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Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 8 February 1991 (USA)
Two minor characters from the play, "Hamlet" stumble around unaware of their scripted lives and unable to deviate from them.




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3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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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 <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

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
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Did You Know?


The title comes from one of the final lines of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet", where a British ambassador enters the Danish court to find Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, and Laertes all dead. The ambassador's line is, "...To tell [the King] his commandment is fulfilled, that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead." 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: ...
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Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Starfighters (1994) See more »


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

plot within a plot within a plot...
26 August 2004 | by (chicago, USA) – See all my reviews

This clever screenplay by Tom Stoppard challenges the viewer to listen and watch closely as the Shakespeare tragedy Hamlet is turned on its ear via taking the perspective of the oblivious rhetorics, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. There are multiple 'plot within plot' twists which intersect and skew at will, sometimes creating a surreal experience for the observer. The script is brilliant, full of double-entendres and mixed reactions executed superbly by Tim Roth and Gary Oldman, along with a solid supporting cast (including American actor Richard Dreyfus). Stoppard felt that the title characters, messengers in the original play, were under represented and so examines their possible perspectives in the tale by way of exploring their destiny and their lack-of-awareness of it. Stunning and hilarious wordplay with excellent repartee between Oldman and Roth. Refreshing and creative spin of the tale of Denmark's 'melancholy prince'.

53 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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