Up 49 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 166,956 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 747 user | 130 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


...A Comedy About the Greatest Love Story Almost Never Told... 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?


Lord Wessex (played by Colin Firth) is the villain of the film and is generally presented as none too bright. Wessex's mistaken belief that it is Christopher Marlowe instead of William Shakespeare who has slept with Viola is particularly amusing given that it is the general historical and literary consensus that Marlowe was gay; something that (the film implies) Wessex would have known if he paid even a little bit of attention to the theater, arts, or culture of his age. See more »


In the opening scene, Mr. Fennyman (Tom Wilkinson) and his henchmen Mr. Frees (Tim McMullan) and Lambert (Steven O'Donnell) are torturing Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) due to an unpaid debt. Henslowe offers to cut Fennyman in on the profits from a new play by William Shakespeare. We hear Lambert, off-camera, say, "I think I've seen it," but it appears the on-camera Mr. Frees is actually mouthing the words. The shot then cuts to Lambert, who says on-camera, "I didn't like it." 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 Flashforward: Black Swan (2009) 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

Impressive spin on Shakespeare, with a contemporary feel
13 January 1999 | by (Fargo, North Dakota) – See all my reviews

Tom Stoppard, who penned Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, knows a thing or two about the modern deconstruction and reconstruction of Shakespeare's work -- and it shows in the bright and vivid Shakespeare in Love, which Stoppard co-wrote with Marc Norman. Applying many of the same conventions favored by Shakespeare in his own work (including primarily the confusion over mistaken identity and gender) the screenwriters begin with the "what if" premise and run with it, speculating with wicked delight on the Bard's rivalry with Christopher Marlowe, his use of overheard phrases finding their way into his plays, and best of all, the possible sources of his inspiration. Will's muse is Violet, played wonderfully by Gwyneth Paltrow, who shows off in this film her finest acting to date and credibly pulls off the tricky task of being both an object of poetic inspiration and a genuine, down-to-earth human being.

39 of 56 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: