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The Wings of the Dove (1997)

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An impoverished woman who has been forced to choose between a privileged life with her wealthy aunt and her journalist lover, befriends an American heiress. When she discovers the heiress is attracted to her own lover and is dying, she sees a chance to have both the privileged life she cannot give up and the lover she cannot live without.



(novel), (screenplay)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Philip Wright ...
Journalist 2
Kate's Father
Alexander John ...
Shirley Chantrell ...
Opium Den Lady
Diana Kent ...
Merton's Party Companion
Georgio Serafini ...
Rachele Crisafulli ...


Kate Croy's mother was born to wealth and privilege, but she threw it all away to marry Kate's father, a penniless opium addict who admits to having stolen from his wife. After her mother's death, Kate is offered an opportunity to return to the life her mother gave up. There is a condition, however: Kate must sever all of her old ties, not only to her father, but also to her lover, the muck-raking journalist Merton Densher, whom she has promised marriage. Kate reluctantly agrees to this, and in the meantime becomes friendly with "the world's richest orphan," Millie Theale, an American making the Grand Tour. Desperate to see Kate, Merton crashes a party that she and Millie are attending, and Millie is attracted to him. When Kate learns that Millie is dying, she comes up with a plan to have her cake and eat it too...but all does not go as planned. Written by RK

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A couple with everything but money. An heiress with everything but love. A temptation no one could resist.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

13 March 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las alas de la paloma  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$183,610 (USA) (7 November 1997)


$13,718,385 (USA) (10 April 1998)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The story was moved up in time from 1902 to 1910, in part at the behest of costume designer Sandy Powell. Fashion evolved significantly between those two years, and Powell felt that the 1910 silhouette would help set the film apart from the films made by Merchant-Ivory (which are often set in the 1900s). See more »


The tile pattern on the Underground stations the train passes through at the beginning of the film are identical in pattern and color for each station. Each station on the Piccadilly line had its own tile pattern and color scheme so that the illiterate could still recognize their station without needing to read the station name. See more »


Kate Croy: These wretched aristocrats can't even heat their houses.
See more »

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User Reviews

In Love with the Memory
24 June 2000 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

There are two tests in my mind for a classic film.

First, it must plant some images permanently in your life. Very few films do that. Two films that are cogent to discussing this one are Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia in Zefferelli's `Hamlet.' She and Glenn Close acted circles around the guys -- her expression in the midst of the play within the play is lasting over years in my memory. The whole film revolves around that moment.

Also lasting are several images from the ostensibly unambitious `Oscar and Lucinda.' But I also carry many lasting film images that are junk, courtesy of Lucas and Spielberg. That brings us to the second condition: for a film to be classic, evocation of the images, the remembrance, needs to be multidimensional, to elevate rather than dumb down.

Measured by those rules, this film is remarkable. For a few years, I have carried the image of the next to last scene where Carter makes love and in the act discovers the truth about her love. This is so wonderful, so tragic, so true that it has stuck with me, together with the secondary images, the memories of Venice and Millie that Merton is in love with. I hope to follow this woman's career for decades. I wonder where it will go?

25 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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