The Bostonians is a 1984 American romantic drama film based on Henry James' 1886 novel The Bostonians. It was adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. The film stars Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Reeve, Madeleine Potter, and Jessica Tandy. The movie received respectable reviews and showings at arthouse theaters in New York, London and other cities. The film received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Redgrave's performance and its costume design.
The film is set among the Back Bay uppercrust of the 19th century. Basil Ransom (Christopher Reeve), bored by his opulent lifestyle and his "proper" friends, is fascinated by his cousin, outspoken suffragette Olive Chancellor (Vanessa Redgrave). Basil and Olive's mutual friend is likeable, gregarious Verena Tannant (Madeleine Potter). Soon a triangle develops, albeit an unorthodox one: Basil and Olive both find themselves pursuing Verena, Basil because he is in love with her, and Olive because she wants to exploit Verena's social connections (although some have thought she was also a lesbian, but did not know for certain) and use Verena's gift for public speaking to promote her own political ideology. Lurking in the background is Verena's true love, poor-but-honest attorney Henry Burrage (John Van Ness Philip).