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The Merchant of Venice (2004)

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In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.



(play), (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:


Venice, 1596. Melancholy Antonio loves the youthful Bassanio, so when Bassanio asks for 3000 ducats, Antonio says yes before knowing it's to sue for the hand of Portia. His capital tied up in merchant ships at sea, Antonio must go to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender he reviles. Shylock wraps his grudge in kindness, offering a three-month loan at no interest, but if not repaid, Antonio will owe a pound of flesh. The Jew's daughter elopes with a Christian, whetting Shylock's hatred. While Bassanio's away wooing Portia, Antonio's ships founder, and Shylock demands his pound of flesh. With court assembled and a judgment due, Portia swings into action to save Bassanio's friend. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

18 February 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£147,709 (UK) (3 December 2004)


$3,752,725 (USA) (20 May 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cate Blanchett was set to play Portia, but had to drop out at the last minute after discovering she was pregnant. See more »


Portia is wearing a different outfit when she goes to meet Bassanio for the first from what she was wearing when her servant announces that Bassanio is arriving. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: Intolerance of the Jews was a fact of 16th Century life even in Venice, the most powerful and liberal city state in Europe.
Title Card: By law the Jews were forced to live in the old walled foundry or 'Geto' area of the city. After sundown the gate was locked and guarded by Christians
Title Card: In the daytime any man leaving the ghetto had to wear a red hat to mark him as a Jew.
Man in Crowd: Usurer! Usurer!
Title Card: The Jews were forbidden to own property. So they practised usury, the lending of money at interest. This was ...
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Version of The Merchant of Venice (1908) See more »


Fie Fie Gratiano
Harp: Siobhan Armstrong (as Siobhán Armstrong)
Kanun [Qanun]: Jon Banks
Cello: Josephine Knight, Nick Cooper, Richard Tunnicliffe, Sophie Harris
Violin by David Juritz
Published By Shylock Ltd. / EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
© 2004 Decca Music Group Limited
(p) Jocelyn Pook Ltd. /2004 Decca Music Group Limited
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A great British movie
12 December 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

One of William Shakespeare's finest plays is dramatically brought to the silver screen in all its splendor.

From the director of the film version of 1984, Michael Radford has created a masterpiece for everyone to enjoy time and time again.

With an outstanding cast that includes Al Pacino, (Shylock) Joseph Fiennes, (Bassanio) Jeremy Irons, (Antonio) Kris Marshall (Gratiano) and Lynn Collins, (Portia); this beautiful movie is a must see for every Shakespeare enthusiast.

The story is set in 15th century Britain when many Jews were sadly persecuted in the streets for no apparent reason. Bassanio with the help of Antonio visit a wealthy Jewish loan shark called Shylock and ask if they may borrow some money so Bassanio can visit his love, Portia. Shylock agrees but demands a pound of flesh from Antonio if he can not meet his strict payment demands.

A while later Antonio can not pay the loan and Shylock demands his pound of flesh. A ferocious court battle then takes place between the two men as Antonio's friends and family gather round to await his verdict.

This is a remarkable cinematic experience with the passionate Al Pacino at his best. Also look out for the rising young star, Kris Marshall from the hit, Love Actually. He played the part of Gratiano which such emotion and dignity.

This film, which will most certainly be up for Oscars, clearly demonstrates that Shakespeare can still entertain crowds centuries from his death.

44 of 77 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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