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Moulin Rouge! (2001)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Musical, Romance  |  1 June 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 215,161 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 2,313 user | 206 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets in this stylish musical, with music drawn from familiar 20th century sources.


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Won 2 Oscars. Another 79 wins & 118 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Garry McDonald ...
The Unconscious Argentinean
Kerry Walker ...
Caroline O'Connor ...
Christine Anu ...
Môme Fromage


The year is 1899, and Christian, a young English writer, has come to Paris to follow the Bohemian revolution taking hold of the city's drug and prostitute infested underworld. And nowhere is the thrill of the underworld more alive than at the Moulin Rouge, a night club where the rich and poor men alike come to be entertained by the dancers, but things take a wicked turn for Christian as he starts a deadly love affair with the star courtesan of the club, Satine. But her affections are also coveted by the club's patron: the Duke. A dangerous love triangle ensues as Satine and Christian attempt to fight all odds to stay together but a force that not even love can conquer is taking its toll on Satine... Written by O.G.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This Story Is About Freedom See more »


Drama | Musical | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

1 June 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Moulin Rouge  »

Box Office


$52,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$167,540 (USA) (18 May 2001)


$57,386,369 (USA) (19 April 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Originally, the green fairy was going to be a long-haired muscle man with a giant sitar and Ozzy Osbourne was hired to provide the vocals. Eventually it was changed to the current "Tinker Bell" incarnation, played by Kylie Minogue, but Osbourne still gives voice to the fairy's guttural scream when it turns evil. See more »


During the performance of Spectacular Spectacular! when the Argentinian enters he can be seen walking down the stairs and joining the rest of the dancers. A moment later when the shot cuts to a different angle, he can be seen walking down the stairs again. See more »


[first lines]
Toulouse-Lautrec: [singing] There was a boy, a very strange enchanted boy...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The ending credits are printed on two (very long) hand painted rolls of paper. The camera is still while the paper is scrolled past. The place where the two pieces are joined is clearly visible. The crew tried to hide the splice, but couldn't make it look good enough, and so decided to keep it as seen in the movie. See more »


Referenced in My Bare Lady: Another Opening (2006) See more »


Complainte De La Butte
Music by Georges Van Parys
Lyrics by Jean Renoir
Performed by Rufus Wainwright
Produced by Michel Pepin and Rufus Wainwright
Rufus Wainwright performs courtesy of Dreamworks Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A stunning, visual feast
12 June 2001 | by See all my reviews

At the risk of sounding overly bombastic, "Moulin Rouge" is the best film I've seen all year, perhaps the best one I've seen in over a year. It is operatic in the best sense of the word, being at once massively outlandish and deeply personal. It is clear that a lot of people took career risks in choosing this film, and although "Moulin Rouge" may not rack up a huge box office, I think this film will become a classic alongside his other two films "Strictly Ballroom" and "Romeo + Juliet."

In the showing of "Moulin Rouge" I saw last week, at least 5 people walked out. At the same time I heard audience members audibly gasping at the films visuals and talking back to the screen. The source of these strong reactions? Baz Luhrmann's confidence in his garish cinematic vision and the commitment his actors have in him. The cast fills their roles with relish, even when the entire scene totters on the edge of overkill--but oddly enough, it is the focus that sets "Moulin Rouge" apart from other films these days. Whereas some actors sleepwalk through their roles as they collect their paychecks, everything about "Moulin Rouge" is done in earnest.

This movie is the anti-"Pearl Harbor," because instead of being a hodgepodge of market-tested ideas, "Moulin Rouge" presents a bold vision and dares the audience to accept or reject it. I, for one, accepted it with delight. A telling comparison: Luhrmann has Nicole Kidman and Ewen MacGregor sing the film's love song. Very daring. For "Pearl Harbor" Michael Bay chose Faith Hill. Very safe. Too safe. Can you imagine Ben Afleck belting out "There You'll Be"?

"Moulin Rouge" glitters with such bold decisions. It is a sumptuous feast for ear and eye featuring gorgeous costumes, intricate sets (Nicole Kidman's boudoir in a gigantic elephant is a case in point), and outlandishly choreographed dance numbers are paraded with frenetic relish. And the music, the MUSIC! As you probably know by now, Luhrmann has thrown into his period piece a collage of musical snippets from, among many bits, "The Sound of Music," Madonna, The Police, and Elton John. In most cases, no one song gets performed without intersplicing. Witness Luhrmann's audacity: the opening number includes a melding of Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" with Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." And here's the spooky part: it works.

The entire movie plays this way, and for the most part it works. Most surpising is that "Moulin Rouge" has a solid, deeply sincere emotional core. Although the film professes to be about love, I'd add that it is equally about loss. The Moulin Rouge is a playground where adults pretend they are children with the added spice of sensuality.

All the performances are excellent, but the hidden gem is Jim Broadbent as Zidler. Broadbent for years has been doing majestically understated supporting work, from "Brazil" to "Enchanted April" to "Topsy-Turvy." In "Moulin Rouge" he manages to be both repulsive and endearing. His spirited rendition of "Like a Virgin" is classic. Too bad it's not on the soundtrack.

Expect to be overwhelmed by "Moulin Rouge" in the most unexpected, delightful ways. It will make you wonder why other films can't or won't dare to be that bold.

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