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American Friends (1991)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  April 1993 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 526 users  
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Francis Ashby, a senior Oxford don on holiday alone in the Alps, meets holidaying American Caroline and her companion Elinor, the blossoming Irish-American girl she adopted many years ... See full summary »



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Title: American Friends (1991)

American Friends (1991) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bryan Pringle ...
Fred Pearson ...
Reverend Francis Ashby
Oliver Syme
Mrs. Cantrell
Ian Dunn ...
Robert Eddison ...
Rushden - The President
Charles McKeown ...
Dr. Butler (as Roger Lloyd-Pack)
John Nettleton ...
Miss Elinor Hartley
Miss Caroline Hartley


Francis Ashby, a senior Oxford don on holiday alone in the Alps, meets holidaying American Caroline and her companion Elinor, the blossoming Irish-American girl she adopted many years before. Ashby finds he enjoys their company, particularly that of Elinor, and both the women are drawn to him. Back at Oxford he is nevertheless taken aback when they arrive unannounced. Women are not allowed in the College grounds, let alone the rooms. Indeed any liaison, however innocent, is frowned on by the upstanding Fellows. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Education in love


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild language and sensuality | See all certifications »




Release Date:

April 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amerikai barátok  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


First film of Jonathan Firth. See more »


Schumann Lieder [Opus 25]
By Robert Schumann
Sung by Susan Denaker
See more »

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User Reviews

really needs a woman's touch
21 November 2013 | by See all my reviews

It's 1861 Rev Francis Ashby (Michael Palin) is a senior Oxford teacher holidaying alone in the Alps. He meets the American family Hartleys. Young Elinor (Trini Alvarado) is especially taken with Mr Ashby. None of the teachers are allowed to marry. When Elinor and Caroline Hartley surprise him arriving at Oxford, they aren't even allowed to stay on the College grounds. Oliver Syme (Alfred Molina) is a scheming new-thinker, and becomes a challenger to the morally unblemished Ashby for the post of College President.

Michael Palin wrote the story, and probably has taken great personal stakes in this movie. It seems that much effort has been put into maintaining the authenticity in the relationship between the sexes. The monastic feel of college life can be a very trying watch. It's very stale and not very exciting. Even a great debate sound dry and uninteresting.

The woman's touch allows the movie to gain a bit of color. Michael Palin is painfully reserved. There is an intense love story amidst the sexual repression to be had, but the pacing is so slow that it never gains the energy to lift off. Palin and Alvarado need more time together. The movie gains some altitude when they are hiding in his room. However the emphasis keeps being pushed to the developing scandal rather than the developing romance. Instead of a love story, it's a story of propriety.

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Was Michael playing the part of his ancestors? rupertbreheny
Was the girl really pregnant with the other man's baby? sietz
American Friends Region 4 DVD Dave_1975
What did Aunt Caroline hear? kerprice
Michael really should have done more acting paulparker77
Questions/observation s about Ashby and Aunt Caroline kerprice
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