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The Red Violin (1998)

Le violon rouge (original title)
A perfect red-colored violin inspires passion, making its way through three centuries over several owners and countries, eventually ending up at an auction where it may find a new owner.


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 19 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Carlo Cecchi ... Nicolo Bussotti (Cremona)
Irene Grazioli ... Anna Bussotti (Cremona)
Anita Laurenzi ... Cesca (Cremona)
Tommaso Puntelli ... Apprentice (Cremona)
Samuele Amighetti ... Boy (Cremona)
Jean-Luc Bideau ... Georges Poussin (Vienna)
Aldo Brugnini ... Assistant (Cremona)
Christoph Koncz ... Kaspar Weiss (Vienna)
Clotilde Mollet ... Antoinette Pussin (Vienna)
Florentín Groll ... Anton von Spielmann (Vienna)
... Father Richter (Vienna)
Rainer Egger ... Brother Christophe (Vienna)
Paul Koeker ... Brother Gustav (Vienna)
... Brother Michael (Vienna)
Josef Mairginter ... Brother Franz (Vienna)


In present day Montreal, a famous Nicolo Bussotti violin, known as "the red violin," is being auctioned off. During the auction, we flash back to the creation of the violin in 17th century Italy, and follow the violin as it makes its way through an 18th century Austrian monastery, a violinist in 19th century Oxford, China during the Cultural Revolution, and back to Montreal, where a collector tries to establish the identity and the secrets of "the red violin." Written by Sean Gallagher <naes@cgocable.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An instrument of passion. A shocking secret. An extraordinary journey. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

11 June 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Red Violin  »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$129,564, 13 November 1998

Gross USA:

$9,473,382, 14 November 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Cesca's Tarot deck appears to have been specially designed for the film. The five cards drawn are all Major Arcana and resemble the Tarot of Marseilles in design, except that the devil holds one prisoner instead of two on the Devil card, and the Chinese flag is discernible behind the figure in the Justice card. See more »


When Anna picks the Tarot cards for her reading, Cesca's amulets and bones are scattered across the table before her. In the next shot, when Cesca gathers up the remaining cards, the amulets are in a neat pile next to her arm. See more »


Charles Morritz: What do you do when the thing you most wanted, so perfect, just comes?
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O Richard! O mon Roi!
from "Richard Coeur de Lion"
Composed by André-Modeste Grétry
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not perfect, but mighty close! This film forces you to pay attention!
2 October 2004 | by See all my reviews

The mystique of violin making has always intrigued me so this film was a big attraction for me going in, and I wasn't disappointed for one second!

OK, first of all, the obvious things that make it special: reality, craft, acting, scoring, and cinematography! It takes only a few seconds to know that this gem did NOT emanate from the money grubbers in Hokeywood California as one more way to titillate teenagers with sex, violence, and computer generated special effects with a subliminal message that sells products. Nope! This film was made by film makers who understand the power of a story well told, and REAL cinema.

Cutting back and forth repeatedly between the present and various disparate periods and places from the past, THE RED VIOLIN forces the viewer to pay attention and most of all... THINK!

The Red Violin is NOT the subject here but a catalyst to stimulate thought about human behavior and how different societies have related to art as we move through the centuries.

The casting was (on the whole) excellent though the choice of Samuel L. Jackson as a learned expert in ancient instruments was not convincing for me personally. And, the NON-ending which is more of a comment on human habits of acquisition than human nobility, was just not what I considered a definitive ending. (Maybe that was the point! "Everything continues endlessly...")

If you go to movies as an excuse to nibble away on munchies and get titillation, well, this one's NOT for you. BUT, if you have the patience to watch and think simultaneously as a great story unfolds, then SEE this film immediately!

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