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The Merchant of Venice
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The Merchant of Venice (2004) More at IMDbPro »

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The Merchant of Venice -- A tale of jealousy and lust chronicling the slow descent of young man's obsession with a beautiful housewife that leads to murder.
The Merchant of Venice -- 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.

Overview

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7.1/10   26,602 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
William Shakespeare (play)
Michael Radford (screenplay)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Merchant of Venice on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 December 2004 (Ireland) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
An Intelligent and Visually Attractive Look at a Complex Play See more (157 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Al Pacino ... Shylock

Jeremy Irons ... Antonio

Joseph Fiennes ... Bassanio

Lynn Collins ... Portia

Zuleikha Robinson ... Jessica

Kris Marshall ... Gratiano

Charlie Cox ... Lorenzo

Heather Goldenhersh ... Nerissa

Mackenzie Crook ... Launcelot Gobbo

John Sessions ... Salerio

Gregor Fisher ... Solanio

Ron Cook ... Old Gobbo

Allan Corduner ... Tubal
Anton Rodgers ... The Duke

David Harewood ... Prince of Morocco
Antonio Gil ... Aragon (as Antonio Gil-Martinez)

Al Weaver ... Stephano
Norbert Konne ... Doctor Bellario
Marc Maes ... Cush (as Marc Maas)

Jean-François Wolff ... German Count
Pieter Riemens ... English Baron
Stéphan Koziak ... Soldier

Tom Leick ... French Nobleman
Jules Werner ... Franciscan Friar

Tony Schiena ... Leonardo

Julian Nest ... Clerk
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stéphane Fragili ... Venetian Nobleman (uncredited)
Paul Rockenbrod ... Venetian Nobleman (uncredited)

Directed by
Michael Radford 
 
Writing credits
William Shakespeare (play)

Michael Radford (screenplay)

Produced by
Andreas Bajohra .... post-production producer
Bob Bellion .... co-producer
Cary Brokaw .... producer
Michael Cowan .... producer (as Michael Lionello Cowan)
Jimmy de Brabant .... co-producer
Edwige Fenech .... co-producer
Nigel Goldsack .... co-producer
Gary Hamilton .... co-executive producer
Michael Hammer .... executive producer
Andrea Iervolino .... co-executive producer
Peter James .... executive producer
Robert Jones .... executive producer
Pete Maggi .... co-executive producer
Alex Marshall .... executive producer
Luciano Martino .... co-producer
Barry Navidi .... producer
Jason Piette .... producer
Bob Portal .... post-production producer
Jean-Claude Schlim .... line producer: Luxembourg
James Simpson .... executive producer
Julia Verdin .... co-executive producer
Clive Waldron .... associate producer
Clive Waldron .... line producer
Paul Ward .... executive producer
Manfred Wilde .... executive producer
Roberto Almagià .... assistant producer (uncredited)
Irene Masiello .... supervising producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Jocelyn Pook 
 
Cinematography by
Benoît Delhomme 
 
Film Editing by
Lucia Zucchetti 
 
Casting by
Sharon Howard-Field 
 
Production Design by
Bruno Rubeo 
 
Art Direction by
Jon Bunker 
Tamara Marini 
 
Set Decoration by
Gillie Delap 
 
Costume Design by
Sammy Sheldon 
 
Makeup Department
Anna Brangaitis .... hair stylist: Luxembourg
Anna Brangaitis .... makeup artist: Luxembourg
Ann Buchanan .... hair designer
Ann Buchanan .... makeup designer
Nuala Conway .... hair stylist: Italy
Nuala Conway .... makeup artist: Itlay
Aurélie Elich .... makeup artist
Lorraine Hill .... hair stylist
Lorraine Hill .... makeup artist
Josy Howard .... hair stylist
Josy Howard .... makeup artist
Claudine Moureaud .... hair stylist: Luxembourg
Claudine Moureaud .... makeup artist: Luxembourg
Helen Speyer .... hair stylist
Helen Speyer .... makeup artist
Béatrice Stephany .... hair stylist
Béatrice Stephany .... makeup artist
Xanthia White .... hair stylist
Xanthia White .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Luca Fortunato Asquini .... unit manager
Tommaso Dabala .... unit manager
Ragna Arny Larusdottir .... production manager: Luxembourg
Philip James Morgan .... unit manager: Luxembourg
Rosanna Roditi .... production manager: Italy
Elena Zokas .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Emilie Cherpitel .... second assistant director
John Dodds .... first assistant director
Stefan Magnusson .... third assistant director
Carlo Paramidani .... second second assistant director: Italy
Jim Probyn .... third assistant director: Luxembourg
Chris Rose .... first assistant director
Jordan Stone .... first assistant director: Italy
Andrei von Kamarowsky .... trainee assistant director: Luxembourg
 
