The Libertine (2004)

R  |   |  Drama  |  10 March 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 30,786 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.



(screenplay), (play)
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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
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Did You Know?


Based on the play by Stephen Jeffreys, which had been produced by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and starred John Malkovich and Martha Plimpton. See more »


When the King talks to Lizzie at the theater, her shoulders are alternately covered, then naked and covered again, without any visible cause. 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 »


Featured in The Hour: Episode #7.77 (2011) 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

The Libetine, A Dunmore/Depp Magnum Opus!
21 September 2004 | by (New Jersy, USA) – See all my reviews

My experience in viewing Laurence Dunmore's The Libertine at the Toronto Film Festival left me overwhelmed and in a high emotional state of awe and praise. The dramatic opening prolog was enough to convince me that Johnny Depp is the life force in this powerful film. He is more than an actor portraying a character, he is a force that knows no limitations nor will stop at anything. His performance in The Libertine had such an effect, that I was overwhelmed and moved to the point of tears and fear. Once sitting in the darkened theater, I was not prepared for what I was about to witness. Slowly, coming into view, his beautiful face emerges as big as life itself and from his sinister and well formed sensual lips he speaks the words, "You're not going to like me." From there, this man gives the most gut wrenching speech I have ever heard. This is Johnny Depp like you've never seen before. Powerful, intense, and compelling are an understatement. I felt as if I were hit between the eyes with a forty-five automatic and left spent without even remembering the act. Even Laurence Dunmore could not say enough about Johnny's performance and I give him high praise for his art in progress. In my opinion Dunmore handed the reins to Johnny allowing him to play the Earl without restraint. Not only was Dunmore courageous with that decision, he was brilliant in doing so.

This period piece about the wretched Earl of Rochester has him go through incredible transformations and, willingly, pulled me along with each gritty step. I loved him, I despised him and I wanted him. Most of all, I felt him in my soul and this I will never forget. This Oscar worthy performance by Johnny Deep truly needs to be experienced.

The film was the perfect vehicle in allowing Laurence Dunmore his creativity to soar with its wonderfully wicked and gritty feel and intense acting from Johnny Depp and Samantha Morton. John Malkovitch was superb as well, however, I would have liked to have seen more scenes with him and Mr. Depp.

After watching Johnny Depp in The Libertine, I am convinced, he is a powerful force who, not only took my breath away, but held me on his rock hard pedestal and kissed my soul.

206 of 301 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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