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Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

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The filming of Nosferatu (1922) is hampered by the fact that its star Max Schreck is taking the role of a vampire far more seriously than seems humanly possible.



4,813 ( 496)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicholas Elliott ...
Paul (as Nicholas Elliot)
Wolfgang Müller
Sophie Langevin ...
Myriam Muller ...
Milos Hlavac ...
Innkeeper (as Milos Hlavak)
Marja-Leena Junker ...
Innkeeper's Wife
Reporter 1
Norman Golightly ...
Reporter 2


Shadow of the Vampire is a film about the making of a German all time classic silent horror-movie from 1922 called Nosferatu-Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu-a Symphony of Horror). The production of Nosferatu had to deal with a lot of strange things (some crew members disappeared, some died). This movie focuses on the difficult relationship between Murnau, the director, and Schreck, the lead actor. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An Unspeakable Horror. A Creative Genius. Captured For Eternity.


Drama | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality, drug content, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

26 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Burned to Light  »


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$150,171, 1 January 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Malkovich was 46 when he played F. W. Murnau, director of *Nosferatu*. Murnau was only 33 at that time. See more »


As Gustav is going to bed, he picks up one of the candles, brings it to his bed and blows it out. Although there's still a candle in the room, the room turns dark in the next shot from outside the building. See more »


F.W. Murnau: Time will no longer be a dark spot on our lungs. They will no longer say 'you had to have been there', because the fact is, Albin, we were.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Steamer, a revolutionary machine designed and built to cure the foam prosthetics rapidly due to the very limited production constraints. A world first in foam latex curing within the film industry. See more »


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


Tristan Und Isolde - Overture
Written by Richard Wagner
Courtesy of KPM Music Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

Richly nuanced exploration of silent film classic
3 February 2001 | by See all my reviews

What if the lead character in the film Nosferatu really was a vampire? Shadow of the Vampire explores this unusual concept as it follows the story of the filming of the 1921 silent film classic. Malkovich plays the role of Murnau, the German director who makes the bargain from hell to provide realism to his Dracula knock-off, only to find that he has unleashed a monster. This is a horror film that is really a psychological drama -- the true horror lies in the man who decides no price is too high for the making of his movie. At the same time, there's a lot of humor, as well as an intriguing glimpse of Berlin in the decadent 1920s.

Dafoe is definitely an Oscar nominee with this performance (and the film should get an Oscar for his make-up, too): especially powerful scenes include his describing his reaction to reading the novel Dracula, by Bram Stoker; and a confrontation with Murnau near the end of the film, when Murnau finally is forced to recognize what he has done. Strong acting performances from the supporting actors as well -- Elwes' accent wanders, as does Malkovich's, but the cast (including native Germans) is generally strong. Some really nice cinematography and editing.

It adds to the experience to have seen the silent film first, by the way; it is well worth viewing in any case. It's available in a remastered print with a good soundtrack. "Shadow" takes a few liberties with the original film, but not important ones (those night scenes were obviously not shot at night, for example).

I loved this film -- two thumbs up!

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