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The Red Violin (1998)

Le violon rouge (original title)
A perfect red-colored violin inspires passion, making its way through three centuries over several owners and countries, eventually ending up at an auction where it may find a new owner.


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 19 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Carlo Cecchi ...
Irene Grazioli ...
Anita Laurenzi ...
Tommaso Puntelli ...
Apprentice (Cremona)
Samuele Amighetti ...
Boy (Cremona)
Jean-Luc Bideau ...
Aldo Brugnini ...
Assistant (Cremona)
Christoph Koncz ...
Clotilde Mollet ...
Florentín Groll ...
Rainer Egger ...
Paul Koeker ...
Wolfgang Böck ...
Brother Michael (Vienna)
Josef Mairginter ...
Brother Franz (Vienna)


In present day Montreal, a famous Nicolo Bussotti violin, known as "the red violin," is being auctioned off. During the auction, we flash back to the creation of the violin in 17th century Italy, and follow the violin as it makes its way through an 18th century Austrian monastery, a violinist in 19th century Oxford, China during the Cultural Revolution, and back to Montreal, where a collector tries to establish the identity and the secrets of "the red violin." Written by Sean Gallagher <naes@cgocable.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An instrument of passion. A shocking secret. An extraordinary journey. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

11 June 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Red Violin  »

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$129,564 (USA) (13 November 1998)


$9,473,382 (USA) (12 November 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Joshua Bell, who was the solo violinist on the sound track, was also the stunt violinist. When non-musician actors needed to be shown playing the violin in close-up, Bell would hide behind the actor, and his left hand would be the hand seen by the camera on the neck of the violin. According to an interview with Bell on NPR, he was scolded several times by director François Girard for overacting. See more »


When Xiang Pei first takes out the violin to play for her son, the violin is missing a G-string. Later when Xiang Pei takes the violin out to show to Chou Yuan, the violin has all four strings. See more »


Charles Morritz: What do you do when the thing you most wanted, so perfect, just comes?
See more »


O Richard! O mon Roi!
from "Richard Coeur de Lion"
Composed by André-Modeste Grétry
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Take the journey
4 March 2000 | by (Vancouver, WA) – See all my reviews

The Red Violin is the saga of spirit and soul as they press onward through time. The adventure begins with Anna, a young woman whose only child brings about her untimely death. A gift of a violin to be given to the babe becomes host to Anna's spirit. The Red Violin narrowly escapes the grips of greed, ignorance, and vengeful lust as she is passed from hand to hand of those who would have her. She wanders about the globe until at last she is exonerated by the one man who knows the truth that she holds within her wooden belly.

In spite of the death and despair, the film is truly positive. It teaches us to appreciate people from all walks of life. From the violin maker of the 16th century who made the Red Violin for the bittersweet arrival of his baby son, we travel through time with the violin to the Chinese Communist Party who spelled out certain death to any instrument that may threaten the ideals of the collective. In our travels, we learn the dark and sordid side to each person, but we also learn that to create a shadow there must be light. That light, or hope, that the people shed is what gives the violin her vitality and will to survive.

A truly magnificent film, The Red Violin inspired me to recollect my own past I shared with my aged upright piano; the certain spiritual vibrations I felt while playing a ragtime melody. Suddenly, memories came rushing back to me tenfold. I recalled the times as a young girl I would listen as my father played his rendition of Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag. Wiping a tear from my eye, I remembered how long ago that truly was; how my piano shaped and molded me, as I shaped and molded it. I am left wondering where my beloved piano is now. Who is influencing his instrumental life? In the end, what stories will he have to tell, and will they be of me

Take the journey of the Red Violin. Visit other lands and other times. Feel the strings of life against your fingers; the bow of spirit in your palm. Rest your chin against the weathered wood of wisdom. Listen closely and hear the music that is the gentle rhythm of time and change. See the film to learn about music; to learn about history; to learn the boundless raptures of the spirit. Perhaps, as I, you will learn just a little more about yourself.

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