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Quills (2000)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  25 December 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 43,327 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 311 user | 131 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

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



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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »



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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


Meet the Marquis de Sade. The pleasure is all his. 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:


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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)


ESP 65,173,251 (Spain) (29 June 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Paul Verhoeven was considered to direct this movie. That makes this the second movie to be passed on by Verhoeven and subsequently directed by Philip Kaufman; the first was The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988). See more »


When Simone is buying her copy of "Justine", the date visible on the cover is MDCCCCVII: 1907. There is one C too many. See more »


Renee Pelagie: If you cure him, I mean really cure him, harness the beast that rages in his soul.
See more »


Referenced in Quills: Creating Charenton (2001) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Not Everything is Black and White!
1 July 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Geoffrey Rush, star of Pirates of the Caribbean, Elizabeth, and Shakespeare in love, Stars in this tale of the infamous and perverted Marquis de Sade. Imprisoned away from the world in the French asylum of Charenton. In a bid to silence the Marquis, famous for his lewd and pornographic writings which has made him infamous, The French ruler Napoleon sends the cold and reserved Dr Royer Collard (Michael Caine) to cure and prevent him from smuggling manuscripts to a publisher, secretly aided by the beautiful virginal chambermaid Madeleine (Kate Winslett) who often finds herself the object of his writing and affection. However along with the Marquis, Madeleine also finds herself the object of the affections of the young and handsome Abbe du Coulmier, (Joaquin Phoenix) the administrator at Charenton. His priestly vows prevent them from being together and conceals hi love fro her. The Marquis meanwhile is suffering at the hands of the repulsive doctor. Due to an indiscretion, at one of many of Charenton open nights when the French aristocracy gather to watch one of the Marquis plays. The play entitled "the crimes of love" makes exact and deliberate references to the doctor's personal life where he picked a penniless but beautiful young nun Simone (Amelia Warner) from a convent, a girl young enough to be his daughter- to be his wife and subjected her to hours of "nightly wife's duties". The doctor vows revenge on the Marquis and even more so when Simone runs away with an architect after reading one of his most lewd novels to date. The Marquis is stripped of all his privileges; first his paper, quills, and ink are taken but he refuses to be silenced. With tragic consequences. As the punishments grow more severe and each knew novels written b something disgusting objects the marquis and the doctor are locked in deadly battle over power and control, which sends the law and order of Charenton asylum downhill as the fight takes a twisted and unexpected turn. A thrilling story with many twists and turns where egos collide and love interferes where power and money speak and authority is threatened.

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