150 user 293 critic

Anonymous (2011)

PG-13 | | Drama, Thriller | 28 October 2011 (UK)
7:58 | Trailer
The theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, who penned Shakespeare's plays. Set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex rebellion against her.


Roland Emmerich


John Orloff
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Rhys Ifans ... Earl of Oxford
Vanessa Redgrave ... Queen Elizabeth I
Sebastian Armesto ... Ben Jonson
Rafe Spall ... William Shakespeare
David Thewlis ... William Cecil
Edward Hogg ... Robert Cecil
Xavier Samuel ... Earl of Southampton
Sam Reid ... Earl of Essex (as Sebastian Reid)
Jamie Campbell Bower ... Young Earl of Oxford
Joely Richardson ... Young Queen Elizabeth I
Paolo De Vita Paolo De Vita ... Francesco
Trystan Gravelle ... Christopher Marlowe
Robert Emms ... Thomas Dekker
Tony Way ... Thomas Nashe
Julian Bleach ... Captain Richard Pole


Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, is presented as the real author of Shakespeare's works. Edward's life is followed through flashbacks from a young child, through to the end of his life. He is portrayed as a child prodigy who writes and performs A Midsummer Night's Dream for a young Elizabeth I. A series of events sees his plays being performed by a frontman, Shakespeare. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Was Shakespeare a Fraud?


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


John Orloff wrote the script back in 1998, but the project never took off at that time because of the release of the other Shakespeare-related movie, Shakespeare in Love (1998). The project was then restarted back in 2005, when Roland Emmerich saw the script, but it only got the go ahead in early 2010 after additional research and revision. See more »


(at around 1h 50 mins) When Jonson is thrown out of The Globe, the Earl of Oxford's man's image is printed backward with the Earl's Crest reversed and on the right breast rather than the left breast and the buttons on the suit backward, because the image was flopped in editing. See more »


Ben Jonson: My lord, I... I am not worthy of this charge. I betrayed you.I told them of your...
Earl of Oxford: I have made it my life's work to know the character of men, Jonson. I know you. You may have betrayed me... but you will never betray my words.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Apart from the production companies, the only opening credit is the movie's title, displayed on the marquee of the prologue's theater. See more »


Featured in Brows Held High: Anonymous (2014) See more »


Night of the Long Knives
Written by Byrd & David Hirschfelder (as Hirschfelder)
Performed by David Hirschfelder
Courtesy of The Decca Music Group
Under licence from Universal Music Operations Ltd.
See more »

User Reviews

Hysteria His Story or To Thine Own Self Be False
1 November 2011 | by jadepietroSee all my reviews

This film is not recommended.

With apologies to Shakespeare, the true talent, thus, my feeble attempt at (mostly) iambic pentameter:

Anonymous, a film of cheese and ham, Questions the legend of Shakespeare, William, Whose work it claims the sole property of, Edward DeVere's, Earl, and a class above, Theory and conjecture, Will's name to malign, A film not noble, literate, or refined, Its tale quite shallow, protesting too much, Spouting nonsense, drivel, dreck, and such.

A production with much to admire, Before all logic begins to expire, Sensationally, a work of fiction, Unconvincing in its own conviction, Visual spectacle, or farce, perhaps, Intelligence and wit well nigh elapse, Although I may seem to kvetch and complain, This film ultimately doth entertain.

The thespians display their skills and crafts, While unintentionally providing laughs, Over-emoting as they misbehave, The likes of Jacobi and Ladies Redgrave, Rhys Ifans well plays lover and writer, Were only Orloff's script a bit tighter, Rafe Spall's the bard as wretched sot, an eyeful, Poor Will should sue for slander and libel.

Disaster, thine mainstay of Emmerich, Part director, part showman, his prime niche, For depth and clarity, he will not delve, Note: Independence Day and 2012, Whilst not the disaster we've come to expect, The film has little to awe or respect, It plays fast with the facts, and offers nil, Except sets, that in some measure, fulfill.

With all its pomp and expensive wrappings, Lavish costumes doth not disguise its trappings, But thy foul temper and malaise spills forth, Yielding a vile film of lesser worth, A ill-conceived venture, shrill, and unkind, Outlandishly ornate and out of its mind, A stylish film, yet so misbegotten, One hopes Anonymous is soon well forgotten.


NOTE: Visit my movie blog for more reviews: www.dearmoviegoer.com

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Frequently Asked Questions

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UK | Germany | USA

Release Date:

28 October 2011 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Anonymous See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,021,768, 30 October 2011

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | Datasat



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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