139 user 289 critic

Anonymous (2011)

PG-13 | | Drama, Thriller | 28 October 2011 (UK)
7:58 | Trailer

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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
4,662 ( 1,730)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 8 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 »



UK | Germany | USA

Release Date:

28 October 2011 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Anónimo See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,012,768, 30 October 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | Datasat



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Because he's famous for directing disaster movies, most of which feature famous buildings being destroyed, Roland Emmerich was jokingly asked by journalists if he was going to "blow up the Globe theater" when making this film. See more »


After a successful performance of one of "his" plays, William Shakespeare takes a bow then falls into the audience where he crowd surfs. We believe that this is a 20th Century phenomenon as Joe "King" Carrasco appears in the first documented video of crowd surfing in the 1981 Rock Video "Party Weekend". See more »


Ben Jonson: You are the soul of the age... Undeniable perfection that plagued my soul.
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 »


Referenced in Brows Held High: Mr. Nobody and Living in Bad Faith (2015) 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Anonymous is interesting, but not totally satisfactory
1 March 2012 | by ArgemalucoSee all my reviews

As an aficionado to the literature about conspiracies, "hidden knowledge" and more historical curiosities of a doubtful veracity, I have read a little bit about the theories which propose the falsehood of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) as an author of the plays, poems and sonnets which made him such famous...and I honestly don't find them very convincing theories. Even without being a historian, and without being able to confirm the contradictions about dates and places, it's clear to me that the focal point of these "conspiracies" is simply claiming that Shakespeare couldn't have written the most acclaimed English literature for not having the necessary social connections, education and culture in order to achieve that. In other words, those investigators suggest the fact that the greatness from a person is determined by his/her money or social position, and that it's impossible for any "commoner" to possess the necessary talent in order to stand out in his/her occupation. Under that logic, every millionaire person should be an artistic and scientific genius.

The film Anonymous tried to examine that hypothesis about Shakespere, and even though I liked it, I think its screenplay should have been better polished, because its frequent chronological jumps, court intrigues and numerous characters make it occasionally a bit confusing and tiring. Nevertheless, I have to admit that Anonymous generally kept me interested.

Anonymous recreates London in 16th century with an absolute realism and attention to every detail; from the mud on the floor to the extraordinary replica of the Globe theatre, all the visual elements are brilliant, even though they occasionally draw more attention than the necessary. The narrative aspect also suffers from some excesses, and I think that the film could have been a bit shorter by deleting some of the most tangled plans from the villains (or even from the heroes).

The whole cast from Anonymous brings solid performances, highlighting Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave and Rafe Spall. So, in conclusion, I think Anonymous deserves a moderate recommendation despite some tiring moments, because it generally kept me interested.

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