09 20 Oct '24
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Franco Zeffirelli

Tea with Mussolini

117' - 1999 - War, Drama, Comedy - Dialogue: Italian, English
Director: Franco Zeffirelli Composer: Stefano Arnaldi, Alessio Vlad With: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright
A group of eccentric elderly English women live in Italy on the eve of and during World War II. The women, nicknamed “scorpioni” by the locals on account of their sharp tongues and mordant wit, are led by a diplomat’s widow -Lady Hester Random. Into the midst of this charmed world of friends, who meet for tea nearly every day, Elsa arrives. Elsa, a flamboyant American show dancer who married into money several times, embodies everything Lady Hester despises. Gradually, the social atmosphere in Italy changes and the position of the English ladies begins to look precarious. Lady Hester, seeking reassurance after witnessing some disorder in the streets, manages to wangle a tea date with Il Duce.

Image gallery

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Franco Zeffirelli


Stefano Arnaldi, Alessio Vlad


Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright


Franco Zeffirelli, John Mortimer

Director of Photography

David Watkin


Tariq Anwar


Frederick Muller, Clive Parsons, Riccardo Tozzi, Giovannella Zannoni

More information


Italian, English

Countries of production

Italy, United Kingdom



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