63 user 38 critic

Angels and Insects (1995)

In the 1800s a naturalist marries into a family of British country gentry.


Philip Haas


A.S. Byatt (novel), Belinda Haas (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Rylance ... William Adamson
Kristin Scott Thomas ... Matty Crompton
Patsy Kensit ... Eugenia Alabaster Adamson
Jeremy Kemp ... Sir Harald Alabaster
Douglas Henshall ... Edgar Alabaster
Annette Badland ... Lady Alabaster
Chris Larkin ... Robin
Anna Massey ... Miss Mead
Saskia Wickham Saskia Wickham ... Rowena Alabaster
Lindsay Thomas Lindsay Thomas ... Lady Alabaster's Maid
Michelle Sylvester Michelle Sylvester ... Margaret Alabaster
Clare Lovell Clare Lovell ... Elaine Alabaster
Jenny Lovell Jenny Lovell ... Edith Alabaster
Oona Haas Oona Haas ... Alice Alabaster
Angus Hodder Angus Hodder ... Guy Alabaster


The movie is a study of a family of country gentry in Victorian England. William Adamson (Mark Rylance), a young scientist, is introduced into the Alabaster family by Sir Harald Alabaster (Jeremy Kemp) who is also fascinated by insects. William marries the elder daughter of the family and studies the amounts of insects in the garden of the villa. His - for the gentry - strange behaviors reveal at the same time their own failures and passions. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An Elegant Seduction. An Erotic Deception. A Stunning Revelation.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality and graphic nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


For the proposal scene,Patsy Kensit had her dress sprayed with female sex hormones in order to attract the moths. See more »


William and Matty both cast at least three shadows on the door, despite being only lit by a single candle. See more »


Matty Crompton: I wish humankind would create such altruistic virtues, but sometimes I think socialism may never be realized.
See more »


Featured in Celebrity Naked Ambition (2003) See more »

User Reviews

Mature and fascinating
18 March 2000 | by ArkaanSee all my reviews

This was thoroughly engaging and thoughtful film, with a rich and fascinating plot and characters.

The opening scene of the natives of South America dancing is a well edited opening, and the word 'Angels" appears over it. Indeed, all the Angels in this film are not in England (where the rest of the film takes place). William Adamson (Mark Rylance), a biologist who collects rare insects (especially the butterfly), survives a shipwreck and comes under the protection of an upper class English family. That's where he falls in love with Eugenia (Patsy Kensit). But every family has it's secrets.

Someone described this as "Merchant-Ivory meets Tennessee Williams", which is a perfect way to describe this film.

Several have complained about the actors, saying that there is not a single stand-out performance. I disagree, as both Rylance and Kristin Scott Thomas (in a performance worthy of an oscar nomination) acquit themselves well. The script is also very well written, and the costumes deserved the Oscar nomination.

One of the ten best of 1996.

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Release Date:

26 January 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Angels and Insects See more »


Box Office


$4,997,987 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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