Art Department
Alex Aitken .... head plasterer
Benoît Bechet .... draftsman
Matteo Bertelli .... painter
Klaus Bienen .... carpenter
Tracey Curtis .... modeller
Paolo Cusin .... buyer
Paolo Cusin .... property assistant
Paolo Cusin .... props
Eric De Wulf .... painter
Manuel Demoulling .... assistant set decorator
Ron Downing .... property master
Thomas Ferrandis .... carpenter
Tomislav Findrik .... storyboard artist
Nicola Gomiero .... property assistant
Toby Hawkes .... modeller
Neil Hearfield .... painter
Malin Lindholm .... stand-by art director
Frinn Lorenz .... stand-by carpenter
John Maher .... construction manager
Meike Maher .... art department coordinator
Tamara Marini .... art director: Italy
François Mast .... carpenter
David Orlandelli .... storyboard artist
William Overstall .... plasterer
Edouard Pallardy .... painter decorator
Julie Philpott .... draughtsman
Yair Popritkin .... props
Manu Poupard .... chargehand stand by props
Manu Poupard .... chargehand stand-by props
Barbara Prati .... painter
Olivier Printz .... assistant property master
Lorenzo Sartor .... carpenter
Fabrice Spelta .... draughtsperson
Chaim Stavenuiter .... carpenter foreman
Chaim Stavenuiter .... stand-by decorator
Otfried Suppin .... art department assistant
Andreas Well .... carpenter
Olivier Wojcik .... scenic painter
 
Sound Department
Tim Alban .... dubbing mixer
Tim Alban .... foley supervisor
Antonia Bates .... dialogue editor
Richard Davey .... dubbing mixer
Richard Davey .... second re-recording engineer
Paul Davies .... supervising sound editor
Anthony Faust .... adr mixer
Jack Gillies .... assistant sound editor
Alain Goniva .... boom operator
Larry Hopkins .... layback sound mixer
Christian Koefoed .... sound effects editor
Richard Kondal .... assistant dialogue editor
Haresh Patel .... foley editor
Andre Schmidt .... supervising dialogue editor
James Seddon .... dolby consultant
Brian Simmons .... sound mixer
Lionel Strutt .... adr coordinator
 
Special Effects by
Tiberio Angeloni .... special effects
Alain Couty .... special effects coordinator
Franco Galiano .... special effects
Clive R. Kay .... special effects contact lenses
Lawrence Michael .... special effects technician
 
Visual Effects by
Tim Baxter .... film recording
Neil Culley .... digital artist
Sean Farrow .... visual effects supervisor (as Sean H. Farrow)
David Gibbons .... digital artist
Mick Harper .... digital artist
Barrie Hemsley .... visual effects producer
Sarah Hemsley .... production and operations
Richard Higham .... digital artist
Robin Huffer .... digital artist
Tim Jones .... digital artist
Simon Leech .... digital artist
Warren J. Mills .... digital I/O
Alberto Montañés .... digital artist
Nick New .... digital artist
Jeff North .... digital artist
Anna Panton .... visual effects coordinator
Dylan Penhale .... digital systems manager
Rupert Smith .... production and operations
Paul Tuersley .... digital artist
 
