A tale of nineteenth-century New York high society in which a young lawyer falls in love with a woman separated from her husband, while he is engaged to the woman's cousin.

Director:

Martin Scorsese

Writers:

Edith Wharton (novel), Jay Cocks (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,895 ( 190)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Day-Lewis ... Newland Archer
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Ellen Olenska
Winona Ryder ... May Welland
Linda Faye Farkas Linda Faye Farkas ... Female Opera Singer
Michael Rees Davis Michael Rees Davis ... Male Opera Singer
Terry Cook Terry Cook ... Male Opera Singer
Jon Garrison Jon Garrison ... Male Opera Singer
Richard E. Grant ... Larry Lefferts
Alec McCowen ... Sillerton Jackson
Geraldine Chaplin ... Mrs. Welland
Mary Beth Hurt ... Regina Beaufort
Stuart Wilson ... Julius Beaufort
Howard Erskine Howard Erskine ... Beaufort Guest
John McLoughlin John McLoughlin ... Party Guest
Christopher Nilsson Christopher Nilsson ... Party Guest
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Storyline

Society scion Newland Archer is engaged to May Welland, but his well-ordered life is upset when he meets May's unconventional cousin, the Countess Olenska. At first, Newland becomes a defender of the Countess, whose separation from her abusive husband makes her a social outcast in the restrictive high society of late-19th Century New York, but he finds in her a kindred spirit and they fall in love. Written by Marg Baskin <marg@asd.raytheon.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In a world of tradition. In an age of innocence. They dared to break the rules.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and some mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #913. See more »

Goofs

When the grandmother tells Newland and May that a marble likeness of her hands was sculpted by a famous artist, she says the name of the artist, but her lips look as though they've said something completely different. See more »

Quotes

Ellen Olenska: May I tell you what most interests me about New York; not all the blind obeying of traditions, somebody else's traditions; it seems stupid to have discovered America only to make it a copy of another country. Do you suppose Christopher Columbus would have taken all that trouble just to go to the opera with Larry Lefferts?
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Crazy Credits

The Columbia logo turns sepia to look like a 19th-century photograph. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Martin Scorsese, l'émotion par la musique (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Radetzky March
Written by Johann Strauss Sr. (as Johann Strauss I)
Performed by Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin (as The Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Markets
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User Reviews

 
Scorsese's Ignored Masterpiece
14 November 2003 | by sundog1See all my reviews

I actually saw this movie when it was released in 1993, and honestly it was pretty dull then. Of course I was 22, and the workings of that late-1800's New York society really didn't make much sense or have much relevance.

I think the film may have been ignored at its release because of the slew of other "period pieces" which were so popular (an eventually common) in the late 80's/early 90's... But watching it again 10 years later, this film is anything but common.

The true intensity is Scorcese's detached presentation of a hypocritical & hateful society which holds its members as prisoners.

Not to mention impeccable art direction & beautiful cinematography by the legendary Michael Ballhaus. The film looks as impressionistic as the paintings that line the walls of the characters' homes.

Scorsese is always acute in his casting decisions, and this is one of the films many virtues:

Lewis is perfect as a man who's struggle between his passion & his duty are constantly on the verge of devouring him (yet somehow he thrives on his torture).

Ryder is the seemingly innocent & naive girl who is completely manipulative & cunning underneath her exterior (gee, who would have thought?!) -- notice the arching scene.

In a sense, this was one of Pfeiffer's defining roles. Pfeiffer herself (in a sense) is an "outcast" who has never truly been accepted as a "serious" actress by her peers in the acting community. Watching this film again, it amazes me how this role somehow reflects her personal position in the current social structure of Hollywood, similar to her character existing in 1800's New York society.

Wow...

What an amazing pic. I completely "missed it" the first time around. Great observance of "high society." Many of those codes are strangely applicable today.

Not recommended for those who like fast paced movies, or those who are looking for the "usual Scorcese." I would couple this with "Last Temptation of Christ" as Scorsese's most brave, artistic, demanding & abstract films to date.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | French

Release Date:

1 October 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Age of Innocence See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$34,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,317,289, 19 September 1993

Gross USA:

$32,255,440

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$32,255,440
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo | SDDS (8 channels)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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