Jefferson in Paris (1995)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  31 March 1995 (USA)
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One of the obsessive speculations in American history is whether Thomas Jefferson, in the years before he became president, had an affair with (and fathered a child with) his 15-year-old ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Estelle Eonnet ...
Polly Jefferson
James Hemings
William Short
Nicolas Silberg ...
Monsieur Petit
Catherine Samie ...
Lionel Robert ...
Cook's Helper
Jean Rupert ...
Yvette Petit ...
Paolo Mantini ...
Mutilated Officer (as F. van den Driessche)


One of the obsessive speculations in American history is whether Thomas Jefferson, in the years before he became president, had an affair with (and fathered a child with) his 15-year-old slave Sally Hemings. JEFFERSON IN PARIS follows Jefferson to France (as the U.S. ambassador to the court of Louis XVI), following the death of his wife his friendships and flirtations with the French, his relationship with his daughters and slaves from home (especially Sally), against the backdrop of the beginning of the French Revolution. Written by Michael C. Berch <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature theme, some images of violence and a bawdy puppet show | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

31 March 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jefferson em Paris  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)


$2,474,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


At the time of the film's release, Michael Lonsdale, who plays Louis XVI, was 64. At the time of his execution, Louis was 39. See more »


Jefferson was in Paris from 1785 to 1789, but is depicted as witnessing the Mongolfier balloon ascent (with sheep, duck, and rooster) which took place in 1783. See more »


Thomas Jefferson: Independence is not a toy for children to play with, but the privilege of a fully matured mind.
See more »


Featured in The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004) See more »


VIOLIN SONATA La Follia, OPUS 5, No. 12
Music by Arcangelo Corelli
Performed by Hiro Kurosaki (violin), Emmanuel Balssa (cello) and William Christie (clavecin) (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Jefferson in Love
7 March 1999 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

We are invited here to see some of the more infrequently discussed aspects of the multifaceted Thos. Jefferson: architect, scientist, horticulturalist. Less of these perhaps than we might like, but more than we usually receive. Jefferson the scientist is mostly implied -- he witnesses one of the early Montgolfier ballooning experiments, for example.

The primary focus is on the contentious matter of Jefferson's affairs of the heart. These include, most notably, a speculative miscegenetic one, but there is a second one, better documented, for contrast. Even if one suspects that the decision to direct attention here was primarily a commercial one, those portions of the film are well enough executed, while the creators, Prawer Jhabvala and Ivory, do provide us with a little seasoned food for the intellect, both here and elsewhere.

"Jefferson in Paris" does contain a few speech anachronisms but otherwise seems to have found the flavour of the period. Altogether, not an exceptional film, but one which has much to recommend it.

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