6.3/10
34,405
265 user 105 critic

The Libertine (2004)

Trailer
2:01 | Trailer
The story of John Wilmot, a.k.a. the Earl of Rochester, a 17th century poet who famously drank and debauched his way to an early grave, only to earn posthumous critical acclaim for his life's work.

Director:

Laurence Dunmore

Writers:

Stephen Jeffreys (screenplay), Stephen Jeffreys (play)
2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp ... Rochester
Paul Ritter ... Chiffinch
John Malkovich ... Charles II
Stanley Townsend ... Keown
Francesca Annis ... Countess
Rosamund Pike ... Elizabeth Malet
Tom Hollander ... Etherege
Johnny Vegas ... Sackville
Richard Coyle ... Alcock
Tom Burke ... Vaughan
Hugh Sachs ... Ratcliffe
Rupert Friend ... Downs
Kelly Reilly ... Jane
Jack Davenport ... Harris
Trudi Jackson ... Rose
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Storyline

In 1660, with the return of Charles II to the English throne, theater, the visual arts, science and sexual promiscuity flourish. Thirteen years later, in the midst of political and economical problems, Charles II orders the return of his friend John Wilmot, aka the second Earl of Rochester, from exile back to London. John is a morally-corrupt drunkard and a debauched, cynical poet. When the King asks John to prepare a play for the French ambassador so as to please him, John meets the aspiring actress Elizabeth Barry in the playhouse and decides to make her into a great star. He falls in love with her and she becomes his mistress. During the presentation to the King and the French ambassador, John falls into disgrace with the court. When he is thirty-three years old and dying of syphilis and alcoholism, he converts to being a religious man. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He didn't resist temptation. He pursued it.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality including dialogue, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of costume designer Dien van Straalen and production designer Ben van Os. Van Os worked on Dark Blood (2012), which was released after The Libertine, but was made in 1993. See more »

Goofs

The prologue and epilogue have the Earl-as-Narrator mentioning "gonads" (a word not coined until almost 1880), and remembering the circumstances of his own death. This part of the movie is meant to break the fourth wall. The narrating Earl knows he is speaking to a 21st-century audience. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Rochester: Allow me to be frank at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on. Ladies, an announcement: I am up for it, all the time. That is not a boast or an opinion, it is bone hard medical fact. I put it round you know. And you will watch me putting it round and sigh for it. Don't. It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to Tracy, Billy and Stanley and all our Friends and Families See more »

Connections

Featured in The Hour: Episode #7.77 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Rochester's Farewell
(uncredited)
(end title theme)
Music by Michael Nyman
Text by Stephen Jeffreys
Performed by Hilary Summers (contralto)
See more »

User Reviews

 
Powerful, repulsive, compelling, magnificent
21 September 2004 | by filmbuff2See all my reviews

This wasn't a glamorized period costume drama that Hollywood loves to overdo and it wasn't NC-17 for nothing! There was some technical roughness and lack of continuity but they were minor quibbles in what I considered a triumph. The mood, the sets and cinematography, the script and, most of all, the acting were all of the highest and most innovative caliber. Depp was in almost every scene and was fascinating beyond anything I'd ever experienced. His force and range of emotion and naturalness were exceptionally powerful and moving from first to last. You hated him and loved him, were repulsed by him and felt pity for him. You were drawn to him almost against your will, like a vortex pulling you in. All else paled in comparison. This was a Johnny Depp that I'd never seen before but so hope I have a chance to again. This performance is the crowning glory to date of his illustrious career and I see no limits to what he can accomplish in the future. Everyone else was uniformly excellent although Samantha Morton didn't portray the allure the Elizabeth Barry in the play had.

My primary recommendation for improving this work in progress before theatrical release center around clarifying motivations up front for why these people were the way they were. This could be done by a combination of edits and additions. I found I liked it even better and was more moved by it the second time I saw it when I wasn't concentrating as much on following the storyline.

This was a movie I loved and can't get it out of my mind. It was stunning and compelling beyond anything I've seen in a very long while.


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Details

Country:

UK | Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 March 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Libertine See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,804, 27 November 2005

Gross USA:

$4,835,065

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,852,064
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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