The Age of Innocence (1993) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Age of Innocence1993

The Age of Innocence (1993)



Critic Consensus: Equal measures romantic and wistful, Martin Scorsese's elegant adaptation of The Age of Innocence is a triumphant exercise in both stylistic and thematic restraint.

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Movie Info

A ravishing romance about three wealthy New Yorkers caught in a tragic love triangle, the ironically-titled story chronicles the grandeur and hypocrisy of high society in the 1870s. At the center of the film is Newland Archer (Day-Lewis), an upstanding attorney who secretly longs for a more passionate life. Engaged to the lovely but ordinary socialite May Welland (Ryder), Newland resigns himself to a life of quiet complacency. But when May's unconventional cousin returns to New York amid social and sexual scandal, Newland risks everything for a chance at true love.

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Daniel Day-Lewis
as Newland Archer
Michelle Pfeiffer
as Ellen Olenska
Winona Ryder
as May Welland
Richard E. Grant
as Larry Lefferts
Alec McCowen
as Sillerton Jackson
Geraldine Chaplin
as Mrs. Welland
Mary Beth Hurt
as Regina Beaufort
Stuart Wilson
as Julius Beaufort
Miriam Margolyes
as Mrs. Mingott
Sian Phillips
as Mrs. Archer
Alexis Smith
as Mrs. Van der Luyden
Michael Gough
as Mr. Van der Luyden
Carolyn Farina
as Janey Archer
Tracey Ellis
as Gertrude Lefferts
Norman Lloyd
as Mr. Letterblair
Linda Faye Farkas
as Female Opera Singer
Michael Rees Davis
as Male Opera Singer
Terry L. Cook
as Male Opera Singer
Jon Garrison
as Male Opera Singer
Howard Erskine
as Beaufort Guest
John McLoughlin
as Party Guest
Kevin Sanders
as The Duke
as Dog
W.B. Brydon
as Mr. Urban Dagonet
Cristina Pronzati
as Countess Olenska's Maid
Cindy Katz
as Stage Actress
June Squibb
as Mingott Maid
Mac Orange
as Archer Maid
Thomas Gibson
as Stage Actor
Thomas Barbour
as Archer Guest
Patricia Dunnock
as Mary Archer
Martin Scorsese
as Photographer
Joanne Woodward
as Narrator, the narrator
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Critic Reviews for The Age of Innocence

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (17)

A consistent spellbinder, laying bare its inhabitants' follies and furies with a tender touch and a vigilant quietude that accumulates into a grand force.

August 7, 2018 | Full Review…

Following Wharton's example, Scorsese accepts The Age of Innocence's flamboyantly wealthy and corrupt characters as they are without indulging in fashionably retrospective editorializing.

August 4, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

I don't know any of those [prior] versions, and I wonder how (which means I doubt that) they avoided the snare that Wharton unwittingly set for her adapters, the snare that, for all his gifts, caught Scorsese.

June 19, 2013 | Full Review…

Day-Lewis and Pfeifer are on top form with Ryder giving the performance of her career.

February 1, 2010 | Rating: 5/5

Manages to be both personal and true to its source, though it never quite comes together.

February 1, 2010 | Full Review…

An extraordinarily sumptuous piece of filmmaking.

September 22, 2008

Audience Reviews for The Age of Innocence


A well-acted, if occasionally boring and long-winded study of 19th century New York and how a young upper-class man (Daniel Day-Lewis) slowly begins to detach himself from his wife (Winona Ryder) in hopes of starting a relationship with her cousin (Michelle Pfeiffer). If not for Day-Lewis's convincing, arresting turn as a man deeply troubled by what he should do and what he truly feels, this movie would probably be lost on me. Instead, it is quite good, in addition to Scorsese's firm direction which includes some original camera tricks to spice up the story every once in a while. It goes on a little too long, and sometimes you question if you should even be caring about these snobby upper-class people. However, the characters are given the proper color and depth they need, in addition to the plot being able to keep the story going in the second half, when you do not know what Day-Lewis's character will decide to do. The end result is a fine film, a minor entry into Scorsese's resume, and one of the few chances audiences around the world get to see the brilliance that is the actor Daniel Day-Lewis.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Of course, this film doesn't allow for the usual Scorsese violence, but coming from him, I expected something a little more...intense. The look of this movie is amazing, with its gorgeous cinematography, it's as if you are watching a 2-hour long painting. But, apart from the aesthetic aspect, it also resembles a painting in the fact that nothing happens. Sadly, The Age of Innocence is terribly boring. I never thought I'd see Daniel Day-Lewis in such a plain role, he did what he could with what he was given. Winona Ryder was good in her own, puppy-like way. The film's best was Michelle Pfeiffer. Her performance was flawed, but she was the one who kept your interest alive. Loved the narrator. Martin Scorsese should stick to what he does best: blood.

Fernando Rafael Quintero Castañeda
Fernando Rafael Quintero Castañeda

Super Reviewer

I'm okay with the movie because I liked the book. The direction is a bit odd. It seems like Marty Scorsese toned down his usual flashy cool to fit a staid period piece - the quick cuts to the food, the letters read to the camera.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

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