Where Angels Fear to Tread (1991)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  28 February 1992 (USA)
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After a rich Edwardian widow impulsively marries a handsome but poor Tuscan dentist and dies in childbirth, her English in-laws try to gain custody of the baby.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Philip Herriton
Lilia Herriton
Caroline Abbott
Thomas Wheatley ...
Mr. Kingcroft
Sophie Kullmann ...
Vass Anderson ...
Mr. Abbott
Sylvia Barter ...
Mrs. Theobald
Siria Betti ...
Giovanni Guidelli ...
Gino Carella
Anna Lelio ...
Luca Lazzareschi ...
Sergio Falasca ...
Carriage Driver


Around 1906, the widow Lilia Herriton meets a young man when she visits Italy and marries him. The man is only a dentist without a good name, and Lilia's relatives are clearly unhappy with her choice. Lilia dies while giving birth to a son, and two relatives travel to Italy to take care of of the baby, expecting no trouble from the father. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for sensuality, violence and theme | See all certifications »





Release Date:

28 February 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ahol angyal se jár  »

Box Office


$1,403,033 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Star Rupert Graves and director Charles Sturridge previously collaborated on the Evelyn Waugh adaptation A Handful of Dust (1988) around three years earlier. Both productions shared at least around a dozen personnel who worked on both pictures. See more »


In a scene outside on the veranda in Gino's house in Italy, Lilia (Helen Mirren) has her back to the view of the countryside. At one point, when the camera is on her, a white van can be seen driving along the road in the distance. It is clearly a 1990s-era vehicle, moving much faster than automobiles of the era could have. See more »


Mrs. Herriton: [Speaking about Italy] It may be filled with churches and beautiful pictures, but you can only judge a country by its men.
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Vaga luna che inargenti
Music by Vincenzo Bellini
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User Reviews

Absorbing, deft Forster adaptation
6 March 2008 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

'Fools rush in where angels fear to tread' said Alexander Pope, which helpfully explains the subject of the title. The fools are an absurd English party looking to 'rescue' a baby from its Italian father (the party bound to its mother by the tenuous association of inheritance and acquaintance).

'Foolishness' also becomes a euphemism for repression in this disarmingly light period drama, a repression buried almost beyond scrutiny by the impressive Rupert Graves. His is the key, poignant role although his character is matched in script and execution by Helena Bonham Carter's slow-burning Caroline Abbott and the outstandingly dysfunctional Judy Davis. Helen Mirren is miscast, but luckily is little more than a trope - Giovanni Guidelli is also alien to this company but actually that's rather more to the point.

The film is described in a number of reviews as being 'sumputously filmed', or the like. This is not the case: it's rather simply filmed but in taking in the beautiful Tuscan town of San Gimignano both at a distance and close up cannot fail to seduce the characters and viewer alike. It also has one of the most succinct yet comprehensive sequences about the true nature of opera in a movie. 7/10

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