Countless life experiences have been portrayed in the movies and for many of us, we’ve learned about cultures and customs that we might’ve otherwise not have been exposed to.
With the humble cup of tea, the idea of pausing to relax and unwind has been depicted in a variety of ways, whether in a traditional British sense, as iced tea in the Southern states of the U.S. or in fanciful stories where tea is featured as a magical drink or a highly stylized ritual.
If you’re so inclined, prepare a nice brew and settle in to discover how tea has been profiled in the movies.
- Movie Scenes That Feature Tea
- 10. You’ve Got Mail – 1998
- 9. How to Make an American Quilt – 1995
- 8. The Great Gatsby – 2013
- 7. Suicide Squad – 2016
- 6. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – 2015
- 5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – 2005
- 4. Alice in Wonderland – 2010
- 3. The Great Escape – 1963
- 2. Mary Poppins – 1964
- 1. Mona Lisa – 1986
- Other Mentions of Tea in the Arts
Movie Scenes That Feature Tea
Along with notable British tv shows that usually portray the proper way to enjoy tea, there have been many scenes in a wide variety of movies where tea features as either a part of the plot or simply as an accompaniment to the character’s stories.
10. You’ve Got Mail – 1998
Kathleen (Meg Ryan) is sick and Joe (Tom Hanks) brings her a cup of tea, after pouring water from the whistling kettle into a cup, leaving the tea bag in after a few dunks.
9. How to Make an American Quilt – 1995
Glady (Anne Bancroft) complains about the iced tea being too sweet and she bickers with Hy (Ellen Burstyn) telling her that she always puts too much sugar in it.
8. The Great Gatsby – 2013
Jay (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Daisy (Carey Mulligan) share an awkward scene where they are reacquainted in a room full of flowers and are served tea with a beautiful tea service.
7. Suicide Squad – 2016
Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is in her prison cell, sipping tea to the tune of “You don’t own me.”
6. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – 2015
Muriel (Maggie Smith) berates the waiter for bringing lukewarm water and a tea bag, saying that the water must be boiling hot and the tea already brewed, as she’s ageing and doesn’t have time to waste. Can you get sick from tea? If it’s not made your specs, Muriel shows that it can certainly make you feel unwell.
5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – 2005
Arthur (Martin Freeman) is having a bad day, what with the Earth being destroyed and being flung into a bizarre series of events, so when he finally gets a cup of tea he states (hopefully) that it will restore normality.
4. Alice in Wonderland – 2010
Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is dragged to the Mad Hatter’s (Johnny Depp) tea party, where the nutty characters continue to confound Alice with their strange riddles and crazy behavior.
3. The Great Escape – 1963
Colin (Donald Pleasance) complains about the tea, “I’m afraid this tea’s pathetic. I must have used these wretched leaves about 20 times. It’s not that I mind so much. Tea without milk is so uncivilized.” Colin might not be a huge fan of the best organic herbal teas, but it’s a reminder that everyone enjoys tea in their own way.
2. Mary Poppins – 1964
Mary Poppins’ (Julie Andrews) employer talks about the tea being dumped into the harbor, making it unsuitable for drinking – even for Americans. When Mary Poppins sings “A Spoonful of Sugar” she says that it changes bread and water into tea and cakes.
1. Mona Lisa – 1986
The waiter asks George (Bob Hoskins) what he would like and when he says “Tea” the waiter then asks “Earl Grey or Lapsang Souchong?” George replies, “No, tea.”
Other Mentions of Tea in the Arts
- In Monty Pythons’ Flying Circus, they had a sketch called “Hell’s Grannies” where the cast dressed as a surly gang of old women, wearing leather jackets with the words “Make tea not war” emblazoned on the back.
- Elastica’s song “Waking Up” advises to “Make a cup of tea and put a record on.”
- On the Star Ship “Enterprise”, Captain Jean Luc Picard orders, “Computer: Tea, Earl Grey, Hot.”
- A Japanese Proverb states, “If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.”
- In Portugal, Yerba Mate tea plays a big role in the culture for many people, and many celebrities and notable people all around the world have been seen sipping the best yerba mate they can get their hands on.
- In The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, he tells us that “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
If you pay close attention, the subject of tea crops up in many movies, tv shows and other references in the arts.
Tea is so much more than just a beverage, linking people and events in a variety of different ways, portrayed and preserved for posterity so that future generations can appreciate how important it is to all serious tea sippers.