Tea with Mussolini (1999)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Taken from a chapter in the autobiography of acclaimed filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli, TEA WITH MUSSOLINI is written by British novelist and playwright John Mortimer and Zeffirelli, drawing on the latter's published memoirs. The film tells of Luca Innocenti (born out of wedlock and not officially recognized by his father) and his struggle to assert his independence and find his way into a life of art. The coming-of-age tale is also a haunting evocation of a vanished world: that of the quiet city of Florence on the brink of World War II. Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith portray the eccentric, colorful and strong-willed ladies - called the "Scorpioni" for their biting wit - who, along with a free-spirited American art collector (Cher) and archeologist (Lily Tomlin), raise the youth and fashion him, though Italian, into "a perfect British gentleman."
PG (for thematic elements, language, brief nudity and some mild violence)
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


as Elsa
Judi Dench
as Arabella
Maggie Smith
as Hester
Lily Tomlin
as Georgie
Baird Wallace
as Luca (as a teenager)
Charlie Lucas
as Luca (as a child)
Paolo Seganti
as Vittorio
Paul Checquer
as Wilfred
Claudio Spadaro
as Mussolini
Mino Bellei
as Cesare
Paul Chequer
as Wilfred
Michael Williams
as British Consul
Giselle Mathews
as Elderly Lady
Gianna Giachetti
as Signora Badaloni
Chris Larkin
as Major Gibson
Giovanni Nannini
as Sacristan
Pino Colizzi
as Dino Grandi
Jackie Basehart
as Count Bernardini
Giacomo Gonnella
as First Carabiniere
Clemente Abete
as Second Carabiniere
Roberto Farnese
as Maurizio
Allan Caister Pearce
as American Dealer
Herman Weiskopf
as German Officer
Benedetta Magini
as Giulia Meyer
Beppe Landini
as Menotti
Ferdinando Ferrini
as Professor Cassuto
Massimo Salvianti
as Leading Fascist
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Critic Reviews for Tea with Mussolini

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (7)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | July 21, 2008
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 22, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Tea with Mussolini


Three Grande Dames of the British stage and film (Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, and Joan Plowright) come together, along with Americans Cher and Lily Tomlin to power this tale of a group of British ex-pats and their brash American friends trying to preserve their way of life in Italy just before the Second World War. The acting is superb, and the story, based on actual events as remembered by the director, Franco Zeffirelli, is spellbinding. Maggie Smith can do imperious. And she does it brilliantly here. Yet she does have a tender side when the chips are down. Joan Plowright proves to be the heart and soul of the film however and more than holds her own beside the other two. The story bears a slight similarity to that of Paradise Road, but without the despair and brutality of that other story, from the Japanese theater of the war. This viewer really enjoyed this.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

What the Hell is Cher doing in this good movie?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith

Super Reviewer


True story about a group of women bonded together by their situation during World War II. Excellent cast. Beautiful scenery.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

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