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American Friends Photos

Movie Info

Francis Ashby (Michael Palin) is a Victorian-era Oxford instructor who takes a trip to Switzerland, where he befriends vacationing American Caroline Hartley (Connie Booth) and her teenage daughter, Elinor (Trini Alvarado). Both women are romantically interested in Francis, and when he returns to campus, the Hartleys follow him back and move into a nearby home to pursue him. Unfortunately, university professors are forbidden to marry, and Francis must choose between love and his career.

Cast & Crew

Michael Palin
Rev. Francis Ashby
Connie Booth
Miss Caroline Hartley
Trini Alvarado
Elinor Hartley
Alfred Molina
Oliver Syme
Simon James
Anderson
Robert Eddison
William Granger Rushden--College President
Sheila Reid
Mrs. Weeks
Georges Delerue
Original Music
George Akers
Film Editor
Andrew McAlpine
Production Design
Chris Townsend
Art Direction
Bob Ringwood
Costume Designer
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Critic Reviews for American Friends

All Critics (4) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for American Friends

  • Jul 15, 2009
    Depending on your degree of cynicism, you could call "American Friends" a sweet, pastoral romance or just an arthouse rehash of the "Grease" plot (two lovers meet on vacation but have problems when back in their usual circles). Most people (including me) will seek out this film because Monty Python's Michael Palin is the star and co-writer. The script is based on his own great-grandfather's experiences. But don't be fooled -- despite the presence of Palin and Connie Booth ("Fawlty Towers"), "American Friends" has few, if any, laughs. Yet both actors are quite solid in these dramatic roles. The setting is Victorian times, the era of polite repression and woolly sideburns. Palin is Reverend Francis Ashby, an Oxford administrator poised to take over the university from its dying, elderly chancellor. All is well until he visits the Swiss Alps and meets pretty Elinor (Trini Alvarado) and her spinster aunt (Booth). Realizing he could violate his school's ferocious moral code, he ducks out early and returns home. But when Elinor and Caroline unexpectedly turn up at Oxford, his feelings resurface and a scandal threatens. The cast also features Alfred Molina as Ashby's devious rival, along with many other actors faced with temporary shaving issues. "American Friends" looks wonderful with its sparkling sunlight, mountain scenery and Oxford's stately architecture. But the story is too mild, and the age difference between the leads is awkward. Palin is 24 years older than Alvarado, and the gap between their characters is even wider. We're supposed to root for their love, but this is difficult when Francis is in his late forties and ingenue Elinor seems barely legal.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 26, 2008
    <i>''We will achieve nothing as a species if we cannot adapt.'' </i> Francis Ashby, a senior Oxford don on holiday alone in the Alps, meets holidaying American Caroline and her companion Elinor, the blossoming Irish-American girl she adopted many years before. Ashby finds he enjoys their company together, particularly that of Elinor, and both the women are drawn to him. Back at Oxford he is nevertheless taken aback when they arrive unannounced. Women are not allowed in the College grounds, let alone the rooms. Indeed any liaison, however innocent, is frowned on. <b>Michael Palin</b>: Reverend Francis Ashby <b>Alfred Molina</b>: Oliver Syme <b>Susan Denaker</b>: Mrs. Cantrell <i>American Friends</i> is a movie that tells of a bygone era that isn't as long as it seems. The difference in social ideals compared today is always fascinating. Michael Palin has proven before he is more than a comedian from seeing <i>Brazil</i> to a <i>Fish Called Wanda</i>. <i>American Friends</i> is also an example indeed. Loved the scientific side of life in the lectures. Alfred Molina gives a varied performance even having a scruffy beard to boot. On a whole the film does have a feel of being something of TV standing as opposed to something of grandeur in filming. Granted I'm an Englishman that enjoys his period flicks and loves history so it gains more prestige with me for its wonderful costumes and quaint locations. A simple tale of love which i admit has been done before. A good effort. <CENTER><i>Education in love</i></CENTER>
    Alexander C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 09, 2007
    Average period drama
    Ross C Super Reviewer

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