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 »


When Thomas Jefferson arrived in Paris, Louis XVI was still a 31-year old king and not a 63-year old Michael Lonsdale. See more »


Maria Cosway: That's how it is here. People play at love. It's not serious. It is different in Italy. There, we kill for it!
See more »


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


Written by Maria Cosway
Performed by Mary Nichols (alto) and Jan Walters (harp)
See more »

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User Reviews

Better than Grandiose
11 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

So many of the negative comments seem to be reactions against either downplaying or overemphasizing Jefferson's relationship with Sally. It strikes me that this is a reasonably balanced presentation of what's been learned in recent years. Other negative critiques are the disappointments recorded by patriots expecting some grandiose pageant for Fourth of July consumption. But this is all-in-all a less pretentious and better film than the typical celebration of Americana. Nolte presents Jefferson as an idealistic but very human being. Paltrow is very persuasive as Patsy, and many of the rest of the cast present excellent (or well-proportioned) characterizations. Except for some trivial inaccuracies, this is a richly textured reconstruction of history as it may very well have occurred. I find that I look in on it just about every time it pops up on cable--and I'm always rewarded.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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