7.1/10
209,304
778 user 129 critic

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Trailer
1:42 | Trailer
The world's greatest ever playwright, William Shakespeare, is young, out of ideas and short of cash, but meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

Director:

John Madden
Reviews
Popularity
2,177 ( 20)
Won 7 Oscars. Another 57 wins & 87 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Geoffrey Rush ... Philip Henslowe
Tom Wilkinson ... Hugh Fennyman
Steven O'Donnell ... Lambert
Tim McMullan ... Frees (as Tim McMullen)
Joseph Fiennes ... Will Shakespeare
Steven Beard Steven Beard ... Makepeace - the Preacher
Antony Sher ... Dr. Moth
Patrick Barlow Patrick Barlow ... Will Kempe
Martin Clunes ... Richard Burbage
Sandra Reinton Sandra Reinton ... Rosaline
Simon Callow ... Tilney - Master of the Revels
Judi Dench ... Queen Elizabeth
Bridget McConnell Bridget McConnell ... Lady in Waiting (as Bridget McConnel)
Georgie Glen ... Lady in Waiting
Nicholas Boulton ... Henry Condell
Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

At the close of World War II, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.

Director: Anthony Minghella
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe
Chicago (2002)
Comedy | Crime | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two death-row murderesses develop a fierce rivalry while competing for publicity, celebrity, and a sleazy lawyer's attention.

Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.

Director: Kevin Costner
Stars: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd
Rain Man (1988)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
Crash I (2004)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.

Director: Paul Haggis
Stars: Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The story of the final Emperor of China.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne of the British Empire in 1936, and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch overcome his stammer.

Director: Tom Hooper
Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter
The Artist I (2011)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An egomaniacal film star develops a relationship with a young dancer against the backdrop of Hollywood's silent era.

Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman
Out of Africa (1985)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer
Argo (2012)
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1979.

Director: Ben Affleck
Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Ted Kramer's wife leaves him, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander
Edit

Storyline

William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is a known but struggling poet, playwright, and actor, who not only has sold his next play to both Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) and Richard Burbage (Martin Clunes), but now faces a far more difficult problem: he is bereft of ideas and has yet to begin writing. He is in search of his muse, the woman who will inspire him but all attempts fail him until he meets the beautiful Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow). She loves the theatre and would like nothing more than to take to the stage, but is forbidden from doing so as only men can be actors. She is also a great admirer of Shakespeare's works. Dressing as a man, and going by the name of "Thomas Kent", she auditions and is ideal for a part in his next play. Shakespeare soon sees through her disguise and they begin a love affair, one they know cannot end happily for them as he is already married and she has been promised to the dour Lord Wessex (Colin Firth). As the company rehearses his new play, ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...A Comedy About the Greatest Love Story Almost Never Told... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the beginning of the movie, when Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) asks William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) if he has been working on his play, he answers "Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move", he is quoting from Hamlet (Act II Scene 2). The lines are from a letter he wrote to Ophelia while pretending to have gone mad, and are followed by "Doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love." See more »

Goofs

At the very end of the movie, Shakespeare is writing the beginning of Twelfth Night. On the paper, he starts Act 1 Scene 1 with a speech by the character Viola. But Viola does not appear until Act 1 Scene 2 (and in fact speaks first in that scene). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Philip Henslowe: [screams in pain]
Hugh Fennyman: Henslowe! Do you know what happens to a man who doesn't pay his debts? His boots catch fire!
Philip Henslowe: [screams]
Hugh Fennyman: Why do you howl when it is I who am bitten?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Region 2 DVD contains some deleted scenes:
  • A different end sequence. Here the conversation between Will and Viola is shorter than in the final film. After Viola has left Burbage enters and stops Will from running after Viola. He also takes the 50 pounds and says "Welcome to the Chamberlain's Men". The scene where Lord Wessex's ship sinks is also different. Here we see that Viola survives the drowning and is washed ashore an unknown coast. There she asks two people where she is. Their reply is "This is America".
  • A slightly different version of the scene where Burbank and his men fight against Will and his actors in the theatre. The sequence is largely the same as the scene used in the final film but parts are shown from different angles. A small conversation between Fennyman and Henslowe is added where they discuss about business.
  • A small scene which takes place after Henslowe has announced the audition. Here the two actors John and James walk to the court to play witnesses. When they meet the other actors and hear that Will Shakespeare needs actors for his new play they follow them to the audition.
  • A deleted take where Tom Wilkinson announces that he will be playing the apothecary. To Rushs question "How does the comedy end?" Fiennes replys "By God, I wish I knew". Then Rush says "By God, if you do not, who does? Let us have pirates, clowns and a happy ending and you'll make Harvey Weinstein a happy man."
See more »

