There’s nothing quite like enjoying a cup of tea while watching a movie, but if you look a little closer you’ll notice that movies and tv shows actually feature tea more than you might think. 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.
As big fans of movies and tv shows, as well as tea of course, we’ve decided it would be fun to look at movies and shows that feature drinking tea, from family favorites through to popular cult classics. So, go ahead and put the kettle on, grab a blanket, and join us as we go through a list of our favorite films that feature tea.
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.
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 teabag in after a few dunks. This is a fabulous romance movie that is, of course, made all the better with a hug in a mug.
How to Make an American Quilt – 1995
In a famous scene, 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. I think we’ve all been there!
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. Well, as awkward as it might have been, there’s always tea to drink…
Suicide Squad – 2016
Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is in her prison cell, sipping tea to the tune of “You don’t own me.” Who would have thought someone so unhinged could take a few moments to enjoy a good cup of tea.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – 2015
Muriel (Maggie Smith) berates the waiter for bringing lukewarm water and a teabag, saying that the water must be boiling hot and the tea already brewed, as she’s ageing and doesn’t have time to waste.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – 2005
There’s always time for tea, even in epics! In this movie, the Pevensie siblings have tea with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, and even Mr. Tumnus too. Just goes to show that even in the movies, there’s always time to have tea before saving the world.
The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings
I guess we are a little like hobbits ourselves! In all of these great and important movies, characters are often drinking tea before heading out to save Middle Earth. Even the King himself, Aragorn lets himself enjoy a brew from time to time.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 2004
As a very British series of movies, tea often features in different scenes for good comedy and relationship building. However, our favorite scene is probably in their Divination class which just shows how magical tea can really be.
Other Mentions of Tea in the Arts
So those are just a few movie scenes where you can see tea. But, of course, tea doesn’t just feature in movies and shows, but all around us in different ways. Here are just a few examples for you to look out for!
- 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.”
Tea is all around us
You may think that we’re a little biased, but if you really do look around, tea is everywhere around. Whether you’re near cafes, visiting traditional locations or in the workplace you’ll notice just how central it is to everything we do.
This is because tea links everything together. People get together at home or at events, and every global culture has its own ceremonies. So, the next time you sit together to watch a movie or TV show, keep an eye out for a steaming mug and raise your own in a tea-loving ‘cheers’.
If you think we missed out any examples of tea in popular culture or movies, just reach out and let us know. If we get enough submissions we just might make a part 2 of this article!