Stunts
Andy Bennett .... stunt arranger
Andy Bennett .... stunts
Samir Bezzah .... stunts
Steve Griffin .... stunt coordinator
Rob Hunt .... stunts
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Werner Bacciu .... key grip: Italy
Etienne Braun .... still photographer
Sonny Burdis .... best boy
Hélène Coker .... video assist operator
Guillaume De Esteban .... film loader
Giovanni De Gaetano .... electrician
Hanoi De La Paz .... lighting technician
Gilbert Degrand .... electrician
Kevin Dresse .... electrician
Ingo Gardner .... balloon light technician
Cristiano Giavedoni .... co-gaffer
Max Jacoby .... clapper loader: "b" camera
Max Jacoby .... clapper loader: second unit
Graham Johnston .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
Graham Johnston .... first assistant camera: second unit
Oliver Krupke .... electrician
Onkar Narang .... desk operator
Martin Neuse .... electrician
Christian Pannrucker .... lighting
Elvis Pasqual .... electrician
Thierry Ramanana .... grip
Jako Raybaut .... camera operator: "b" camera
Jako Raybaut .... cinematographer: second unit
Jean-François Roqueplo .... head key grip
Angelo Russo .... electrician
David Smith .... gaffer
Théodore Theodorides .... clapper loader: "a" camera
Stéphane Thiry .... grip
Dean Thompson .... first assistant camera: "a" camera
Valérie Wery .... grip
Tim Wiley .... rigging gaffer
 
Casting Department
Abigail Barbier .... adr voice casting
Louis Elman .... adr voice casting
Tiziana Kinkela .... casting assistant
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Frieda Basso Boccabella .... wardrobe trainee
Catherine Buyse Dian .... wardrobe supervisor
Giancarlo Colis .... assistant costume designer
Charlotte-Rose Kay .... assistant costume designer
Anna Kovacevic .... key costumer
Sharon McCormack .... costume cutter
David Otzen .... costume assistant
Katia Scarpa .... wardrobe assistant
Jovana Sujdovic .... wardrobe assistant
Aleksandra Valozic .... wardrobe assistant
Sandra O'Toole .... costume textile artist (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Pani Ahmadi-Moore .... first assistant editor
Andrea Chiozzotto .... second assistant editor
Perry Gibbs .... colorist: mastering
Alec Gibson .... color timer
Eddy Kolkiewicz .... negative cutter
Alexandra Kosevic .... post-production coordinator
Andrew Robinson .... negative cutter
 
Music Department
Siobhan Armstrong .... musicians: Triple Harp
Laurence Aston .... musicians: Management for Jocelyn Pook
Caroline Balding .... musicians: Baroque String Quartet
Jon Banks .... musicians: Qanun
Pavlo Beznosiuk .... musicians: Baroque String Quartet (as Pavlo Besnosiuk)
Harvey Brough .... additional score arranger
Harvey Brough .... associate music producer
Harvey Brough .... musicians: Psaltery, Guitar, Voice
Rachel Byrt .... musicians: Baroque String Quartet
Tristan Fry .... musicians: Timpani and Percussion
His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts .... musician (as His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts)
Jake Jackson .... assistant score mixing engineer
Jake Jackson .... score recordist
David Juritz .... musicians: String Ensemble Leader
Elizabeth Kenny .... musicians: Theorbo, Lute
Libera .... musicians: Boys Choir
Haresh Patel .... music editor
Jocelyn Pook .... music producer
Robert Prizeman .... choir director: Libera
John Sachs .... music supervisor
Clara Sanabras .... musicians: Voice, Lute, Baroque Guitar, Oud
Hilary Skewes .... musician contractor
Belinda Sykes .... musician: Shawm, Daf
Pamela Thorby .... musicians: Recorders
Richard Tunnicliffe .... musicians: Baroque String Quartet
Nick Wollage .... score mixing engineer
Nick Wollage .... score recordist
 
Transportation Department
Luca Fortunato Asquini .... transportation manager: Italy
Alessandra Asta .... transportation assistant
Lionel Delcroix .... props driver
Svet Hrouchoff .... additional driver
Simon Jones .... driver: Al Pacino, UK
Gaby Meyers .... facility/truck driver
Francois Muller .... truck driver
Gary Sharp .... driver: cast
Kevan Willis .... transportation coordinator
 
