202 user 101 critic

Topsy-Turvy (1999)

1:15 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

After Gilbert and Sullivan's latest play is critically panned, the frustrated team threatens to disband until it is inspired to write the masterpiece "The Mikado".



Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Career Girls (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

2 young women reunite and rekindle their friendship after having said goodbye at their college graduation, six years earlier.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Katrin Cartlidge, Lynda Steadman, Kate Byers
Life Is Sweet (1990)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A waitress, her cook husband, & their twin daughters ponder their lives over a few weeks in a working-class suburb north of London.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent, Claire Skinner
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Penny's love for her partner, taxi-driver Phil, has run dry. He is a gentle, philosophical guy, and she works on the checkout at a supermarket. Their daughter Rachel cleans in a home for ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen
Vera Drake (2004)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Abortionist Vera Drake finds her beliefs and practices clash with the mores of 1950s Britain--a conflict that leads to tragedy for her family.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Heather Craney
High Hopes (1988)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Slice-of-life look at a sweet working-class couple in London, Shirley and Cyril, his mother, who's aging quickly and becoming forgetful, mum's ghastly upper-middle-class neighbors, and ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Phil Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Doré
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is a underprivileged white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Phyllis Logan
Another Year (2010)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville
Bleak Moments (1971)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Moments from the uncompromisingly bleak existence of a secretary, her intellectually disabled sister, aloof and uneasy teacher boyfriend, bizarre neighbor and irritating workmate.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Anne Raitt, Sarah Stephenson, Eric Allan
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A look at a few chapters in the life of Poppy, a cheery, colorful, North London schoolteacher whose optimism tends to exasperate those around her.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Samuel Roukin
Mr. Turner (2014)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner's life.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson
Naked (1993)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Parallel tales of two sexually obsessed men, one hurting and annoying women physically and mentally, one wandering around the city talking to strangers and experiencing dimensions of life.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge
A Sense of History (TV Short 1992)
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The 23rd Earl of Leete shares brief moments of his life, the truth behind his family estate and his particular glorious moment when he murdered his wife and his brother.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Stephen Bill, Belinda Bradley


Cast overview, first billed only:
Sukie Smith ...
Roger Heathcott ...
Stage Doorkeeper
Wendy Nottingham ...
Stefan Bednarczyk ...
Frank Cellier
Geoffrey Hutchings ...
Francis Lee ...
Adam Searle ...
Martin Savage ...
Kate Doherty ...


After their production "Princess Ida" meets with less-than-stunning reviews, the relationship between Gilbert and Sullivan is strained to breaking. Their friends and associates attempt to get the two to work together again, which opens the way to "The Mikado," one of the duo's greatest successes. Written by Steve Fenwick <scf@w0x0f.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The egos. The battles. The words. The music. The women. The scandals. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of risque nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| | | |

Release Date:

11 February 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mike Leigh Untitled  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


£10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$32,718 (USA) (17 December 1999)


$6,201,757 (USA) (19 May 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There are three Shakespearean quotes. The first is a line from Macbeth Act III, Scene 3 "O horror, horror, horror!...", spoken by Gilbert at breakfast in relation to the prospects for an extended run for 'Princess Ida'. The second is from Othello, Act I, Scene 1 : "What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe,/ If he can carry 't thus!" , spoken at the restaurant when discussing General Gordon's death at Khartoum. The third is also from Macbeth, Act II, Scene 2 : "A little water clears us of this deed," spoken by Helen Lenoir when comforting Rutland Barrington, who was ill from eating oysters. See more »


Gilbert sarcastically suggests that Sullivan, wanting to write a more serious opera, might try to collaborate with "Mr. Ibsen in Oslo." At the period in which the movie is set, the city was named Christiania. See more »


Gilbert: How was your crossing, Sullivan?
Sullivan: Mercifully smooth, thank you.
Gilbert: As smooth as D'Oyly Carte?
[they laugh]
Sullivan: No, not quite, Gilbert.
See more »


Featured in The South Bank Show: Mike Leigh (2002) See more »


Behold! the Lord High Executioner
from "The Mikado"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Performed by Martin Savage and chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Artfully Constructed and one of the year's best films.
21 August 2000 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

Much has been said here regarding the brilliant costumes, art direction and acting. The one thing I would like to point out is the misconception many have had about the script itself.

Several comments here have claimed that the film is "clunky" in that several scenes apparently added nothing to the film. They also said there was no character development. I think these people need to realize that the depth they seek is contained in the very scenes they wished excised. Which show us all of the different aspects of these characters' lives.

While appearing to be unimportant, empty or simple these many scenes reveal incalculable depth and character insight. The rehearsal scene for just one example, while seeming initially to be a little comedic scene shows us the nature and attitude of both the author and the actors involved in their creative processes.

The performance scenes are also not superfluous as some have wrongly asserted. We can see the characters we have come to know and how they deal onstage with the problems we know they have in their lives: through expressing themselves in their art!!!

In addition the scenes are not arbitrarily strung together but all contain a subtle cause and effect throughline. Sometimes these are reversed as when a cause is revealed only after we have repeatedly seen the effect (as in the revelation of Grossman's illness). Many of the scenes which people have called "tacked on" at the end (like the stunning scene between Gilbert and his wife Kitty) are in fact set up in the earlier parts of the film if you pay close attention and are in actuality a natural progression of these relationships.

Even the very last scene when the leading lady sings is there to show us her identification with the song she is singing and therefore an indirect relationship with her lyricist and composer. This film needs to be seen more than once to appreciate how well constructed it truly is

20 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
what's up with the French? cwashburn
... so many fish in the sea aegisthus
Wherefore art thou, O DVD? stevem-26
The daugher-in-law elect aegisthus
Jessie Bond's Leg blondie3
Snore Lucky-63
Discuss Topsy-Turvy (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: