Tea with Mussolini (1999)

PG  |   |  Drama, Comedy, War  |  14 May 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 9,038 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 157 user | 61 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

1935. A group of elderly British women, who the Italians have named the Scorpioni, have chosen Italy, specifically Florence, as a place to live to blend their proper British sensibilities ... See full summary »



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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Baird Wallace ...
Charlie Lucas ...
Luca (Child)
Massimo Ghini ...
Vittorio Fanfanni
Claudio Spadaro ...
Mino Bellei ...
Paul Chequer ...
Wilfred Random, aka Miss Lucy
Tessa Pritchard ...
Connie Raynor
Michael Williams ...
British Consul
Paula Jacobs ...


1935. A group of elderly British women, who the Italians have named the Scorpioni, have chosen Italy, specifically Florence, as a place to live to blend their proper British sensibilities with their love of Italian art and culture. One of those Scorpioni, Mary Walsh, works as the English secretary for Paolo Innocente, who, in part because of his own wife's adamant refusal, largely neglects his illegitimate adolescent son, Luca, despite Paolo's want for Luca to grow up to be a proper young man, much like the English. Luca has lived in an orphanage since his dressmaker mother's death, death a concept that Luca does not yet understand. As such, he often runs away looking for his mother. On a mutual agreement between Paolo and Mary, Mary becomes Luca's guardian, she who will receive help in raising Luca by her fellow Scorpioni and financial help from Paolo as needed. Associated with the Scorpioni is a brash younger nouveau riche Jewish-American woman named Elsa Morgenthal, who, because of... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A story of civilized disobedience


Drama | Comedy | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, language, brief nudity and some mild violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

14 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chá com Mussolini  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£123,788 (UK) (2 April 1999)


$14,348,123 (USA) (22 October 1999)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Cher; and two Oscar nominees: Joan Plowright and Lily Tomlin. See more »


The tanks the Germans ride in are, in fact, U.S. Army M4 Shermans, not German-built Panzers. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: Florence 1935.
Title Card: The love affair between the artistically-inclined English community and Florence was soon to be overshadowed by the clouds of war.
Title Card: But at the moment the sun is still shining on the squares and statues, and the dictator Mussolini is the gentleman who makes the trains run on time.
Connie Raynor: Excuse me, are you the Consul?
British Consul: Yes.
Connie Raynor: Connie Raynor of the Morning Post. I'm fascinated to know what His Majesty's Consul in Florence makes of it all?
British Consul: I can't believe your readers would be ...
See more »


Referenced in Last Man Standing: Mother Fracker (2012) See more »


Mattinata Fiorentina
Written by D'Anzi, Galdieri
Performed by Alberto Rabagliati
See more »

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User Reviews

An ode to humanity
6 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is a melodrama and you should not expect anything else. But what a melodrama! In the hands of a great director, using an eccentric story involving some eccentric people, it conveys straight to the heart how the great darkness descended upon Europe in the 1930's. It tells you that the greatest evil is the work of humans, and that the potential for evil lurks in the human soul. But, and here is the movie greatest strength, it shows you that humans possess the capacity to be human and to act human, when they heed Shakespeare's advice: "Love thyself last". All the negative comments that can be made about this or that deficiency caused me to downgrade this movie's rating from a "10" to a mere "9". Go see it. If you have kids - make sure to take them along for a great and satisfying lesson about life as it should be lived.

32 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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