Down 185 this week

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  8 January 1999 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 167,102 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 747 user | 131 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

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.


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video

Won 7 Oscars. Another 55 wins & 85 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.

Director: Anthony Minghella
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe
Chicago (2002)
Comedy | Crime | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago.

Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd
Out of Africa (1985)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Lt. John Dunbar, exiled to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.

Director: Kevin Costner
Stars: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene
Rain Man (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
Crash I (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.

Director: Paul Haggis
Stars: Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton
The Artist I (2011)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A silent movie star meets a young dancer, but the arrival of talking pictures sends their careers in opposite directions.

Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of the final Emperor of China.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole
Titanic (1997)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind, but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

Director: James Cameron
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A Mumbai teen, who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.

Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
Stars: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla
Drama | History | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director: Hugh Hudson
Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell


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


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 | Add Synopsis


Love is the only inspiration See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shakespeare apasionado  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


$100,241,322 (USA) (23 July 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Henslow and Fennyman talk about paying the writer and actors. "Share of the profits," Fennyman suggests. "There's never any," responds Fennyman. This is in reference to the modern-day film practice of promising actors a share of a film's profits, then, through creative accounting, making it appear that a film did not turn a profit, thus bilking the actor of any more money. See more »


Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) is depicted as being constantly in debt, yet the opposite is true - money lending was one of his professions. The filmmakers knew this. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob Movie (2012) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

11 April 2004 | by (Georgia, United States) – See all my reviews

In the movie Shakespeare in Love, a young and promising William Shakespeare is finding it difficult to write a new play. He feels he has lost his gift for stringing together eloquent sentences and yearns for some sort of inspiration to rid him of his horrible writer's block. William then meets the lovely and royal Viola, who is craving to be an actress. She becomes his muse, as well as the lead `actor' in his new play Romeo and Juliet, as they weave a tangled love affair. This burning passion they feel can only end with separation when Viola is forced to marry Lord Wessex and move to America. This film is a wonderful combination of romance, comedy, and drama that attempts a new perspective of the classic Romeo and Juliet story. It employs clever dialogue, beautiful scenes, and wonderful characterization to entertain the viewer. The film's Renaissance dialogue is true to its time period. With such an excellent script, William comes across as the master of speech that he really is. Some parts of the movie are purely funny as almost to parody the seriousness of Romeo and Juliet. Other parts intertwine the actual lines from the play, such as the multiple bedroom scenes between Will and Viola, to provide a unique and obvious parallel between it and the movie. When Will quotes `Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?' to Viola, this provides not only a sentimental scene but actual words from Shakespeare to add to the historical content of this film. This film has an interesting twist on the tragic tale because Will becomes not just a writer pouring out the lines for pay, but a man pouring out his heart in true love. At the end of the movie, Romeo and Juliet is presented as though you were actually sitting on the dirt floor of the playhouse. You see the play through the eyes of a person in England during the late 1500's, except by this time the lead is not longer Romeo and Juliet but literarily and symbolically Will and Viola. The setting of this film is very well done, and the playhouses, taverns, and elegant houses convey the feeling of Renaissance England. The costumes, including Queen Elizabeth's glamorous dresses and Viola's body-shaping corset, are seemingly accurate. (I would have hated wearing those clothes!) The scenes between Will and Viola are rarely anything but love scenes, and they, like their counterpart scenes in Romeo and Juliet, mostly happen at night. This adds to the mystery and forbidden feeling of the movie. The characterization of this film was splendidly carried out. I could not help but fall in love with the beautiful emotion that gushed from Will and Viola ( Will is extremely good looking by the way). When the couple was separated in the end, I felt like a terrible wrong had been committed. The character of Queen Elizabeth, with her snide comments and all-knowing attitude, was a comical representation of a serious position that kept me completely entertained. Christopher Marlowe also provides a wonderful character that conveys `real person' qualities of competition between two famous playwrights. I found this film to be completely engaging from start to finish, but I would not recommend it to everyone. I believe it could truly be given the title of `chick flick' by some viewers despite its fight scenes and comedic devices. The viewer will gain a knowledge of the Renaissance period and its characteristics while also getting the feeling of knowing the great William Shakespeare, however inaccurate the description of Will may be. I feel that now I appreciate the play Romeo and Juliet with a new sense of understanding that can only come from looking at an old tale in a new light.

46 of 76 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Little Historical Accuracy nielw
This Can't be Said Enough livings14
The ending confused me so much jimmyr5595
Joseph Fiennes is incredibly sexy. theschwartz18
I don't get it Topaz12788
Discuss Shakespeare in Love (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: