Guarding Tess

6.21 h 35 min1994X-RayPG-13
Shirley MacLaine and Nicolas Cage star in this cantankerous comedy about a former First Lady and her reluctant bodyguard.
Hugh Wilson
Hugh WilsonNicolas CageShirley MacLaine
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Austin PendletonEdward AlbertJames RedhornRichard Griffiths
Ned TanenNancy Tanen
TriStar Pictures
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesmokingviolence
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4.8 out of 5 stars

2126 global ratings

  1. 84% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

MollyReviewed in the United States on August 24, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Who's Really in charge here? Grumpy Ex first lady MacClain is fun~ 5 stars~
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Plot: Secret Service Agent Doug get the worst person to guard....the former first lady.

Shirley MacLaine is Tess Carlisle the former first lady of the USA~ she is pampered and stubborn. Her Secret Agent in Charge is Doug Chesnick (NICOLAS GAGE) as the downtrodden Agent who is seeing his career in a pothole guarding Tess. A battle of wills is there from the start. Tess wants things her her way or else and she is not above calling the current President to get her way. The battle of wills continues when Tess is kidnapped and the Secret Service and Doug pull out all the stops to get her back. MacClaine is excellent as the always a lady Tess. Gage is funny and at times pitiful as the bored man who wants to be at the White House not just "guarding Tess". 5 STARS~
11 people found this helpful
Goth Gone GreyReviewed in the United States on September 14, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Classic Cage and MacLaine
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Remember back years ago when movies would move a bit slower, and show things like character development, or sometimes start a character (or two!) off as cranky, just to slowly peel back the layers of the onion?

Guarding Tess remembers.

As the movie opens a quirky, salty former First Lady, Tess, and her favorite Secret Service agent, Doug, have a mutually antagonistic relationship, though she clearly holds the upper hand. As the movie plays out, we learn more about her, but very little about him. He, and most of the other agents, feel it's a boring assignment and wish they were where the action is, protecting the current President.

The story plays out well, showing Doug's compassion at a difficult time reciprocated by Tess wanting him around. Nice point and counterpoint.
12 people found this helpful
DavidGReviewed in the United States on October 7, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
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A toxic, abusive person demeans, degrades, ridicules, and harasses those she has power over. I'm sure that at some point in the movie she will somehow be redeemed, turning out as a loving and caring person. No thanks. I've known enough toxic, abusive bullies in real life that I don't want to watch one as "entertainment".
10 people found this helpful
david dietrichReviewed in the United States on April 3, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great Chemistry
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I love this movie Great Chemistry between two great actors.. These two people seem to really dislike each other. They really care greatly about each other. There is a kind of power struggle between a former first lady and a by the books Secret Service agent. This movie is intense and comical. Charming well made movie.
17 people found this helpful
LynnReviewed in the United States on October 3, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Really enjoyed this movie. I miss films where relationships are cultivated and matter.
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Really enjoyed this movie. I miss films where relationships are cultivated and matter. The relationship between Tess (Shirley MacLaine) and Doug (Nicholas Cage--one of my favorite drama actors--watch The Family Man--great!), goes from disdain and bitterness to a mother/son finale that left me in tears. And there are a lot of famous actors in this show, even though we've all aged quite a bit in the last 26 years. David Graf (Police Academy), Harry Lennix and Susan Blommaert (both from The Blacklist), and others I'm sure you'll recognize. Just a very sweet way to spend a couple of hours.
7 people found this helpful
Andy McKinneyReviewed in the United States on October 6, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Catch it on Amazon Prime Video
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Writer/director Hugh Wilson did a bang-up job here. We find ourselves emphasizing with the tired old first lady (Shirley MacLaine) who just wants some peace, a space in her life to exist just as Tess and not as the former first lady in her cacoon of security and ritual. But she also just torques us off when she exhibits her domineering side, careless of the feelings of others.
Shirley MacLaine produces one of her best roles in a long list of great roles. She presents the subtleties of her character magnificently well. A brilliant acting job on her part.
Also appearing is Nick Cage as the hard-pressed Secret Service agent who guards her and Austin Pendleton as her driver. Pendelton is familiar to us from some 149 movie and TV roles.
This movie has us at one moment charmed and the next exasperated.
Movie lovers, people who love the art form, will enjoy this as much as I did.
5 people found this helpful
ChrisSherrillReviewed in the United States on September 17, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Three and one-half
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“Guarding Tess" is okay. The production values are high, as you’d expect considering the cast. The story is mostly predictable, but there are some impossible scenes and scenarios. There would be hell to pay if a real Secret Service agent discharged his firearm inside a hospital, and the agency would be out millions of dollars in compensation to the injured man’s family. Secondly, no copter pilot carrying a patient with certain but unknown injuries would stop and backtrack to pick up the lady’s protection team, ex-first lady or no. The dialog is okay. I am not a big fan of Nicholas Cage, but it was typical Nicholas Cage. If you like him, that’s a positive thing to say. I am a fan of Shirley MacLaine’s acting, and this was okay but not her best work. It’s not a terrible way to spend a couple of hours.
One person found this helpful
UncommonSenseSCReviewed in the United States on October 22, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful, Funny Movie
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What a combination of Shirley MacLaine and Nicolas Cage! This movie was one of those where you know how it's going to wind up (well, sort of) but how all the characters interact is so charming, so funny and so quirky that you'll wonder why you didn't watch this movie before now. I needed a feel-good, funny movie this morning and Guarding Tess certainly delivered.
2 people found this helpful
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