While on a ski holiday with her sister, Reggie decides to ask her husband for a divorce. Before she leaves, she meets a handsome stranger who calls himself Peter Joshua. All they share is some witty banter before traveling back to Paris. When she arrives at her home, she discovers everything in the apartment is gone. Police inform her that her husband has been killed. Peter becomes her partner as they try to unravel the mystery of not only who killed her husband, but also what he did with $250,000 that a band of thieves are trying to recover.
The film opens with Reggie (Audrey Hepburn) in the sights of a gun, only to be shot by a stream of water from an energetic nephew. This foretells the danger she will be in as well as provides the element of comedy that is woven throughout the film. The entire story is a delightful mix of comedy, drama, romance, thriller, and suspense – a somewhat unusual mix of genres that work perfectly under the pen of writer Peter Stone.
Reggie is portrayed as a typical woman of the sixties who is somewhat naïve and very dependant upon the men around her. Her husband had kept her in the dark about his true identity and his business and finances – not so unusual for the period. Peter is the man who controls everything, and he ends up using four different aliases – exactly the number of passports her husband
Amid all of the twists, turns, and danger, she falls in love with Peter. Every man around her is worthy of suspicion, but she overcomes her doubts about Peter until the one man who seems legit tells her Peter is trying to kill her. Only the audience knows the truth, she is running from the man trying to save her and into the clutches of the real villain.
The story is gripping from beginning to end. Just when you think you know who did what, the story pulls the rug out from under you. A perfect charade.
Academy Award Nomination for Best Music, Original Song (Henry Mancini – Charade);
BAFTA Film Award, Best British Actress – Audrey Hepburn; BAFTA Nomination, Best Foreign Actor – Cary Grant;
Edgar Allan Poe Awards, Best Motion Picture;
Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actor and Actress;
WGA Nomination for Best Written American Comedy – Peter Stone. Trivia: The writer and director each made a cameo and according to some sources, the film is in the public domain because the proper copyright indication was not made on the original film prints.