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Twelfth Night or What You Will (1996)

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Shakespeare's comedy of gender confusion, in which a girl disguises herself as a man to be near the count she adores, only to be pursued by the woman he loves.



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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sidney Livingstone ...
Captain (as Sid Livingstone)
James Walker ...
Alan Mitchell ...


Brother and sister Viola and Sebastian, who are not only very close but look a great deal alike, are in a shipwreck, and both think the other dead. When she lands in a foreign country, Viola dresses as her brother and adopts the name Cesario, becoming a trusted friend and confidante to the Count Orsino. Orsino is madly in love with the lady Olivia, who is in mourning due to her brother's recent death, which she uses as an excuse to avoid seeing the count, whom she does not love. He sends Cesario to do his wooing, and Olivia falls in love with the disguised maiden. Things get more complicated in this bittersweet Shakespeare comedy when a moronic nobleman, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and a self-important servant, Malvolio, get caught up in the schemes of Olivia's uncle, the obese, alcoholic Sir Toby, who leads each to believe Olivia loves him. As well, Sebastian surfaces in the area, and of course there is Feste, the wise fool, around to keep everything in perspective and to marvel, like we ... Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Never send a boy to do a man's job, especially if he's a girl. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

25 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Twelfth Night  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$33,451 (USA) (25 October 1996)


$551,545 (USA) (20 December 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Helena Bonham Carter and Imelda Staunton also appear together in the Harry Potter films, with Toby Stephens's mother, Maggie Smith. See more »


Feste's guitar playing for Cesario (Viola) and Orsino does not match up with the soundtrack. See more »


Feste: Good madonna, why mournest thou?
Olivia: Good fool, for my brother's death.
Feste: I think his soul is in hell, madonna.
Olivia: I know his soul is in heaven, fool.
Feste: The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother's soul being in heaven.
See more »


Version of She's the Man (2006) See more »


Heigh-Ho, The Wind and the Rain
Music by Shaun Davey
Words by William Shakespeare
Sung by Ben Kingsley
See more »

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User Reviews

The best
25 September 2000 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This is, quite simply, the best production of a Shakespeare comedy ever filmed. The plot is delightfully absurd, the acting brilliant, the direction superb. It is the sort of comedy you can watch over and over again.

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Why did she dress like a man? johanmattsson88
Did Kingsley do his own singing? HappyGuy779
the remake..... about_a_princess
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