The Age of Innocence is an adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1920 novel directed by Martin Scorsese. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Newland Archer, a New York lawyer in the late nineteenth century, who falls in love with his conservative fiancee's more sophisticated and worldly cousin, Ellen Olenska, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. Olenska is a scandalous figure, seeking divorce from her abusive Polish husband, who has now become an outcast in Manhattan society. Winona Ryder plays May, Newland's future bride, a seemingly innocent socialite. The film largely follows the love triangle between them and Newland's struggle between obeying social rules or defying Victorian conventions and pursuing a relationship with Olenska.
Scorsese filmed the Age of Innocence entirely on location in New York and Paris in authentic historical buildings. Only one set - an ornate ballroom - was built during production. The costumes, paintings, and set decoration in the film were made up of several direct reproductions from the time period. The large supporting cast features veteran performers such as Geraldine Chaplin, Mary Beth Hurt, Robert Sean Leonard, Richard E. Grant, and Jonathan Pryce. Joanne Woodward provides the voice-over narration, which is drawn directly from Wharton's novel.
The three leads of the film were all Scorsese's first choices for their roles. and Winona Ryder was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 1993 Academy Awards. She also won Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes and an award from the National Board of Review. The Age of Innocence was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and Scorsese went on to win the National Board of Review Award for Best Director. He dedicated the picture to his father, Charles Scorsese, who died during production. It was first released on October 1, 1993 and distributed by Columbia Pictures.