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The Merchant of Venice (2004)

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In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.

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(play), (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: James Foley
Stars: Al Pacino, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Jerry Barone
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Shylock
... Antonio
... Bassanio
... Portia
... Jessica
... Gratiano
... Lorenzo
... Nerissa
... Launcelot Gobbo
... Salerio
... Solanio
... Old Gobbo
... Tubal
... The Duke
... Prince of Morocco
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Storyline

Venice, 1596. Melancholy Antonio loves the youthful Bassanio, so when Bassanio asks for 3000 ducats, Antonio says yes before knowing it's to sue for the hand of Portia. His capital tied up in merchant ships at sea, Antonio must go to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender he reviles. Shylock wraps his grudge in kindness, offering a three-month loan at no interest, but if not repaid, Antonio will owe a pound of flesh. The Jew's daughter elopes with a Christian, whetting Shylock's hatred. While Bassanio's away wooing Portia, Antonio's ships founder, and Shylock demands his pound of flesh. With court assembled and a judgment due, Portia swings into action to save Bassanio's friend. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

MGM [UK] | Sony Pictures Classics |  »

Country:

| | |

Language:

Release Date:

18 February 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£147,709 (United Kingdom), 5 December 2004, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$69,868, 2 January 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,765,585

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$32,000,000, 6 May 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original play script opens with Antonio, Salarino, and Salanio on a Venice street. It does not open with the scene show at the beginning of the movie where the Jews are being persecuted, and Antonio spits on Shylock. See more »

Goofs

In Venice in 1598 a woman with no head-dress and her hair flowing loose would be taken for a whore, yet this is how Portia frequently appears. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: Intolerance of the Jews was a fact of 16th Century life even in Venice, the most powerful and liberal city state in Europe.
Title Card: By law the Jews were forced to live in the old walled foundry or 'Geto' area of the city. After sundown the gate was locked and guarded by Christians
Title Card: In the daytime any man leaving the ghetto had to wear a red hat to mark him as a Jew.
Man in Crowd: Usurer! Usurer!
Title Card: The Jews were forbidden to own property. So they practised usury, the lending of money at interest. This was ...
[...]
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Connections

Version of Venetsian kauppias (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Ghetto
Vocals by Uri Yehuda
Violin(s): Gabrielle Lester, Ian Humphries, Jonathan Evans-Jones, Julian Leaper, Karin Leishman, Maya Megub (Maya Magub), Paul Willey
With David Juritz, Leader
Published By Shylock Ltd. / EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
© 2004 Decca Music Group Limited
(p) Jocelyn Pook Ltd. /2004 Decca Music Group Limited
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent and Must see
12 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

It is a risky business to film such a lavish production of "The Merchant of Venice". It could be a stodgy, wooden, period piece, or it could be laughable for its excesses. This version is neither. While I am not completely sold by Al Pancino's very restrained Shylock, he does give a competent and honorable performance. Jeremy Iron's Antonio, is as always with his tortured-self roles, riveting. Some of the lesser roles seemed to be a little to much in the spirit of boisterous fun, "a boy's own Venician adventure story", but the central plot is efficiently and sympathetically moved forward through the film.

It goes without saying, that the location shots, costumes, and interiors were breathtaking, almost to the point of distraction.

One thing, on which I do not wish to comment on, is the anti-semetic content of the play. The film is as sympathetic to the predicament of the Jews as possible while still portraying Shylock as the instrument of his own self-destruction. It is a sad comment that four centuries later, the director of this film found it necessary to comment on his nuanced view before the premiere screening at the Toronto film fest.

This is a beautiful film, and I look forward to several viewings.


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