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The Libertine (2004)

R  |   |  Drama  |  10 March 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 30,543 users   Metascore: 44/100
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The story of John Wilmot, a.k.a. the Earl of Rochester, a 17th century poet who famously drank and debauched his way to an early grave, only to earn posthumous critical acclaim for his life's work.



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2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hugh Sachs ...


In 1660, with the return of Charles II to the English throne, theater, the visual arts, science and sexual promiscuity flourish. Thirteen years later, in the midst of political and economical problems, Charles II asks for the return of his friend John Wilmot, aka the second Earl of Rochester, from exile back to London. John is a morally-corrupt drunkard and a sexually- active cynical poet. When the King asks John to prepare a play for the French ambassador so as to please him, John meets the aspiring actress Elizabeth Barry in the playhouse and decides to make her into a great star. He falls in love with her and she becomes his mistress. During the presentation to the Frenchman, he falls into disgrace with the court. When he was thirty-three years old and dying of syphilis and alcoholism, he converts to being a religious man. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He didn't resist temptation. He pursued it.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

10 March 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El libertino  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£278,482 (UK) (18 November 2005)


$146,241 (Brazil) (14 July 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith originally approached Johnny Depp in 1996 about making the film, but various financial complications delayed the production for several years. See more »


In the playhouse, after Harris announces the kings arrival, Lord Rochester starts to remove his hat with his right hand on the crown of the hat. In the next shot, he is removing it with his left hand on the brim of the hat. See more »


[first lines]
Rochester: Allow me to be frank at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on. Ladies, an announcement: I am up for it, all the time. That is not a boast or an opinion, it is bone hard medical fact. I put it round you know. And you will watch me putting it round and sigh for it. Don't. It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to Tracy, Billy and Stanley and all our Friends and Families See more »


References In the Realm of the Senses (1976) See more »


Rochester's Farewell
(end title theme)
Music by Michael Nyman
Text by Stephen Jeffreys
Performed by Hilary Summers (contralto)
See more »

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User Reviews

A personal synopsis of the Libertine
23 September 2004 | by (Ontario) – See all my reviews

The Libertine was a brilliant period piece. It was a tragically realistic yet witty and humorous look at the Restoration period in England, but more specifically depicted the latter stages of the life of the Second Earl Of Rochester, a poet, who endured a short and debauched life. Here was a man so highly intelligent, yet so bored with life that he thrived by consistently pushing his limits and the boundaries of his relationships.

Johnny Depp eloquently and emotionally portrayed the Earl of Wilmot. This has to be by far his most brilliant achievement in a long line of unique and amazing performances. Mr. Depp's portrayal of the Earl showed a range of emotions, incredible nuances and a depth of empathy never before seen on screen, best illustrated during the scene where The Earl addresses parliament - which has to be the most gut wrenching scene, rife with fervor but with credibility. Suffice it to say by the end of this movie I had been reduced to tears and cheers, both at times coinciding. This is definitely an Oscar worthy performance. The golden statue is a must.

The supporting cast was also excellent; most notably, the actor who played the Earl's servant, and who appeared to have a great rapport with Mr. Depp, on screen. Samantha Morton, also superb as Mrs. Barry, gave a lovely and unobtrusive performance as was required for this character.

Laurence Dunmore captured the atmosphere of the period exquisitely with simplicity yet with a keen eye to detail. The reproduction of the 'family' Portrait of the Earl with the monkey is an excellent example. The lighting, the sets, the costumes all added to the reality of the movie. The musical score by Michael Nyman beautifully augmented the spirit of the times and of this production.

The Libertine was a work in progress when I viewed it twice at the Toronto Film Fest. I cannot imagine a scene being cut; even the more risqué dreams are required to impart the true emotional state of the Earl at that time in his life. Before passing judgment on this film I suggest that one see it at least twice so as to appreciate the full impact of the movie – to fully identify with the meaning and the thought behind this production.

The Libertine is a wonderful piece of art, representing the true raison d'être of this poet with incredible wit and insight. Congratulations to all who graced the production of the Libertine.

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