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Shakespeare in Love (1998)

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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Won 7 Oscars. Another 56 wins & 88 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Lambert
Tim McMullan ...
Frees (as Tim McMullen)
...
Steven Beard ...
...
Patrick Barlow ...
Will Kempe
...
Sandra Reinton ...
Rosaline
...
...
Bridget McConnell ...
Lady in Waiting (as Bridget McConnel)
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Lady in Waiting
...
Henry Condell
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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 »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

8 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shakespeare apasionado  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,224,426 (USA) (10 January 1999)

Gross:

$100,317,794 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point, when speaking to some prostitutes in the tavern, Will jokingly refers to himself as "William the Conqueror". William the Conqueror, of course, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. Will's line in the film was most likely inspired by one of the few surviving contemporary anecdotes recorded about Shakespeare. Lawyer John Manningham wrote in his diary in 1602 that when Richard Burbage had played Richard III in Shakespeare's play, a woman in the audience was so smitten with him, that she "appointed him to come that night unto her by the name of Richard the Third". Shakespeare overheard the invitation, and went to the woman before Burbage, and "was entertained and at his game ere Burbage came". When Burbage eventually showed up at the door, Shakespeare let him know that "William the Conqueror was before Richard the Third". See more »

Goofs

Shakespeare is at a tavern early on in the film. The tavern has glass "onion" shaped wine bottles on a shelf. These bottles of the "onion" variety did not exist until the late 17th, early 18th century. 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 101 Biggest Celebrity Oops (2004) 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

 
A Terrific Film
13 December 1998 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

I saw a preview of this movie and it was terrific. Most period movies are long, boring, usually low-concept and often as emotionally heavy as the costumes in which the actors trudge around (Elizabeth, Wings of the Dove, The Piano, Restoration, etc...)

Well this movie was different. Don't be afraid of the word Shakespeare in the title! This movie is not a junior-high history lesson. It's light, funny, romantic, and a totally irreverent look at Elizabethan England.

The screenplay is brilliant. The best writing in a movie I've seen this year. The idea is that Shakespeare is not some grave, great poet, but a young guy trying to make his way in the theatre. He's written good plays, but nothing truly transcendent. The conceit is that an ill-fated romance--the one great true love of this life--with a beautiful, smart woman is what inspires him to write his first immortal play: Romeo and Juliet.

In this era of world-exploding actioners and cookie-cutter Adam Sandler movies, it's rare to see such a specific, ingenious, and inspired story for a film.

The best part about this movie is its sense of humor. It plays with history, takes a great man abut whom we know alomost nothing, and creates a fantasy about his life that is totally outrageous, funny and real.

Also, the movie is really romantic. The costumes are lush, the leads look great and have real chemistry together. I used to think that Gwyneth was overrated, but here she's radiant. And Joe Fiennes has an intensity and a vulnerabiliy, as well as a sense of humor, that I for one find sorely lacking in his older brother Ralph.

Needless to say, this is the best date movie of the year. Women take note: I am a red-blooded straight American male, and I loved it. Take your boyfriends to see this movie. It will make up for you forcing them to sit through The Piano.


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