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Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  8 February 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 15,866 users  
Reviews: 123 user | 28 critic

Two minor characters from the play, "Hamlet" stumble around unaware of their scripted lives and unable to deviate from them.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Livio Badurina ...
Tomislav Maretic ...
Mare Mlacnik ...
Serge Soric ...
Tragedian (as Srdjan Soric)
Mladen Vasary ...
Zeljko Vukmirica ...
Branko Zavrsan ...
Joanna Roth ...
Ljubo Zecevic ...


Showing events from the point of view of two minor characters from Hamlet, men who have no control over their destiny, this film examines fate and asks if we can ever really know what's going on? Are answers as important as the questions? Will Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (or Guildenstern and Rosencrantz) manage to discover the source of Hamlet's malaise as requested by the new king? Will the mysterious players who are strolling around the castle reveal the secrets they evidently know? And whose serve is it? Written by Mark Thompson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

8 February 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eles Morreram  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$739,104 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The pieces of paper blowing around throughout the course of the movie are actually the pages of the Roman Missal, (Specifically page 103 of "Missale Romanum, ex decreto S. S. Concili Tridentini restitutum, Pii V ed" otherwise known as "Roman Missal, restored by a decree of the Holy Council of Trent, 5th edition) as can be seen in Latin on the close-up of Rosencrantz's apple pinwheel during scene 6 of the film "Excellent Good Friends" See more »


Throughout the movie there are scenes where day suddenly changes to night and vice versa. This is a running gag of Tom Stoppard plays which often have "time jumps" written into the stage directions. See more »


[first lines]
[Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are riding horses down a path - they pause]
Rosencrantz: [to Guildenstern] Umm, uh...
[Guildenstern rides away, and Rosencrantz follows. Rosencrantz spots a gold coin on the ground]
Rosencrantz: [to horse] Whoa - whoa, whoa.
[Gets off horse and starts flipping the coin]
Rosencrantz: Hmmm. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads.
[Guildenstern grabs the coin, checks both sides, then tosses it back to Rosencrantz]
Rosencrantz: ...
See more »


Referenced in The Thick of It: Episode #4.3 (2012) See more »


Performed by Pink Floyd
Courtesy of EMI Records UK Ltd.
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User Reviews

A comedy... about tragedy
4 February 2001 | by (Michigan) – See all my reviews

Imagine if you will, two talented actors. They are playing quite small roles... the smallest roles in the play so are given no form of direction or motivation for their parts. They are simply told they are "sent for". They are told they are "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" but no one fully indicated to them which of them were which. No they are thrust bodily into the play itself (Hamlet) and stripped of all their memories of their life before... they have become the characters. They know their cues, instinctively know their lines, but no one bothered to tell them the plot of the play, leaving them to figure it out (or not) for themselves. Their only source of any kind of direction is a player (Dreyfuss) who gives them a rudimentary crash course on dying and tragedy itself ("Generally speaking, things have gone about as far as they can possibly go, when things have gotten about as bad as they can reasonably get.")... and ("We are tragedians. We follow directions. There is no choice involved.") This is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. And it is the funniest intellectually stimulating comedy I've ever seen. Oldman and Roth deliver a wonderful performance, always desperately struggling "get it" but never quite fully understanding what's going on around them. Oldman's portrayal of the existentially distracted Rosencrantz... or is that Guildenstern... was brilliant! (G: Is that you? R: I don't know! G: (disgustedly) It's you.) Viewers who delighted in the "verbal tennis" match might also notice that this really goes on through out the movie. (Player: But why? R: Exactly! G: Exactly what? R: Exactly why. G: Why what? R: What? G: Why? Why what, exactly?) It's truly sad that this movie doesn't get the recognition that it deserves. See Hamlet... become familiar with the story line... and then see this movie. It is quite worth the effort. I give it a 10 out of 10.

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