American Friends

American Friends is a 1991 British film starring Michael Palin. It was written by Palin and its director, Tristram Powell.


Palin plays Francis Ashby, a senior Oxford professor on holiday in the Swiss Alps in 1861. There he meets the American Caroline Hartley (Connie Booth) and her 18-year-old ward Elinor (Trini Alvarado). Ashby is drawn to them both, particularly Elinor, but is rather surprised when they arrive in Oxford and rent a house. Women are not allowed in the college, nor are fellows allowed to marry, which puts him in an embarrassing situation. Ashby's rival for the post of college president, Oliver Syme (Alfred Molina), takes full advantage of this to try to discredit Ashby.

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    contentLocation Oxford
    director Tristram Powell
    editor George Akers
    genre comedy
    keywords alfred molina college president embarrass fellow swiss alps university of oxford ward
    musicBy Georges Delerue
    producer Patrick Cassavetti Steve Abbott
    productionCompany BBC
    publisher Palace Pictures