6.9/10
9,851
159 user 65 critic

Tea with Mussolini (1999)

PG | | Drama, Comedy, War | 14 May 1999 (USA)
An orphaned Italian boy is raised among a circle of British and American women living in Mussolini's Italy before and during the Second World War.

Director:

Writers:

, (autobiography)

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two sisters befriend a mysterious foreigner who washes up on the beach of their 1930's Cornish seaside village.

Director: Charles Dance
Stars: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Daniel Brühl
My House in Umbria (TV Movie 2003)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An unlikely group of people find solace and friendship after being thrown together in the wake of a terrorist attack.

Director: Richard Loncraine
Stars: Maggie Smith, Ronnie Barker, Chris Cooper
Faithful (1996)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A depressed housewife whose husband is having an affair contemplates suicide, but changes her mind when she faces death by a killer hired to do her in.

Director: Paul Mazursky
Stars: Cher, Chazz Palminteri, Ryan O'Neal
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Laura Henderson buys an old London theater and opens it up as the Windmill, a performance hall which goes down in history for, among other things, its all-nude revues.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, Christopher Guest
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The last days of legendary opera singer Maria Callas.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Stars: Fanny Ardant, Jeremy Irons, Joan Plowright
Quartet (2012)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.

Director: Dustin Hoffman
Stars: Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly
Mrs Brown (1997)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When Queen Victoria's husband dies, she finds solace in her trusted servant, Mr. Brown, but their relationship also brings scandal and turmoil.

Director: John Madden
Stars: Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Geoffrey Palmer
If These Walls Could Talk (TV Movie 1996)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The movie examines the abortion issue through three stories set in different eras: 1952, 1974 and 1996.

Directors: Cher, Nancy Savoca
Stars: Demi Moore, Shirley Knight, Catherine Keener
Zeffirelli's Inferno (Video 2017)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

This slow-paced gem is about the civilizing influence of Italy on beleaguered Londoners both male and female and has its own civilizing influence on the viewer. It's almost like taking a ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Newell
Stars: Alfred Molina, Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than advertised, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.

Director: John Madden
Stars: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A bachelor afraid of marriage angers his long-time girlfriend by buying a splendid townhouse just for himself, only to find it haunted by the ghosts of a famous theatrical couple, who teach... See full summary »

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: James Spader, Polly Walker, Michael Caine
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Baird Wallace ...
Charlie Lucas ...
Luca (Child)
Massimo Ghini ...
Paolo Guarnieri
...
Vittorio Fanfanni
Claudio Spadaro ...
Mussolini
Mino Bellei ...
Cesare
...
Wilfred Random, aka Miss Lucy
Tessa Pritchard ...
...
Paula Jacobs ...
Molly
Edit

Storyline

In 1935 a group of elderly British women, whom 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... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of civilized disobedience

Genres:

Drama | Comedy | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chá com Mussolini  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£123,788 (United Kingdom), 4 April 1999, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,633,183, 16 May 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$14,348,123, 24 October 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Vanessa Redgrave and Angela Lansbury were first considered for the roles of Lady Hester and Mary, but due their schedule problems they were replaced by Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. See more »

Goofs

The ladies protect the frescoes by building a wall around them using sandbags. But the bags are obviously filled with something light and fluffy, such as kapok or cotton. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Roseanne Show: Episode #1.8 (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Creole Clarinet
Written & Performed by Keith Nicholls
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Acting is Amazingly Good in Intriguing Tale

This film is directed and co-authored by Franco Zeffirelli, and I couldn't resist speculating on how much of it was actually true, since it is said to be based on Zeffirelli's autobiography. However, true in part, true completely, in the end it doesn't really matter. What matters is the amazing ensemble acting by Maggie Smith, Cher, Joan Plowwright, Judi Dench and Lily Tomlin (listing them in the order of significance to the story) and the stunning beauty of Florence where the film is set. The director and photographer plainly love the city, matching the love for it of the characters. Maggie Smith as the widow of a former British ambassador, the character that actually has tea with Mussolini, is the dominant figure in the film. However, Cher, playing a wealthy American -- vulgar in the eyes of he British ladies -- who turns out to be a complex, philanthropic Jew who must be smuggled out of the country in the end; Joan Plowwright as a kind lady who takes in the bastard son of an Italian businessman and teaches him to be an English gentleman; Judi Dench as an eccentric artist whose passion is to preserve a renaissance fresco from the Nazis during the war, and Lily Tomlin as a lesbian American archaeologist all deliver sterling performances. Cher's performance is the most amazing -- she holds her own in formidable company -- but one expects, of course, to be dazzled by Maggie Smith, Joan Plowwright, Judi Dench and even by Lily Tomlin. It's a sentimental, even melodramatic, tale, but see it for the ensemble acting. I can't think of another film that equals Tea with Mussolini in that respect.


14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 159 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page