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Tea With Mussolini [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Cher, Lily Tomlin
  • Directors: Franco Zeffirelli
  • Writers: Franco Zeffirelli, John Mortimer
  • Producers: Clive Parsons, Frederick Muller, Giovannella Zannoni, Marco Chimenz, Pippo Pisciotto
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • VHS Release Date: March 7, 2000
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (255 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305600953
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,321 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Florence, Italy, on the brink of WWII: it was a time of social unrest and, of course...afternoon tea. Join Oscar(r) winner* Cher and an incredible cast of leading ladies as they host this "radiant, beautiful film" (Gene Shalit, "Today Show") that is "worth savoring" (Mademoiselle).Prewar Florence is the place to be for any proper British woman who relishes culture and the arts. These ladies have everything they could ever want or needincluding a promise from dictator Mussolini himself that not even the imminent world war will impose upon their lifestyle. But when itappears that his word is not kept, and these expatriateswho chose to stay in Italy instead of seeking refuge in their own countryare in trouble, it takes a young outcast boy and a brazen American woman (Cher) to keep them in the high life and out of harm's way.

Customer Reviews

I love all the actresses--Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright, Lily Tomlin, Cher.
Paula Link
Zeffirelli fills his film with typical cinematic beauty--whether it be in the actors, the acting, the scenery, the score, it's all superb.
Billy J. Hobbs
Luca a young Italian boy copes with having no family due to being an illigitamate child in picturesque Italy during The Second World War.
"holden28"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

171 of 175 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 2000
Format: DVD
My wife insisted we watch this film - since it was not something in which I was interested (dramas and romances are not usually what I prefer to watch)I picked up a book and began reading. Within minutes, I was completely enraptured by this movie and forgot about the book. While a picture with the title TEA WITH MUSSOLINI sounds leisurely, trust me, it's not. It moves forward beautifully telling a true story of English and American women in Italy at the breakout of the war and its effect on them and the Italian child they have all raised together. This is a remarkable film (an epic in small movie disguise)with indelible performances from a perfect cast esp. Cher and Joan Plowright. Why neither they nor this film have appeared on many (if any) best of the year lists is completely mind-boggling to my wife and myself. The play is truly the thing here and director Zeffirelli has done a marvelous job telling a wonderful story (his own life)that's ultimately irristible. Filled with humor, hope and inspiration - words that usually make producers cringe these days but words that still mean the best in great moviemaking. My choice for best film of the year and one of the best of all time. A minor masterpiece. Please give it a try...I don't think you'll be disappointed if you're looking for something with great heart that has something to say about the dignity of the human spirit. Better than LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL. A gem!
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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By "holden28" on January 17, 2000
Format: DVD
The film "Tea with Mussolini" deals with complex issues in such a subtle way that it is easy to dismiss if the viewer overlooks the intriquite relationships of the characters. How the characters evolve from being self-involved (their love of the arts and formalities) to becoming caring individuals and creating bonds that overcome the heirarchies of the social class structure due to race, nationality, war and a young boy that pulls them together. Luca a young Italian boy copes with having no family due to being an illigitamate child in picturesque Italy during The Second World War. Lucas mothers death and his father's refusal to take him into his care due to a wife that would not accept him lead him to find a new family with his father's secretary (Joan Plowright) and her sociatal peers The Scorpioni (The Scorpions) named for the groups sharp wit and poisonous bite. This group takes young Luca into their privliged clique and shares in the education and introduces young Luca to The Arts which is the groups passion. Little do they know that by doing this they have began on a road to self change that will alter thier view on the world, thier friendships and detestations of others in the group. This film is a story of compassion, friendship, art, family, accepatance, change, egos, jeolousy and shows the letting go of beliefs and the opening of hearts. The cast is first rate with the likes of Cher, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright, Lily Tomlin and Judi Dench along with the perfect casting of the character Luca played by Baird Wallace (Luca: teenager) and Charlie Lucas (Luca: child) both of these fine young actors will grab the viewers heart and make him want to help with the caring of and the education of this heart grabbing character.Read more ›
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By bookloversfriend on September 15, 2006
Format: DVD
In spite of the disastrous title and the repulsive cover picture, this is the best film Zeffirelli has made since "Romeo and Juliet." It has a nice balance of atmosphere, characterization and action. The photography and scenery alone are worth the price of admission. Missing is the magnificent music that Zeffirelli usually has in his films. Contrary to the amazon reviewer, the film is quite focused and carries with it a tension, although the tension is deliberately kept from becoming oppressive. The path of the story is not at all "predictable" with several surprising turns. There are a few laughs in the beginning, but this is a serious film.

I went back to Zeffirelli's Autobiography to re-read the passages dealing with the scorpioni. They were real, of course, but apparently this story is fictional, as are all the characters except Mary Wallace. Zeffirelli put some incidents from his own life into the movie, and the actor who played Luca bears a striking resemblance to the young Zeffirelli, but that is all. Zeffirelli was illegitimate. He lived with his mother the first few years until she died. He was then brought up by a cousin. He was accosted by his father's wife, and his father did put him to study English with one of the old English ladies of Florence, Mary O'Neill, who was fond of playing the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet with him. But when the scorpioni were rounded up and shipped out of Florence, Zeffirelli says (p. 24) that he never saw Mary O'Neill again. He hid out in the mountains to avoid the draft and headed south, finally meeting up with the Allied front lines. The encounter with them in the movie is more or less like the book.

I would like to have seen a little more of the scorpioni before the war hit, but I'm sure I'll be watching this movie again and again.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
What? No Oscars? It was a crime. TWM is so much more than a wonderful movie! I eagerly awaited its release, and when it flew through the theaters then disappeared, I decided I'd been saved from a dreadful error. But when my husband insistently rented the video, I was utterly mesmerized. This is absolutely the best film I have seen in years, and it proves yet again that Cher is a far better actress than a singer. And Joan Plowright -- always an exquisite treasure. Don't rent--BUY this movie. You will never regret it. You will want your children to see it.
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