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 16 wins & 27 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 (as John Aden Gillet)
Nicholas Elliott Nicholas Elliott ... Paul - Camera Assistant (as Nicholas Elliot)
Ronan Vibert ... Wolfgang Muller
Sophie Langevin Sophie Langevin ... Elke - Makeup Assistant
Myriam Muller Myriam Muller ... Maria - Script Assistant
Milos Hlavac Milos Hlavac ... Innkeeper (as Milos Hlavak)
Marja-Leena Junker Marja-Leena Junker ... Innkeeper's Wife
Derek Kueter ... Reporter 1
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 »

Did You Know?


The film takes place in 1921. See more »


When Skrek first sees the picture of Greta the photos do not match between shots. This is because the first shot of the photo is taken from Nosferatu. See more »


F.W. Murnau: Why him, you monster? Why not the... script girl?
Max Schreck: Oh. The script girl. I'll eat her later.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits end with the sounds of the camera filming and of the phonograph which set the mood for the actors. See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Profile: John Malkovich (1998) See more »


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

User Reviews

forever one of my favorites!
24 March 2003 | by posh_mcgrawSee all my reviews

Disclaimer: It really helps you to understand and appreciate this film if you have an interest in or knowlege of early cinema or Germany or the film "Nosferatu". I have watched it 5+ times and i find something new everytime~.

If you're looking for a horror movie, that's not what SOTV is. You'll probably be bored or dissapointed. The strength of this film is the dialogue and interacion betw. the characters (IMHO)

John Malkovich is F.W. Marnau, the great german director of the 20s and Willem Dafoe plays Max Schreck, the Nosferatu of Marnau's classic. This film chronicles the making of this kooky and classic film. It's not a literal interpertation though. (at least i hope not)

The characters were supposed to be German, but each spoke in their own unique tongue. In particular, John Malkovich's Marnau spoke in the same hybrid accent Malkie uses in every movie.

Cary Elwes-- I don't know what kind of accent he had, but it was fantastic. His swashbuckling camera-whiz is a bright light of raw sexuality in this otherwise darkly comic venture.

This isn't a funny movie, but it definitely has its comic moments. Pay attenion to Malkie's passionate soliloquies...they are hilarious. And Dafoe is just classic. The interaction between the two makes the movie.

Anyone whose been to film school or art school knows kids who are just like Malkie's obsessed "you're overwhelming my composition!" director.

This film is quite an experience. And i will never tire of watching it.

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UK | Luxembourg | USA


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

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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