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Shakespeare in Love (1998)

A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

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Won 7 Oscars. Another 56 wins & 88 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Tim McMullan ...
Frees (as Tim McMullen)
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Steven Beard ...
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Patrick Barlow ...
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Sandra Reinton ...
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Bridget McConnell ...
Lady in Waiting (as Bridget McConnel)
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Lady in Waiting
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Storyline

Will Shakespeare is a known but struggling poet, playwright and actor who not only has sold his next play to both Philip Henslow and Richard Burbidge but now faces a far more difficult problem: he is bereft of ideas and has yet to begin writing. He is in search of his muse, the woman who will inspire him but all attempts fail him until he meets the beautiful Viola de Lesseps. She loves the theatre and would like nothing more than to take to the stage but is forbidden from doing so as only men can be actors. She is also a great admirer of Shakespeare's works. Dressing as a man and going by the name of Thomas Kent, she auditions and is ideal for a part in his next play. Shakespeare soon sees through her disguise and they begin a love affair, one they know cannot end happily for them as he is already married and she has been promised to the dour Lord Wessex. As the company rehearses his new play, Will and Viola's love is transferred to the written page leading to the masterpiece that is ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Love is the only inspiration See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

8 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shakespeare apasionado  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,224,426 (USA) (10 January 1999)

Gross:

$100,317,794 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point, when speaking to some prostitutes in the tavern, Will jokingly refers to himself as "William the Conqueror". William the Conqueror, of course, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. Will's line in the film was most likely inspired by one of the few surviving contemporary anecdotes recorded about Shakespeare. Lawyer John Manningham wrote in his diary in 1602 that when Richard Burbage had played Richard III in Shakespeare's play, a woman in the audience was so smitten with him, that she "appointed him to come that night unto her by the name of Richard the Third". Shakespeare overheard the invitation, and went to the woman before Burbage, and "was entertained and at his game ere Burbage came". When Burbage eventually showed up at the door, Shakespeare let him know that "William the Conqueror was before Richard the Third". See more »

Goofs

Viola hears the cock crow and refers to it as a rooster. The word rooster is not recorded before 1772 and is said to be an American coinage to avoid the associations of the older word. Even today it is rarely used in the UK. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Philip Henslowe: [screams in pain]
Hugh Fennyman: Henslowe! Do you know what happens to a man who doesn't pay his debts? His boots catch fire!
Philip Henslowe: [screams]
Hugh Fennyman: Why do you howl when it is I who am bitten?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Game Night: Clue Boom-Boom Pow (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Play & the Marriage
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Warbeck
Performed by Catherine Bott
Conducted by Nick Ingman
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User Reviews

An Abundance of Riches
20 June 1999 | by See all my reviews

A romantic comedy does not get much better than Shakespeare in Love. Here is a movie that captures the feel of England 400 years ago. It is romantic yet light. It is funny but is complex enough to provide enjoyment for fans of literature.

The sets of England 400 years ago, the costumes and the character's makeup including their bad dental work were just right. You could almost smell those streets. The hero, Shakespeare, is excellently played by Joseph Fiennes. He is sympathetic but never pathetic. As for Gwyneth Paltrow, she shows her range from boyishness to radiance. This is the first film I have seen her in where I believed she could become a great actress. There is also a great supporting cast, especially Judi Dench, who all have good melodramatic and comic instincts.

The film never plods. The screenplay is rich with romance, emotion and action. The plot weaves several stories and themes. You can enjoy it as a simple love story with some action and basic suspense about producing a play or you can get much deeper into movie's complex tapestry of ideas and in jokes. But most importantly the film's mood is always light and is never overblown (unlike another recent movie about unfulfilled love, Great Expectations).

Deserving of its Oscar, this is simply a great film.


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