Other crew
Denver Beattie .... assistant: Al Pacino, Italy
Nicky Bell .... assistant: Mr. Radford
Bob Bellion .... financial manager
Shirine Best .... development assistant
Corrina Bonicelli .... technical advisor
Alexandre Brown .... production assistant
Fabrizio Cerato .... location manager
Deborah Cesana .... set runner
Erasmo Colucci .... co-accountant
Veronica Coppola .... assistant production coordinator
Lou Crisa .... special assistant and security: Mr. Pacino
Warren Demer .... assistant accountant
Bernardo Galli .... assistant accountant: Italy
Judy Geletko .... administrator: Avenue Pictures
Geoffrey Goodman .... assistant: Mr. Brokaw
Matteo Gottardis .... unit manager assistant: Italy
Linda Gregory .... financial controller
Nicole Gregory .... unit publicist
Monica Hayford .... assistant to producer: UK
Mel Hider .... assistant: Mr. Cowan and Mr. Piette
Patrick Hoffmann .... production assistant
Polly Hope .... assistant production coordinator
Brittany Hymore .... assistant: Mr. Pacino, Italy
Myke Ismael .... extras assistant
Tim Judge .... executive assistant: Mr. Pacino
Patricia Kretschmer .... assistant: Mr. De Brabant, Luxembourg
Stefano Dalla Lana .... location assistant
Antonella Longato .... production assistant
Roberto Longobardi .... production accountant
Nadia Mattera .... assistant: Mr. Navidi
Jack Murphy .... movement coach
Pascale Noël .... location assistant
Alessandro Palestro .... set production assistant
Jessica Reavis .... stand-in
Laurence Rexter-Baker .... assistant: Mr. Pacino, Luxembourg
David Morais Rocas .... location assistant
Debbie Rothstein .... legal assistant
Andrea Santuari .... production assistant
Adelaide Scardino .... assistant: Mr. Brokaw
Shalom Shabazi .... poet
Emma Short .... assistant production accountant
Lucy Shuttleworth .... development executive
Mannes Steve .... location trainee
Anita Tomaselli .... production coordinator: Italy
Sophie Treacher .... production coordinator: Luxembourg
Emma Tweed .... assistant: Mr. Radford
Tim Van Rellim .... production executive
Stephane Wasila .... location manager
Beverly Winston .... script supervisor
Federico Demontis .... assistant to co-executive producer (uncredited)
Pietro Dioni .... assistant to co-executive producer (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Marlon Brando .... special thanks
Danny Huston .... special thanks
Radica Jovicic .... special thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice" - USA (complete title)
See more »
MPAA:
Rated R for some nudity
Runtime:
138 min | Finland:134 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The bare-breasted prostitutes were not put in the film to make it more risqué, but rather to add a note of historical authenticity. Venetian law at the time required all prostitutes to bare their breasts because the Christian authorities were concerned about rampant homosexuality in their city.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Gratiano announces his love of Nerissa, his wine is red, then white.See more »
Quotes:
Bassanio:Why, I were best to cut my left hand off And swear I lost the ring defending it.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Leaves of Grass (2009)See more »
Soundtrack:
With Wand'ring StepsSee more »

FAQ

What changes have been made from the original play?
See more »
209 out of 225 people found the following review useful.
An Intelligent and Visually Attractive Look at a Complex Play, 16 December 2004
Author: James Hitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England

'The Merchant of Venice' is one of Shakespeare's better-known plays and is still regularly performed in the theatre. Incredibly, however, this film would seem to be the first-ever English-language version made for the cinema rather than television. There were a number of versions made in Britain or America during the early days of the cinema, but these were all silents.

The reason for this neglect of the play may be connected with sensitivities about the play's alleged anti-Semitism, a subject which has been even more sensitive since the rise to power of the Nazis in 1933. (This may explain why all previous versions were made during the silent era; in 1908 or 1922 it would have been easier to portray Shylock as a straightforward villain than it would be today). Yet in my view the film is not anti-Semitic at all. It should be remembered that during Shakespeare's lifetime there was no settled Jewish community in England; the Jews had been expelled by Edward I in the late 13th century, and were not permitted to return until the time of Cromwell, some forty years after Shakespeare's death. As far as we know, Shakespeare never travelled abroad, so it seems quite possible that he himself never knew any Jews personally or experienced the effects of anti-Semitism at first hand. The play is not simply about the Jewish question, but is, among other things, an analysis of the corrosive effects of religious prejudice. It may, in fact, be a coded examination of the mutual antipathy between Catholics and Protestants in Tudor England (something of which Shakespeare certainly would have had first-hand experience) and an appeal for greater tolerance between them.

