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Product Details

  • Actors: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall
  • Directors: Roland Emmerich
  • Writers: John Orloff
  • Producers: Charlie Woebcken, Christoph Fisser, Henning Molfenter, John Orloff, Kirstin Winkler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (255 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0068MNO4S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,753 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Anonymous" on IMDb

Special Features

Commentary with Director Roland Emmerich and Writer John Orloff
Who Is The Real William Shakespeare?

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, Anonymous speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds... who was the author of the plays credited to William Shakespeare? Anonymous poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when cloak-and-dagger political intrigue, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles hungry for the power were exposed in the most unlikely of places: the London stage.

Amazon.com

Historical romp Anonymous takes an academic controversy (did the man named Shakespeare write the plays attributed to him?) and whips it into a lurid melodrama, crammed with political intrigue, heaving bosoms, flashing swordplay, conspiracies, forced marriage, incest, and more. Towards the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans, Enduring Love), seeks an outlet for his poetic drive: he tries to get the playwright Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) to present his plays as Jonson's own. Jonson is reluctant to undercut his own work… but his friend, a vainglorious illiterate actor by the name of William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall), happily claims the glory when Oxford's plays prove hugely popular. But the real story of Anonymous isn't about authorship, it's about machinations to capture the throne of England when Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave) dies. Wily counselors vie with dashing secret heirs, royal dallying leads to shocking secrets, and supposedly the plays are inextricably caught up in it all--except that they're not, really, and so Anonymous, for all its clever plotting and lush production values, falls flat by the end. Still, it's an enjoyable confection up to then, and showcases some lovely (if woefully historically inaccurate--the mosh-pit moment is delightfully preposterous) presentations of bits of the plays. Also featuring David Thewlis (Naked) and Joely Richardson, daughter of Ms. Redgrave, playing the younger Elizabeth. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

It really makes you think but I don't want to give too much away.
MightyMe87
The movie gives a very dramatic theory as to who really wrote the works of Shakespeare and it was very entertaining.
Danny
Great movie...the acting, cinematography, costuming, and locales were excellent.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

194 of 239 people found the following review helpful By L. Power TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 27, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I always accepted the idea that Shakespeare wrote his own plays, and considered anything to the contrary to be merely speculation not fact. So, the premise-what if Shakespeare never wrote a word, I found not to be appealing.

Upon reading some good reviews, I decided to see it, and found it to be a high quality production and a wonderful experience. Director Roland Emmerich previously directed 2012, and Independence Day, and writer John Orloff previously wrote some episodes of Band of Brothers, and as you watch this movie you will realise this term BoB originated with Shakespeare.

Anonymous proposes the Earl of Oxford wrote all the plays, anonymously donated them to Ben Johnson, a well known writer of the time for him to take credit. Then an uncouth illiterate actor, named Shakespeare steps in to claim the credit. The peer remained anonymous for reasons of social acceptability.

Another reason he may have remained anonymous which I totally loved was the parallel structure between what happened in the plays, and the real life events of the courtiers and Queen Elizabeth. Cecil, the courtier villain in this movie is a hunchback (historical fact), and brother in law of the Earl of Oxford. Richard 3 in Shakespeare's play is a hunchback, so the play becomes a social satire.

A scene where a man is stabbed through a curtain mirrors a scene in Hamlet. A usurped heir is sent to Ireland, and there is a plot to kill him, similar to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet.

Emmerich's direction gives Anonymous a much grander scope.
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139 of 183 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Richard M. Waugaman on December 28, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Roland Emmerich's new film, Anonymous, is inspired by the same theory that gripped Sigmund Freud during the last dozen years of his life--that "William Shakespeare" was the pseudonym and front man of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (1550-1604). When you see this film and ponder its thesis, I hope you will remind yourself that Freud was passionately intrigued by the likelihood that de Vere was Shakespeare. Before long, I predict Freud will be vindicated. The film has generated much debate, some of it acrimonious. Yet the Anonymous website has a poll showing that only 51% of visitors still believe the traditional author wrote the canon.

When his wife Anne pleads with de Vere to stop writing plays, he replies, "The voices! I can't stop them. They come to me. I would go mad if I didn't write down what the voices say." This is an intriguing surmise about de Vere's creative process, as though his Muse speaks to him aloud. In fact, I suspect that some form of unusual awareness and tolerance of multiple self states plays a crucial role for some literary geniuses such as de Vere.

Psychoanalysts are in a unique position to elucidate the psychology of literary anonymity and pseudonymity. The evidence suggests that keeping one's authorship secret helps promote what Keats called Shakespeare's "negative capability"--keeping his own identity in the background as he created hundreds of utterly convincing characters. In a sense, Edward de Vere's most magical character of all was his pseudonym and front man, "William Shakespeare." With some likely assistance from the man from Stratford, this character lives on for most people more vividly than does de Vere himself. Why did de Vere have to conceal his authorship? For many reasons. Nobility did not write for the common theater.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bruce A. Fichelson on February 4, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Highly recommend this film. Rhys Ifans is fantastic and the screenplay is outstanding. Very underrated and fascinating take on Shakespeare.
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Charity Bishop on March 22, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
This film has Elizabethan and Shakespearian scholars alike up in arms, because it suggests that the great, learned man known as William Shakespeare may not have written his own plays. I am a scholar of Elizabeth, and I saw it with a scholar of Shakespeare. Both of us were offended... and both of us were impressed.

Poet Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) has been dragged into the Tower of London for concealing the politically motivated plays of the late, lamented William Shakespeare. His belief that they have burn down with the Globe Theater sends the audience into earlier times, and the artistic merits of the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans). A man of title but no longer a fortune thanks to his debts and his insistence upon writing, he searches for a name to put with his voice. Ben seems the ideal choice, a poet of little regard and no actual voice, a playwright whose works are of little account. But he is offended at the notion of putting his name to another man's plays and passes the manuscript along to William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall), an actor who snatches up the opportunity to become famous. His plays swiftly come to the attention of the aging Elizabeth Tudor (Vanessa Redgrave), who recalls a much earlier time when she was similarly impressed by the Earl's works.

Their romance (Joely Richardson, Jamie Campbell Bower) plays out against the political scheming of her advisors, among whom is the hunchbacked Robert Cecil (Edward Hogg). Much later, the Earl of Oxford intends to influence the decision of the queen as to which of her heirs will inherit the throne -- and the play Richard III will incite the peasants against her trusted advisor. What results is a clever blending of actual events and fictitious conclusions.
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