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.

Director:

Roland Emmerich

Writer:

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

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Was Shakespeare a Fraud?

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first major full-length international motion picture to be shot with Arri Alexa high-definition digital-video cameras and the first ARRI Alexa shot movie to be produced in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. See more »

Goofs

The witches from Macbeth are seen performing on stage for a production during Elizabeth's reign. Macbeth was a play written for and when James I was on the English throne. See more »

Quotes

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.
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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 »

Connections

Referenced in Special Collector's Edition: Mentiras arriesgadas (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

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.
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User Reviews

Was Shakespeare a front?
31 October 2011 | by PWNYCNYSee all my reviews

Was William Shakespeare a front for an aristocrat who did not want his name revealed as the author? This movie is about political intrigue and how theater gets caught up in a larger struggle for power. The movie offers an interesting and controversial portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I and a glimpse of life in England at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The printing press was becoming a political weapon and those who published could influence the public, maybe to the point of rebellion. Hence, the need of the government to control what was being performed on stage. The stage served the same function of television does today. It was the medium of mass entertainment, which made the playwright a critical player in the politics of the time. Now, if Shakespeare was a front, then the question is: who wrote all these plays? Maybe it doesn't matter who actually wrote the plays but then again, maybe it does matter because by knowing the author, this may lead to new interpretations of the plays. Maybe these plays were political polemics produced under the guise of historical drama. Whatever the case, one thing is for certain: these plays made an impact on society that continues to reverberate to this day.

One other point. This movie is a work of fiction and so if it is loose with certain historical facts, so what? This movie is not a documentary. Rather, it is a fictional historical drama that revolves around a controversial and even shocking plot. Whether Shakespeare is the actual author of the works attributed to him is not the point. That is a matter for debate. What is the point is whether the movie works as a movie. The story is complex, yet the movie manages to engage the audience through strong acting and by presenting a story crammed with political intrigue. Who can say for certain what was going on in England 500 years ago? It is all a matter for speculation, based upon the available historical material, all of which is subject to interpretation. The idea of English writers bickering and fighting over the authorship of plays may seem trite and far fetched, but the conflict makes for good drama, even if it is pure fiction.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | USA

Release Date:

28 October 2011 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Anonymous See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,021,768, 30 October 2011

Gross USA:

$4,463,292

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,395,087
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | Datasat

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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