While on a visit to Rome, Princess Anya is overcome by her scheduled agenda and promptly put to bed with a sedative after a panic attack and childish tantrum. After her royal attendants leave her bedroom, she peaks out the window at the festivities below and quickly steals away to freedom and fun in the Eternal City below. Dizzy from the medication, she lounges by a fountain, when Joe Bradley comes across her. With his critical newsman's eye, he notices that she is both well-dressed and well-spoken, and as much as he can gather from her dream-like ramblings, she is also well-educated. He supposes she is intoxicated -- not medicated, and without success tries to get a taxi to take her home, which she insists is the Coliseum. Finally, when the taxi driver says he cannot take her home, Joe reluctantly decides to let her spend the night safe in his apartment until the morning when she can return to her lodgings.
In the morning, Joe discovers that his lodger is none other but the visiting Princess Anya who has mysteriously and suddenly taken ill and is incapable of attending to her responsibilities. He quickly notifies his photographer pal (Eddie Albert, Green Acres) to assist him in a news scoop following the princess around on her Roman Holiday. The three pals have a joyous escapade running down citizens with their motorcycle, dining at an outdoor cafe, testing the legendary monument La Bocca della Verita (the Mouth of Truth), and topping off the evening with dancing on a Roman river barge.
After her identity is discovered by the secret police, Princess Anya bids a romantic and tearful farewell to her newfound love and returns to her regal disciplines attesting, "Were I not completely aware of my duty to my family and my country, I would not have come back tonight... or indeed ever again." Her attendants are astonished by her maturity and demeanor when they realize that their princess escaped as a little girl and came back as a mature and determined aristocrat.
Roman Holiday was directed by William Wyler and the screenplay was written by Dalton Trumbo under his friend's name, Ian McLellan Hunter, who received his Academy Award. Trumbo had been listed as a communist in the McCarthy investigations and was blacklisted from writing anything for a period of years. But in this re-release, he is listed as the author.
The featured movie Roman Holiday appears on Disc One. Special Features of Roman Holiday: Centennial Collection found on Disc Two, are as follows: "Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years" gives you a biography of the life and films of the fascinating movie and fashion icon; "Remembering Audrey" gives commentaries on her unique and willowy appearance, her fashion sense and her films; "Rome with a Princess" will take you on a tour of Rome and the landmarks they visited; "Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist" was a fascinating commentary on the misfortune of a genius screenwriter and his eventual return to the film screen without anonymity; "Restoring Roman Holiday" gives education to the difficulties of restoring damaged and dirty old film; "Behind the Gates: Costumes" will give you a fashion show of many of the movie costumes worn and on tour for the studio; and "Paramount in the 50's - Retrospective Featurette" is featured on all three Centennial Collections: Sabrina, Roman Holiday, and Sunset Boulevard and flips through the clips of their most popular movies of the time.
Roman Holiday: Centennial Collection features this enchanting story that's delightful family entertainment. There's much memorabilia packed in these featurettes where you'll find that Hepburn comes from Dutch royalty, and received this Academy Award on her first movie film and without any acting lessons at all. However, she was educated in European ballet that gave her the necessary skill to dance with greats such as Fred Astaire in Funny Face. It's interesting to go back and discover that movie plots really haven't changed that much, and what makes this a classic is its universal appeal to the new generations.