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Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 8 February 1991 (USA)
Two minor characters from the play 'Hamlet' stumble around unaware of their scripted lives and unable to deviate from them.

Director:

Tom Stoppard

Writer:

Tom Stoppard
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3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Oldman ... Rosencrantz
Tim Roth ... Guildenstern
Richard Dreyfuss ... The Player
Livio Badurina Livio Badurina ... Tragedian
Tomislav Maretic Tomislav Maretic ... Tragedian
Mare Mlacnik Mare Mlacnik ... Tragedian
Serge Soric Serge Soric ... Tragedian (as Srdjan Soric)
Mladen Vasary Mladen Vasary ... Tragedian
Zeljko Vukmirica Zeljko Vukmirica ... Tragedian
Branko Zavrsan Branko Zavrsan ... Tragedian
Joanna Roth ... Ophelia
Iain Glen ... Hamlet
Donald Sumpter ... Claudius
Joanna Miles ... Gertrude
Ljubo Zecevic Ljubo Zecevic ... Osric

Gary Oldman Through the Years

Take a look back at Gary Oldman's movie career in photos.

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Storyline

Showing events from the point of view of two minor characters from Hamlet, men who have no control over their destiny, this film examines fate and asks if we can ever really know what's going on? Are answers as important as the questions? Will Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (or Guildenstern and Rosencrantz) manage to discover the source of Hamlet's malaise as requested by the new king? Will the mysterious players who are strolling around the castle reveal the secrets they evidently know? And whose serve is it? Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The pieces of paper blowing around throughout the course of the movie are actually the pages of the Roman Missal, (Specifically page 103 of "Missale Romanum, ex decreto S. S. Concili Tridentini restitutum, Pii V ed" otherwise known as "Roman Missal, restored by a decree of the Holy Council of Trent, 5th edition) as can be seen in Latin on the close-up of Rosencrantz's apple pinwheel during scene 6 of the film "Excellent Good Friends" See more »

Goofs

At a given point, Guildenstern says something on the lines of Hamlet being a king and a friend with a good memory. Hamlet never becomes a king and in fact he is a prince. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are riding horses down a path - they pause]
Rosencrantz: [to Guildenstern] Umm, uh...
[Guildenstern rides away, and Rosencrantz follows. Rosencrantz spots a gold coin on the ground]
Rosencrantz: [to horse] Whoa - whoa, whoa.
[Gets off horse and starts flipping the coin]
Rosencrantz: Hmmm. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads.
[Guildenstern grabs the coin, checks both sides, then tosses it back to Rosencrantz]
Rosencrantz: ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Evening Urgant: Diana Arbenina/Tom Stoppard (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Echoes
(uncredited)
Performed by Pink Floyd
See more »

User Reviews

 
A comedy... about tragedy
4 February 2001 | by NBulanskiSee all my reviews

Imagine if you will, two talented actors. They are playing quite small roles... the smallest roles in the play so are given no form of direction or motivation for their parts. They are simply told they are "sent for". They are told they are "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" but no one fully indicated to them which of them were which. No they are thrust bodily into the play itself (Hamlet) and stripped of all their memories of their life before... they have become the characters. They know their cues, instinctively know their lines, but no one bothered to tell them the plot of the play, leaving them to figure it out (or not) for themselves. Their only source of any kind of direction is a player (Dreyfuss) who gives them a rudimentary crash course on dying and tragedy itself ("Generally speaking, things have gone about as far as they can possibly go, when things have gotten about as bad as they can reasonably get.")... and ("We are tragedians. We follow directions. There is no choice involved.") This is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. And it is the funniest intellectually stimulating comedy I've ever seen. Oldman and Roth deliver a wonderful performance, always desperately struggling "get it" but never quite fully understanding what's going on around them. Oldman's portrayal of the existentially distracted Rosencrantz... or is that Guildenstern... was brilliant! (G: Is that you? R: I don't know! G: (disgustedly) It's you.) Viewers who delighted in the "verbal tennis" match might also notice that this really goes on through out the movie. (Player: But why? R: Exactly! G: Exactly what? R: Exactly why. G: Why what? R: What? G: Why? Why what, exactly?) It's truly sad that this movie doesn't get the recognition that it deserves. See Hamlet... become familiar with the story line... and then see this movie. It is quite worth the effort. I give it a 10 out of 10.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 February 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead See more »

Filming Locations:

Slovenia See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,004, 10 February 1991

Gross USA:

$739,104

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$739,104
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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