Rent The Age of Innocence (1993)

3.5 of 5 from 204 ratings
2h 13min
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A ravishing romance about three wealthy New Yorkers caught in a tragic love triangle, The Age Of Innocence chronicles the grandeur and hypocrisy of high society in the 1880's. Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is an upstanding lawyer who secretly longs for a more passionate life. Engaged to the lovely but ordinary socialite May Welland (Winona Ryder), Newland resigns himself to a life of quiet complacency. But when May's unconventional cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer) returns to New York amid social and sexual scandal, Newland becomes captivated by her mysterious authority and outstanding beauty.
Now he must choose between May and the world he knows, and Ellen and the world he dreams of having.
, , , Linda Faye Farkas, Michael Rees Davis, , Jon Garrison, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Barbara de Fina
Narrated By:
Joanne Woodward
Edith Wharton, Jay Cocks, Martin Scorsese
Gabriella Pescucci, Dante Ferretti, Michael Ballhaus, Elmer Bernstein, Robert J. Franco, Miriam Margolyes
Columbia Tristar
Drama, Romance
Getting to Know Michelle Pfeiffer, The Instant Expert's Guide, The Instant Expert's Guide to Martin Scorsese

1994 BAFTA Best Supporting Actress

1994 Oscar Best Costume Design

Release Date:
Run Time:
133 minutes
English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 3.0, German Dolby Digital 3.0, Italian Dolby Digital 3.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 3.0
Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.35:1
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Filmographies
  • Interactive Menu
Release Date:
Run Time:
138 minutes
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English Hard of Hearing
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.40:1
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • New interviews with Scorsese, co-screenwriter Jay Cocks, production designer Dante Ferretti, and costume designer Gabriella Pescucci
  • 'Innocence and Experience', a 1993 documentary on the making of the film
  • Trailer

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Reviews (4) of The Age of Innocence

Sumptuously photographed - but boring - The Age of Innocence review by RP

Spoiler Alert

I have heard that Martin Scorsese rates this as his best film. Hmmm...

It is beautifully – even sumptuously - photographed and as a costume drama the costumes are, well, magnificent. But I found it unsatisfying and (I hate to say it) boring. Set in 1870s New York among the fashion and social conscious high society of the day it tells the story of a young lawyer (Daniel Day Lewis) engaged to be married to a young woman (Winona Ryder) but who is tempted by another (Michelle Pfeiffer). I say tempted, because that's as far as it gets – because trapped in a spiders-web of manipulative society matrons, the delicious and interesting 'other woman' is manoeuvred back to Europe. Err, that's it. If you like costume dramas, try this one – it may be for you. It wasn't for me. I'll give it 3/5 stars.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Pride & Prejudice on the East Coast of the USA in the 1870s - The Age of Innocence review by Philip in Paradiso

Spoiler Alert

The story takes place in 1870s New York City and other places along the East Coast of the USA. There are 3 key characters. The 1st one is a gentleman lawyer, Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis); the 2nd is the highly respectable and very pretty May Welland (Winona Ryder), who comes from a good family of the East Coast upper class, like Newland Archer: Newland is due to marry her and they are in love. The 3rd key character is May's cousin, an American heiress known as Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer). She has returned to New York from abroad, after a failed and, according to some, scandalous marriage to a Polish aristocrat. Newland Archer is caught between the 2 women. Which one is he going to choose? This is, in essence, what the film is about.

The story is, to a large extent and unusually for a film about America, about the class system in the USA. As the film shows, there is - or there was - what a British audience would very easily recognise as a fairly rigid class system in place at the time: social stratification, status, etiquette, propriety, snobbishness, arranged (or semi-arranged) marriages, etc. - all these elements are present in the film, as it depicts the East Coast élite in the late 19th century. The atmosphere in the privileged milieu central to the movie is rendered very well - stifling, controlled, controlling and claustrophobic. Those Americans are more Victorian than the Victorians: it is 'Downton Abbey' in New York City before 1900. In fact, the story made me think of Balzac's novels as well as of 'Pride and Prejudice', by Jane Austen. It is as if Western Europe had been transplanted over to North America... The rigid social norms that are in place create huge tensions within the characters' lives, when love and lust erupt, upsetting the established social order, while forcing individuals to choose between their happiness and their duty to society, to their social class and to their family.

On many levels, the film is very good. The dialogues are witty, sharp, perceptive and amusing. The costumes and settings are simply sumptuous, and both Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder radiate beauty. The only problem is that the pace of the story is deliberative, descriptive and demonstrative - not quite laborious (this would be unfair) but slow. Not so much happens, in fact. This has to do with the nature of the story and the characters, to a large extent: a lot is left unsaid. But, as a result, there is something stilted and perhaps even frustrating about the film. This is, maybe, deliberate.

If you like period films and romantic intrigues, you will enjoy the movie thoroughly, even though it may not quite be the masterpiece it is obviously trying to be, and many critics have claimed it is.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Incredibly boring - The Age of Innocence review by Alain

Spoiler Alert

We couldn't bear more than about 40 minutes of this. The acting was poor, the plot very bland and the topic extremely dull. If you enjoy period dramas about rich people going to the opera and dinners then obviously you will feel differently about watching this. But I have to say it wasn't for us.

0 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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