Connections

Featured in MsMojo: Top 10 Greatest Romantic Period Films (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

The Play & the Marriage
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Warbeck
Performed by Catherine Bott
Conducted by Nick Ingman
See more »

User Reviews

Wonderful!
11 April 2004 | by chesirecatgrin55See all my reviews

In the movie Shakespeare in Love, a young and promising William Shakespeare is finding it difficult to write a new play. He feels he has lost his gift for stringing together eloquent sentences and yearns for some sort of inspiration to rid him of his horrible writer's block. William then meets the lovely and royal Viola, who is craving to be an actress. She becomes his muse, as well as the lead `actor' in his new play Romeo and Juliet, as they weave a tangled love affair. This burning passion they feel can only end with separation when Viola is forced to marry Lord Wessex and move to America. This film is a wonderful combination of romance, comedy, and drama that attempts a new perspective of the classic Romeo and Juliet story. It employs clever dialogue, beautiful scenes, and wonderful characterization to entertain the viewer. The film's Renaissance dialogue is true to its time period. With such an excellent script, William comes across as the master of speech that he really is. Some parts of the movie are purely funny as almost to parody the seriousness of Romeo and Juliet. Other parts intertwine the actual lines from the play, such as the multiple bedroom scenes between Will and Viola, to provide a unique and obvious parallel between it and the movie. When Will quotes `Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?' to Viola, this provides not only a sentimental scene but actual words from Shakespeare to add to the historical content of this film. This film has an interesting twist on the tragic tale because Will becomes not just a writer pouring out the lines for pay, but a man pouring out his heart in true love. At the end of the movie, Romeo and Juliet is presented as though you were actually sitting on the dirt floor of the playhouse. You see the play through the eyes of a person in England during the late 1500's, except by this time the lead is not longer Romeo and Juliet but literarily and symbolically Will and Viola. The setting of this film is very well done, and the playhouses, taverns, and elegant houses convey the feeling of Renaissance England. The costumes, including Queen Elizabeth's glamorous dresses and Viola's body-shaping corset, are seemingly accurate. (I would have hated wearing those clothes!) The scenes between Will and Viola are rarely anything but love scenes, and they, like their counterpart scenes in Romeo and Juliet, mostly happen at night. This adds to the mystery and forbidden feeling of the movie. The characterization of this film was splendidly carried out. I could not help but fall in love with the beautiful emotion that gushed from Will and Viola ( Will is extremely good looking by the way). When the couple was separated in the end, I felt like a terrible wrong had been committed. The character of Queen Elizabeth, with her snide comments and all-knowing attitude, was a comical representation of a serious position that kept me completely entertained. Christopher Marlowe also provides a wonderful character that conveys `real person' qualities of competition between two famous playwrights. I found this film to be completely engaging from start to finish, but I would not recommend it to everyone. I believe it could truly be given the title of `chick flick' by some viewers despite its fight scenes and comedic devices. The viewer will gain a knowledge of the Renaissance period and its characteristics while also getting the feeling of knowing the great William Shakespeare, however inaccurate the description of Will may be. I feel that now I appreciate the play Romeo and Juliet with a new sense of understanding that can only come from looking at an old tale in a new light.


51 of 88 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 778 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shakespeare in Love See more »

Filming Locations:

Barnes, London, England, UK See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$224,012, 13 December 1998

Gross USA:

$100,317,794

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$289,317,794
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed