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Shakespeare in Love (1998)

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A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

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1,993 ( 71)
Won 7 Oscars. Another 56 wins & 86 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Tim McMullan ...
Frees (as Tim McMullen)
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Steven Beard ...
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Patrick Barlow ...
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Sandra Reinton ...
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Bridget McConnell ...
Lady in Waiting (as Bridget McConnel)
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Lady in Waiting
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Storyline

Will Shakespeare is a known but struggling poet, playwright and actor who not only has sold his next play to both Philip Henslow and Richard Burbidge but now faces a far more difficult problem: he is bereft of ideas and has yet to begin writing. He is in search of his muse, the woman who will inspire him but all attempts fail him until he meets the beautiful Viola de Lesseps. She loves the theatre and would like nothing more than to take to the stage but is forbidden from doing so as only men can be actors. She is also a great admirer of Shakespeare's works. Dressing as a man and going by the name of Thomas Kent, she auditions and is ideal for a part in his next play. Shakespeare soon sees through her disguise and they begin a love affair, one they know cannot end happily for them as he is already married and she has been promised to the dour Lord Wessex. As the company rehearses his new play, Will and Viola's love is transferred to the written page leading to the masterpiece that is ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Love is the only inspiration See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shakespeare apasionado  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$224,012 (USA) (11 December 1998)

Gross:

$100,241,322 (USA) (23 July 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many plot elements from Romeo & Juliet (such as the opening duel, the tragic love story, and a balcony scene between two lovers) were later used in Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac - a role played by Joseph Fiennes on stage. See more »

Goofs

Near the end the Queen commands Wessex to pay off the wager of 50 pounds which Viola carries in a pouch. At that time, a British pound coin would have contained one troy pound of silver (hence its name). A troy pound weighs approximately 75% of a normal pound, and would therefore mean the sack she is carrying would be very heavy, much heavier than it appears to be in the movie. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Philip Henslowe: [screams in pain]
Hugh Fennyman: Henslowe! Do you know what happens to a man who doesn't pay his debts? His boots catch fire!
Philip Henslowe: [screams]
Hugh Fennyman: Why do you howl when it is I who am bitten?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Apocalypse Soon: The Making of 'Citizen Toxie' (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

The Play & the Marriage
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Warbeck
Performed by Catherine Bott
Conducted by Nick Ingman
See more »

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User Reviews

An excellent film in all aspects.
29 December 1998 | by See all my reviews

I had high hopes for this film from the first time I saw the trailer. I am happy to say that the film lives up to the previews. Although it is an art house flick of sorts, it manages to be profound and accessible at the same time. So many art house films manage to be merely pretentious, as if aimed at those that want to believe that they are having an intellectual experience rather than those who are really open to one. This film shows that you can make a film of substance that is at the same time very entertaining.

One thing that stood out was the way they showed enough of the performance of Romeo and Juliet so that you could understand what the play is about, without making it a film of the play per se. There are many parallels between the fictional play and the events of the film, and this goes to underscore the relevance of great literature to the human condition. The actual performance of the play was acted so well that there were times when a character in the play was in a fight and I said to myself "they're really fighting, that guy really got stabbed!" So often a play within a movie is acted in a very staged manner, so this was a welcome surprise. And for anyone who is a fan of Shakespeare, it is easy to find little tidbits to reflect upon - such as the fact that Shakespeare himself was fond of the "play within a play" theme that we see in this film.

The performances are excellent throughout, including minor characters. In the midst of tragedy there is genuine comic relief, just as in Shakespeare. The historical details that surround the conjectural main plot are accurate down to the names of the actual people with whom Shakespeare crossed paths. In the end "Shakespeare in Love" causes us to feel as well as think, to think as well as to be entertained.


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Slightly OT - Visiting the Globe Theater! CompulsiveMovieQuoter
Is the story based on Shakespeare's life? blondie_96
Little Historical Accuracy nielw
This Can't be Said Enough livings14
The ending confused me so much jimmyr5595
I don't get it Topaz12788
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