tod Andrews (Dr Dan Regan)
David Clyde (William)
Claire Du Brey (Hilda)
Don Douglas (George Weston)
Charlotte Wynters (Grace Weston)
Frank Puglia (Giovanni)
Lester Matthews (captain)
Sheila Hayward (Katie)
Mary Field (passenger)
Yola D’Avril (Celestine)
George Renavent (M Henri)
Bill Kennedy (Hamilton Hunneker)
Reed Hadley (Henry Montague)
Dorothy Vaughan (woman)
Elspeth Dudgeon (Aunt Hester)
George Lessey (Uncle Herbert)
Ian Wolfe (Lloyd)
Constance Purdy (Rosa)
Corbet Morris (Hilary)
Hilda Plowright (Justine)
Tempe Pigott (Mrs Smith)
Bill Edwards, Isabel Withers, Frank Dae (passengers)

USA 1942©
117 mins

A BFI release

Of Human Bondage
Sun 1 Aug 12:40; Thu 12 Aug 18:00
Mon 2 Aug 18:15; Fri 13 Aug 21:00; Wed 18 Aug 18:10
All About Eve
Tue 3 Aug 14:30; Sat 14 Aug 20:25; Sun 29 Aug 15:00
Marked Woman
Tue 3 Aug 18:10; Thu 12 Aug 20:40; Sat 14 Aug 14:45
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Wed 4 Aug 14:15; Wed 11 Aug 20:30; Mon 16 Aug 18:00; Sat 28 Aug 17:20
Wed 4 Aug 20:40; Sun 15 Aug 15:30; Fri 27 Aug 18:00
Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Thu 5 Aug 14:15; Fri 13 Aug 17:40; Wed 18 Aug 14:30; Sat 28 Aug 20:30
All About Bette Davis
Thu 5 Aug 18:10
Dark Victory
Fri 6 Aug 14:15; Mon 23 Aug 18:00
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
Sat 7 Aug 15:00; Sat 21 Aug 11:40
The Letter
Sun 8 Aug 15:45; Tue 17 Aug 17:50
The Man Who Came to Dinner
Sun 8 Aug 18:20; Thu 19 Aug 20:40
The Little Foxes
Mon 9 Aug 18:00; Mon 16 Aug 20:30; Thu 19 Aug 17:40
The Whales of August
Wed 11 Aug 14:30; Thu 26 Aug 20:30; Tue 31 Aug 18:10
Old Acquaintance
Wed 11 Aug 17:40; Sun 22 Aug 15:30
Mr. Skeffington
Sat 14 Aug 17:10; Sun 29 Aug 11:30
The Star
Sun 15 Aug 18:30; Wed 25 Aug 20:45
Dead Ringer
Fri 20 Aug 17:45; Mon 30 Aug 15:20
The Nanny
Tue 24 Aug 20:45; Mon 30 Aug 12:40

With thanks to Martin Shingler

Eve’s Poison
Grab a Bette Davis inspired cocktail specially made with Sipsmith gin at BFI Riverfront this August.

Welcome to the home of great film and TV, with three cinemas and a studio, a world-class library, regular exhibitions and a pioneering Mediatheque with 1000s of free titles for you to explore. Browse special-edition merchandise in the BFI Shop.We're also pleased to offer you a unique new space, the BFI Riverfront – with unrivalled riverside views of Waterloo Bridge and beyond, a delicious seasonal menu, plus a stylish balcony bar for cocktails or special events. Come and enjoy a pre-cinema dinner or a drink on the balcony as the sun goes down.

Enjoy a great package of film benefits including priority booking at BFI Southbank and BFI Festivals. Join today at

We are always open online on BFI Player where you can watch the best new, cult & classic cinema on demand. Showcasing hand-picked landmark British and independent titles, films are available to watch in three distinct ways: Subscription, Rentals & Free to view.

See something different today on

Join the BFI mailing list for regular programme updates. Not yet registered? Create a new account at

Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email