Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

In a Napoleonic era insane asylum, an inmate, the irrepressible Marquis De Sade, fights a battle of wills against a tyrannically prudish doctor.



(play), (screenplay)
4,628 ( 139)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Jude (1996)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A stonemason steadfastly pursues a cousin he loves. However their love is troubled as he is married to a woman who tricked him into marriage and she is married to a man she does not love.

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Christopher Eccleston, Kate Winslet, Liam Cunningham
Holy Smoke (1999)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

While on a journey of discovery in exotic India, beautiful young Ruth Barron falls under the influence of a charismatic religious guru. Her desperate parents then hire PJ Waters, a macho ... See full summary »

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Kate Winslet, Harvey Keitel, Julie Hamilton
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Massachusetts.

Director: Todd Field
Stars: Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connelly, Patrick Wilson
Hideous Kinky (1998)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Hideous Kinky is the story of two sisters (seven and five years old) traveling with their hippie mother from London to Morocco. They encounter many adventures, new experiences, and ... See full summary »

Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Stars: Kate Winslet, Bella Riza, Saïd Taghmaoui
Iris I (2001)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

True story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from their student days through her battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Director: Richard Eyre
Stars: Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet
Henry & June (1990)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In 1931 Paris, Anais Nin meets Henry Miller and his wife June. Intrigued by them both, she begins expanding her sexual horizons with her husband Hugo as well as with Henry and others. June ... See full summary »

Director: Philip Kaufman
Stars: Fred Ward, Uma Thurman, Maria de Medeiros
Shine (1996)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Pianist David Helfgott, driven by his father and teachers, has a breakdown. Years later he returns to the piano, to popular if not critical acclaim.

Director: Scott Hicks
Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Justin Braine
The Reader (2008)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Post-WWII Germany: Nearly a decade after his affair with an older woman came to a mysterious end, law student Michael Berg re-encounters his former lover as she defends herself in a war-crime trial.

Director: Stephen Daldry
Stars: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Bruno Ganz
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A scheming widow and her manipulative ex-lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Two girls have an intense fantasy life; their parents, concerned the fantasy is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her three daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. The two eldest daughters are the titular opposites.

Director: Ang Lee
Stars: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, James Fleet
Sade (2000)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A man prepares himself to be transferred to a detention center and rest home where he will relive one more time the highlights of his youth.

Director: Benoît Jacquot
Stars: Daniel Auteuil, Marianne Denicourt, Jeanne Balibar


Cast overview, first billed only:
Madame LeClerc
Jane Menelaus ...
Renee Pelagie
Tony Pritchard ...
Danny Babington ...
George Antoni ...
Dauphin (as George Yiasoumi)


The infamous writer, the Marquis de Sade of 18th Century France, is imprisoned at Charenton Insane Asylum for unmentionable activities. He manages to befriend the young Abbé de Coulmier, who runs the asylum, along with a beautiful laundress named Madeline. Things go terribly wrong when the Abbe finds out that the Marquis' books are being secretly published. The emperor Napoleon contemplates sending Dr. Royer-Collard to oversee the asylum, a man famed for his torturous punishments. It could mean the end of Charenton and possibly the Marquis himself. Written by Emily H and Janette W

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There are no bad words... only bad deeds. See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


| |



Release Date:

25 December 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Letras prohibidas, la leyenda del Marqués de Sade  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$249,383 (USA) (24 November 2000)


$7,060,876 (USA) (27 April 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine; and one Oscar nominee: Joaquin Phoenix. See more »


Numerous inaccuracies regarding chronology and biography. The opening narrative does explain that the facts have been "tarted up." See more »


Marquis de Sade: You've already stolen my heart... as well as another more prominent organ, south of the Equator.
See more »


Featured in The 73rd Annual Academy Awards (2001) See more »


Au clair de la lune
Written by Jean-Baptiste Lully
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Philip Kaufmann has produced yet another amazing piece of work
14 May 2001 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Quills is one of the best films of 2000, in my reckoning, second best only to You Can Count on Me. It is one of the most brilliantly directed, acted, produced, and written films I've seen in a very long time. There is not a (major) character in this film that is not very complex, and the issues at stake are utterly important.

Perhaps the greatest success of the film is how well it works on commenting both on its own time and situations and our own world today. The issues of free speech, creativity, dementia, corporal punishment, religion, sexuality and especially politics are woven into the film in amazing ways. Yes, politics, for it works as an allegory to the recent presidential scandals.

There are two flaws, one major, one semi-major. The semi-major one involves the epilogue. It is not bad, but it is unnecessary. Perhaps the best way to describe it is superfluous and predictable. The major flaw would destroy any lesser film. Here, it is hardly noticable. Still, if one contemplates it, there is no getting around it. There is never a believable reason why Madeleine should be so helpful to the Marquis de Sade. They present a tiny one, but it is not good enough.

Still, with its successes elsewhere, these flaws do not weaken this film. Without them, it would have been perfect. With them, well, just because it is flawed, doesn't mean it isn't a masterpiece. 10/10

34 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
How Old.. AmadeusGirl
Alan Rickman joyvaleria
what books have you read? UnderTHeDoome
Is it just me... ingots56
when he takes his clothes off for abbe cot-1
scene with Joaquin and Rush coldplaying_pyro06
Discuss Quills (2000) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: