A Walk in the Clouds

A Walk in the Clouds Information

A Walk in the Clouds is a 1995 American-Mexican romantic drama film directed by Alfonso Arau and starring Keanu Reeves, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Giancarlo Giannini and Anthony Quinn. It was written by Robert Mark Kamen, Mark Miller and Harvey Weitzman and is a remake of the 1942 Italian film Four Steps in the Clouds, by Piero Tellini, Cesare Zavattini, and Vittorio de Benedetti.


In 1945, United States Army Sgt. Paul Sutton returns to San Francisco to reunite with his wife Betty, whom he married — following a whirlwind courtship — the day before he departed for the Pacific. The war has left him with emotional scars, and he experiences flashbacks on a regular basis.

Paul's reunion with Betty is strained, especially after he discovers most of the letters he wrote her were set aside unopened. He is determined to make a go of the marriage however, and hopes to establish a new career for himself. Betty insists he continue to sell chocolates door-to-door, and he sets off to Sacramento. En route, he meets fellow train passenger Victoria Aragon, a Stanford University graduate student whose Mexican-American family owns a vineyard in the Napa Valley. When he learns the unmarried woman is pregnant by her professor, Paul offers to introduce himself to her very traditionalist family as her husband.

Victoria's father Alberto is infuriated, not only that she married a man below her social standing, but without his permission as well. Paul's initial plan to quietly slip away and continue on his journey, leaving Victoria's family to believe he abandoned her, is derailed when her grandfather, Don Pedro, encourages him to stay and help with the harvest. During the harvest, Paul (an orphan) grows closer to the family and learns the joys that come with their tradition, roots, and way of life. Paul and Victoria try to ignore their growing attraction and feelings for each other, but with little success. However Paul's honor prompts him to attempt to salvage his marriage and return home, but when he does he discovers his wife is involved with another man. She has applied for an annulment, to which he happily agrees, and he returns to the Aragon estate to ask Victoria to marry him.

When Paul returns, an argument with an angry and drunk Alberto leads to a disastrous fire which destroys the vineyard. However, Paul remembers one plant that may still have its roots intact, and races off to retrieve them and bring them back to the family. The disaster (as well as Paul's bravery and dedication during the fire) has brought Alberto to realize his errors, so when Paul returns with the plant, Alberto accepts him, telling Paul that this is "his family" and "his roots". The family sets out to replant and rebuild with the help of their newest member.


  • Keanu Reeves ... Sgt. Paul Sutton
  • Aitana Sánchez-Gijón ... Victoria Aragon
  • Giancarlo Giannini ... Alberto Aragon
  • Anthony Quinn ... Don Pedro Aragon
  • Angélica Aragón ... Maria Jose Aragon
  • Evangelina Elizondo ... Guadalupe Aragon
  • Freddy Rodriguez ... Pedro Aragon, Jr.
  • Debra Messing ... Betty Sutton

Critical reception

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "a glorious romantic fantasy, aflame with passion and bittersweet longing. One needs perhaps to have a little of these qualities in one's soul to respond fully to the film, which to a jaundiced eye might look like overworked melodrama, but that to me sang with innocence and trust ... At a time when movies seem obligated to be cynical, when it is easier to snicker than to sigh, what a relief this film is!"

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said, "A couple of turns of plot — including the histrionic ending — seem less magical than overwrought, but A Walk in the Clouds is for the most part a beautiful, well-acted and emotionally rich picture ... In this very warm-hearted film, Reeves' face is the movie's focus of kindness and decency — and he stands up to scrutiny. There's not just sweetness there but depth."

Hal Hinson of the Washington Post called it "a phenomenally atrocious movie — so bad, in fact, that you might actually manage to squeeze a few laughs out of it ... The film has the syrupy, Kodak magic-moment look of a Bo Derek movie, and pretty much the same level of substance."

Variety described the film as "a glossy, fairy-tale romance that's longer on wishfulness than believability" and "a modest but sharply mounted comedy/melodrama."

Awards and nominations

Maurice Jarre won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

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