A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets.


Baz Luhrmann
1,178 ( 96)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 85 wins & 132 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicole Kidman ... Satine
Ewan McGregor ... Christian
John Leguizamo ... Toulouse-Lautrec
Jim Broadbent ... Harold Zidler
Richard Roxburgh ... The Duke
Garry McDonald ... The Doctor
Jacek Koman ... The Unconscious Argentinean
Matthew Whittet ... Satie
Kerry Walker ... Marie
Caroline O'Connor Caroline O'Connor ... Nini Legs In The Air
Christine Anu Christine Anu ... Arabia
Natalie Mendoza ... China Doll
Lara Mulcahy ... Môme Fromage
David Wenham ... Audrey
Kylie Minogue ... The Green Fairy


The year is 1899, and Christian, a young English writer, has come to Paris to follow the Bohemian revolution taking hold of the city's drug and prostitute infested underworld. And nowhere is the thrill of the underworld more alive than at the Moulin Rouge, a night club where the rich and poor men alike come to be entertained by the dancers, but things take a wicked turn for Christian as he starts a deadly love affair with the star courtesan of the club, Satine. But her affections are also coveted by the club's patron: the Duke. A dangerous love triangle ensues as Satine and Christian attempt to fight all odds to stay together but a force that not even love can conquer is taking its toll on Satine... Written by O.G.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This Story Is About Beauty See more »


Drama | Musical | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


"Come What May" was written by David Baerwald for Romeo + Juliet (1996) but not used. In Moulin Rouge! (2001), it is newly written for the stage show by Christian. It is the only completely original song in the entire film. However, because it was written for another film, it was disqualified for the Oscars' Best Song award. See more »


The scar under Warner's eye switch sides throughout the movie. In the scene where the Duke calls Toulouse "pig," it switches several times between cuts. See more »


[first lines]
Toulouse-Lautrec: [singing] There was a boy, a very strange enchanted boy...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The orchestra conductor conducts the 20th Century Fox music before the actual movie begins. See more »


Spoofed in The Cat in the Hat (2003) See more »


Children Of The Revolution
Written by Marc Bolan
Performed by Ewan McGregor, Jacek Koman, John Leguizamo, Garry McDonald (as Garry Macdonald),
Kylie Minogue, Ozzy Osbourne, and Matthew Whittet
Produced by Blam, Josh G. Abrahams and Marius De Vries (as Marius Devries)
Kylie Minogue performs courtesy of Parlophone Records and Festival Mushroom Records
Ozzy Osbourne performs courtesy of Epic Records
See more »

User Reviews

Glorious Absynthe Prostitution
3 June 2001 | by tedgSee all my reviews

This film is crafted of many common narrative elements:

--The rich cad versus the poor lad for the girl (with the conceit that love is unavailable to the wealthy 'unreal' class)

--The girl who must renounce her love to save her lover (only to lose her own life)

--The notion of players as prostitutes (here bohemian dadaists)

--The setting of a play within a play (with the everpresent driver that the show must go on)

--The extended bracketing (the opening/closing curtain, then the open/closing whiteface observer of the 'mill,' then the retrospective narrator writing what we see, then the initiation of the absinthe vision, all before the inner play -- and that inner play has yet another level: performers in an Indian court -- who are doing a song about a song)

It also uses an ordinary convention of embedding songs in the action. Though one must note that absinthe hallucinations are intrinsically musical and similarly embedded. (Don't try this at home: thujone, the active ingredient in absinthe is so pernicious that is the only drug that has been successfully outlawed in the civil world. Think about that. Then imagine an absinthe bar on every corner and in every Parisian artist's life 100 years back.)

Having mentioned all the ordinary elements, this film is the most fun I ever remember having in front of a screen. Everything to the smallest element is coordinated to be a single, transporting vision. And what a vision! The camera has character here -- it is a performer, it dances, laughs, cries -- it is detached voyeur, then intimate partner. Everything is so original in vision, and so coherent it amazes. This is close to scifi -- it conveys us to an alternative not-quite-real world we can barely reach.

The actors play to a knowing camera-audience. There is an amazing sequence in the elephant when the Duke first interrupts the writer and the inner play's cast makes up and acts out the play in front of us. This of course includes self-reference of the current situation. We are so swept up in the exuberance that we lose our place. What layer where we in?

(A talking sitar that can tell no lie? A narcoleptic Argentinian? The dadaist Latrec as the story's stable center? A connubial elephant? -- Glorious prostitution.)

The layer shuffling happens again with a more edgy and sinister tone with a Tango to Sting overlain with other music and emotions: the 'real' action with Satine and the Duke. We lose our detachment again because the layers of self-reference are juggled. The finale echos this.

Nicole does the best job of her career. She is so totally open here one worries for her -- I suppose this is the Emily Watson effect.

Baz is now among my top three directors. This is a near perfect film in execution. The one flaw comes from that perfection. Broadbent is a perfect Zidler. But he has played this same role before -- recently, and in a similarly nested play: 'Topsy Turvey'. It takes a small chip away from the originality if the film.

See this. See it twice in a row, the second time for the absinthe, and allow yourself to be ravished deeper than you knew you existed visually.

45 of 77 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2,374 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »



Australia | USA


English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

1 June 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Moulin Rouge See more »


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$167,540, 20 May 2001

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed