Orlando (1992)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Fantasy, Romance  |  9 June 1993 (USA)
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Reviews: 70 user | 48 critic

Young nobleman Orlando is commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to stay forever young. Miraculously, he does just that. The film follows him as he moves through several centuries of British ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Quentin Crisp ...
Jimmy Somerville ...
Falsetto / Angel
John Bott ...
Orlando's Father
Elaine Banham ...
Orlando's Mother
Anna Farnworth ...
Sara Mair-Thomas ...
Anna Healy ...
Dudley Sutton ...
Earl of Moray
Lord Francis Vere
Jerome Willis ...
Viktor Stepanov ...
Russian Ambassador (as Victor Stepanov)
Charlotte Valandrey ...
Princess Sasha
Mary MacLeod ...
First Older Woman


Young nobleman Orlando is commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to stay forever young. Miraculously, he does just that. The film follows him as he moves through several centuries of British history, experiencing a variety of lives and relationships along the way, and even changing sex. Written by Phythian

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | | |



Release Date:

9 June 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Орландо  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)


$5,289,772 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As Orlando progresses throughout the years, during each new incarnation actress Tilda Swinton's eye color changes. See more »


Archduke Harry: I'm offering you my hand.
Orlando: Oh! Archduke! That's very kind of you, yes. I cannot accept.
Archduke Harry: But I... I am England. And you are mine.
Orlando: I see. On what grounds?
Archduke Harry: That I adore you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

With special thanks to Michael Powell 1905 - 1990 See more »


Referenced in Jubilee: A Time Less Golden (2003) See more »


(from "Semele")
Composed by George Frideric Handel (as Georg Friedrich Händel)
Performed by Andrew Watts (counter-tenor) with Peter Hayward (harpsichordist)
See more »

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User Reviews

Unique,one of-a-kind fantasy,maybe a touch frustrating but fascinating nonetheless
15 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

Orlando is a true original,and for that reason alone it deserves praise. It is sometimes irritating,partly because it refuses to answer so many questions it poses- for instance does Orlando actually travel forward in time in some scenes,or is it just time passing? Why does one other character,the Archduke Harry,also seem to live for ages? Some of the film's touches,such as Orlando's addresses to camera,do come across as a little pretentious. Even considering the short running time,the pace is at times extremely slow,but that is not always a bad thing. Those in search of an original film experience which provides plenty to talk about after could do far worse,and the film actually becomes more rewarding the more one sees it,because you can put up with the flaws and concentrate on the many remarkable things about this film.

The film is absolutely gorgeous to look at,so many shots look like they could be great paintings. The film has a unique atmosphere,as it passes through the centuries,it creates a highly stylized,almost fairytale-like view of the past-this is especially successful in the early Elizabethan scenes set around snow. Here there is a terrific sense of a world that may have existed only in Orlando's distant memory,although it must be said the low budget does often show. There is plenty of humor that becomes funnier with repeated viewings-how about the overwrought Victorian melodrama of the meeting between Orlando and Billy Zane's character? The film is also quite erotic in a subtle way that is hard to explain,but it's there.

And of course there is the unique Tilda Swinton-she may have become a star recently with The Chronicles of Narnia,but this is her defining role. No other film has used best her striking appearance,and her casual reaction to the things that happen to her,such as going to sleep as a man and waking up as a woman,provides some of the film's best moments.Of the other performances,Quentin Crisp is unforgettable in the early scenes as a really decrepit Queen Elizabeth,although Billy Zane,as usual,is somewhat wooden.

Virgnia Woolf's novel probably seems completely unfilmable to most people after they have read it,but this film does a great job of simplifying it and yet still retaining the essence. Whether you consider the film {as the novel is}a feminist tract,or just a very strange fantasy,it can be extremely rewarding if you have the patience for something that is at times as offbeat as they come. I should add here that this is now probably one of my favourite films,but I certainly didn't feel like that about it when I first saw it many years ago.

20 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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