Then as now, traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes had always depicted Jews as avaricious, but Shylock's principal sin is not avarice; if it were, he would certainly have accepted Bassanio's offer to pay him six thousand ducats, twice the amount borrowed by Antonio. Rather, Shylock's besetting sin is anger, and the root of his anger is the way in which he and his fellow-Jews are treated by the Christians of Venice. Not only are Jews in general regarded as second-class citizens, but Jewish moneylenders such as Shylock are particular targets for abuse, even though the services they provide are necessary to the Venetian economy. The play shows the corrupting effects of prejudice. Not only do views of this sort corrupt the Christians who hold them, they can also corrupt the Jews who suffer abuse. Shylock's vindictiveness is out of all proportion to the wrongs he has suffered. By spitting on him and calling him a dog, Antonio behaves like a boorish bigot, but boorishness and bigotry are not generally regarded as crimes deserving of the death penalty. Moreover, Shylock seeks to revenge himself on Antonio not merely for the undoubted wrongs that Antonio has done towards him, but also for all the wrongs, real and imaginary, that he has suffered at the hands of the Christian community, such as his daughter's marriage to Lorenzo.

It is to the credit of the film's director, Michael Radford and of its star, Al Pacino, that they understand all these issues. Pacino's Shylock has, initially, a sort of angry dignity about him that gradually gives way to vindictive rage and finally, after his humiliation in the trial scene by Portia's reasoning, to pathos. We see clearly that he has been the instrument of his own destruction, but we can still sympathise with him. In my view, none of Pacino's performances that I have seen have ever equalled those he gave in the first two 'Godfather' films (not 'Scent of a Woman', for which he won an Oscar, and certainly not 'Godfather III'), but 'The Merchant of Venice is the one that comes closest to those benchmarks. The other acting performance that stood out was Lynn Collins's luminous Portia, speaking her lines with great clarity and simplicity and bringing out the intelligence and resourcefulness that make her character more than simply a romantic heroine. I was less impressed with Jeremy Irons's Antonio, who seemed too passive. Antonio is a complex character; part loyal friend, part melancholy contemplative, part religious bigot and part enterprising capitalist. Although Irons captured the first two of those aspects, it was difficult to envisage his Antonio either spitting on someone of a different faith or hazarding his all on risky trading ventures.

Radford's interpretation of the play was attacked by the film critic of the 'Daily Telegraph' who, although he admired Pacino's performance, disliked the period setting and argued that Shakespeare needs to be placed in a contemporary setting if it is to have 'relevance' for a modern audience, citing a recent stage production which set the action in Weimar Germany. I would disagree profoundly with this approach. The theatre and the cinema are quite different media and, while there have been some striking modernist approaches to Shakespeare in the cinema (Trevor Nunn's 'Twelfth Night' comes to mind), a traditionalist approach is often the best one. (I preferred, for example, Zeffirelli's 'Romeo and Juliet' to Baz Luhrmann's). The idea that we can only appreciate Shakespeare in a modern guise is sheer intellectual laziness; we are not prepared to make the effort to see our greatest writer in the context of the Elizabethan society that produced him, but rather prefer him dressed up as an ersatz twentieth-century man.

Radford's traditional approach not only enables us to appreciate that bigotry and vindictiveness are age-old, universal problems, but also makes for a visually striking film. In the play, the scenes set in Venice itself are characterised by turbulent action; those set in Portia's country house at Belmont are happier and more peaceful. In the film, the Venetian exterior scenes were shot on location against a backdrop of misty, wintry grey skies, similar to the look achieved in 'Don't Look Now'. The candlelit interiors, with faces brightly lit against a dark background, were reminiscent of the chiaroscuro effects of a Caravaggio painting; I suspect this was quite deliberate, as Caravaggio was a contemporary of Shakespeare. By contrast to dark or misty Venice, the Belmont scenes (shot in an enchanting Palladian villa on an island in a lake) were characterised by sunshine or peaceful moonlight.

This is one of the best Shakespeare adaptations of recent years; an intelligent and visually attractive look at a complex play. 8/10.

A couple of errors. We see a black swan on the water in front of Portia's house. These birds are natives of Australia and were not introduced to Europe until well after 1596, the date when the film is set. Also, the portrait of Portia in the leaden casket is painted in the style of the Florentine Botticelli, who was active about a century before that date. Lynn Collins may be reminiscent of a Botticelli beauty, but it seems unlikely that a late 16th century Venetian lady would have had herself painted in the manner of late 15th century Florence.

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