332 user 207 critic

Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

1:34 | Trailer

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The filming of Nosferatu (1922) is hampered by the fact that its star Max Schreck is taking the role of a vampire far more seriously than seems humanly possible.


E. Elias Merhige


Steven Katz
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
John Malkovich ... Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
Willem Dafoe ... Max Schreck
Udo Kier ... Albin Grau
Cary Elwes ... Fritz Arno Wagner
Catherine McCormack ... Greta Schröder
Eddie Izzard ... Gustav von Wangenheim
Aden Gillett ... Henrik Galeen
Nicholas Elliott Nicholas Elliott ... Paul (as Nicholas Elliot)
Ronan Vibert ... Wolfgang Müller
Sophie Langevin Sophie Langevin ... Elke
Myriam Muller Myriam Muller ... Maria
Milos Hlavac Milos Hlavac ... Innkeeper (as Milos Hlavak)
Marja-Leena Junker Marja-Leena Junker ... Innkeeper's Wife
Derek Kueter ... Reporter 1
Norman Golightly Norman Golightly ... Reporter 2


Shadow of the Vampire is a film about the making of a German all time classic silent horror-movie from 1922 called Nosferatu-Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu-a Symphony of Horror). The production of Nosferatu had to deal with a lot of strange things (some crew members disappeared, some died). This movie focuses on the difficult relationship between Murnau, the director, and Schreck, the lead actor. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An Unspeakable Horror. A Creative Genius. Captured For Eternity.


Drama | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality, drug content, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



UK | USA | Luxembourg


English | German | Luxembourgish

Release Date:

26 January 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Burned to Light See more »


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$150,171, 1 January 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of the tracks used is from the Prelude, Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner. See more »


At the beginning one of Murnau's assistants calls him one of the greatest movie makers ever, with D.W. Griffith and Sergei M. Eisenstein. In 1921 Eisenstein had not yet directed any movie (his first movie is from 1923). See more »


Gustav: [fighting Schreck] Jesus Christus! Get this Scheißkopf off me!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Steamer, a revolutionary machine designed and built to cure the foam prosthetics rapidly due to the very limited production constraints. A world first in foam latex curing within the film industry. See more »


Featured in Cinemassacre's Top 5 Movies About Making Movies (2009) See more »


Tristan Und Isolde - Overture
Written by Richard Wagner
Courtesy of KPM Music Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

Uneven Bite
12 August 2001 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

What if Max Schreck, the actor playing Nosferatu in F. W. Murnau's 1924 film Nosferatu, was in reality a real vampire? This is the basic premise behind the film Shadow of the Vampire. Although it is an intriguing concept, the execution produces uneven results at best. Now, don't get me wrong. There is much to admire in this film. First and foremost is the acting of William Dafoe as Shreck. Some might just think it is a make-up performance, but no way. Watch Dafoe use his face for maximum potential in every scene as well as his body. Dafoe's interpretation(and the make-up) is brilliant. Dafoe creates some eerie scenes with his acting. The other acting in the film is good. John Malkovich makes a good autocratic Murnau. Catherine McCormack is quite good a a German starlet(pretty to boot as well), and Udo Kier is very good as the producer. Carry Elwes is basically scenery. The biggest problem with the film is the script. The first part of the film introduces the characters and shows Murnau making his classic almost shot by shot. The way Malkovich talks his actors through each scene as he directs probably is very realistic as sound was not used. I especially liked how black and white film was used once we see things from the perspective of the camera lens. This first half is almost like a documentary on the making of Nosferatu. But about midway into the picture, the character of Dafoe is something more than an actor. He is something more than Max Schreck. This turn of events really was a let-down for me. First of all, Max Schreck did quite a few movies. This film basically dismisses him as a one-time actor. The film, in my humble opinion, takes far too many liberties with the distortion of reality. I will admit that this line of exposition is interesting, but it is also very constricting to the development of plot and characterization. Once we find out what Screck wants, the film becomes almost transparent. The ending is easily the most disappointing. Yet, despite the wanting script, the film is hauntingly shot with some very effective scenes and some incredible insights into movie-making from a bygone era and in a different place other than Hollywood. It is nice to see pictures like this made. To fully enjoy the film, I heartily recommend watching the 1924 classic FIRST. It will make the film much more meaningful and interesting to you.

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