Charade is a 1963 Technicolor American romantic comedy/mystery film directed by Stanley Donen, written by Peter Stone and Marc Behm, and starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.
The cast also features Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Dominique Minot, Ned Glass, and Jacques Marin.
It spans three genres: suspense thriller, romance and comedy.
Because Universal Pictures published the movie with an invalid copyright notice, the film entered the public domain in the United States immediately upon its release.
The film is notable for its screenplay, especially the repartee between Grant and Hepburn, for having been filmed on location in Paris, for Henry Mancini’s score and theme song, and for the animated titles by Maurice Binder.
Charade has received generally positive reviews from critics, and was additionally noted to contain influences of genres such as whodunit, screwball and spy thriller. It has also been referred to as “the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made”.
While on a skiing holiday, Regina “Reggie” Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) tells her friend Sylvie (Dominique Minot) that she has decided to divorce her husband Charles.
She also meets a charming American stranger, Peter Joshua (Cary Grant).
On her return to Paris, she finds her apartment stripped bare.
A police inspector notifies her that Charles has been murdered while trying to leave Paris.
Reggie is given her husband’s travel bag, containing a letter addressed to her, a ticket to Venezuela, passports in multiple names and other items.
At Charles’ sparsely-attended funeral, three odd characters show up to view the body.
Reggie is summoned to meet CIA administrator Hamilton Bartholomew (Walter Matthau) at the U.S. Embassy.
She learns that the three men are Tex Panthollow (James Coburn), Herman Scobie (George Kennedy) and Leopold W. Gideon (Ned Glass), the survivors of a World War II OSS operation.
Together with Charles and a fifth man, Carson Dyle, they were to deliver $250,000 in gold to the French Resistance, but instead they stole it for themselves.
Dyle was fatally wounded in a German ambush, and Charles double-crossed the others and took all the gold.
While the three surviving men are now after the missing money, the U.S. government also wants it back.
Bartholomew insists that Reggie has it, even if she does not know where it is.
He tells her she is likely in great danger.
Peter locates Reggie and helps her move into a hotel.
The three criminals separately threaten her, each convinced that she knows where the money is.
Scobie then shocks Reggie by claiming that Peter is in league with the trio, after which Peter confesses to her that he is really Carson Dyle’s brother, Alexander, intent on bringing the other men to justice because he believes they murdered Carson.
As the hunt for the money continues, first Scobie is found murdered, then Gideon.
Reggie gets yet another shock when Bartholomew informs her that Carson Dyle had no brother.
When she confronts him, Alexander admits he is actually Adam Canfield, a professional thief. Although frustrated by his dishonesty, Reggie still finds herself trusting him.
Reggie and Adam go to the location of Charles’s last appointment and find an outdoor market.
They also spot Tex there and Adam follows him.
At the sight of stamp-selling booths, Adam and Tex each realize that Charles must have invested the money in several extremely rare stamps which he affixed to an envelope that has been in plain sight among his possessions.
Both men race back to Reggie’s hotel room, only to find that Reggie has given them to Sylvie’s son for his collection.
At the market, Reggie also realizes the envelope’s significance.
She, Sylvie, and Jean-Louis find the stamp trader, who returns the stamps.
Back at the hotel, Reggie finds Tex’s body, with the name “Dyle” scrawled next to it.
Convinced that Alexander is the murderer after all, a frightened Reggie telephones Bartholomew, who tells her to meet him at the Colonnade at the Palais-Royal.
As she leaves the hotel, Adam spots her and gives chase.
At the Colonnade, Reggie is caught out in the open between the two men.
Adam tells her that Bartholomew is really Carson Dyle; he survived the war and became obsessed with revenging himself on his former friends and reclaiming the treasure.
After another chase that ends in an empty theatre, Reggie hides in the prompter box.
Dyle discovers her and is about to shoot, when Adam activates a trapdoor beneath his feet and Dyle falls to his death.
Next day Reggie and Adam go to the embassy to turn over the stamps, but Adam refuses to accompany her further.
Going in, Reggie discovers that Adam is really Brian Cruikshank, the government official responsible for recovering stolen property.
His true identity revealed, he proposes marriage.
The movie ends with a split-screen grid showing flashback shots of Brian’s four identities, while Reggie says she hopes that they have lots of boys, so they can name them all after him.