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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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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
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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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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rumor has been that this film received zero stars from Roger Ebert. In fact, his review was mixed, but at the time Ebert's newspaper review columns set aside the usual five star rating scale in favor for the thumbs up/thumbs down signifier of his popular TV show. Because of this, movies which received the "thumbs down" rating in his newspaper articles have been misinterpreted as zero star reviews by aggregate websites. 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: ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Gary Oldman Performances (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Seamus
Performed by Pink Floyd
Courtesy of EMI Records UK Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, victims of circumstance...
13 July 2004 | by Baron_LaCroixSee all my reviews

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was one of my favourite films whilst growing up. The movie follows two irrelevant characters (irrelevant in that although they served a significant purpose, their characters were not developed in any depth... Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as individuals, were relatively unimportant) through one of the most renowned stories ever told (Hamlet). It is a film about two characters that are completely unaware of the magnitude of the events taking place around them. This carries on throughout the entire film, and is also evidenced in their accidental discoveries of significant historical scientific findings (such as the steam engine or the concept of gravity). The characters stumble their way through the film, unaware of the consequences to their actions or their significance or importance.

The characters spend the entire film coming to terms with their existence. Shakespeare didn't provide any detailed character development of either Rosencrantz or Guildenstern, and as such, they are left confused as to the purpose of their own existence.

The film also looks at the concept of a predetermined destiny. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's fate is already determined before the film begins. And although they play an important role in one of the greatest stories ever told, they are completely unaware of their destiny; they are merely victims of circumstance.

I should also note that the constant banter between the two characters (specifically in their 'Game of Questions') is pure quality.


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