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Orlando (1993)

Tilda Swinton , Billy Zane , Sally Potter  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, Quentin Crisp, John Bott, Elaine Banham
  • Directors: Sally Potter
  • Writers: Sally Potter, Virginia Woolf
  • Producers: Christopher Sheppard, Jean Gontier, Laurie Borg, Luigi Musini, Lynn Hanke
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 1999
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767827694
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,687 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Orlando" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane and Quentin Crisp star in this "hip, sexy and wickedly funny" film based on the gender-bending novel by Virginia Woolf. Swinton stars as Orlando, an English nobleman who defies the law of nature with surprising results. Immortal and highly imaginative, he undergoes a series of extraordinary transformations which humorously and hauntingly illustrate the eternal war between the sexes. Visually stunning and beautifully acted, ORLANDO is an intoxicating blend of romance, adventure and illusion.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Part man, part woman, all good February 4, 2001
This is an amazing, ironic film, based upon Virginia Woolf's whimsically mock-serious epic about an immortal English lord, who experiences 400 years of history, changes his sex to that of a woman after refusing to participate in warfare (a feminist point that is subtly made), and never bores or condescends to us. What surprised me when I first saw it is how dry, boring and pompous it isn't; the film has a nice lightness and dry humor that make it digestible. The photography is beautiful and the film never drags, and the performances, which a lot of critics have suggested are somewhat two-dimensional, are that way for a reason: Orlando's adventure is too awesome to be rendered realistically; the people and adventures she experiences are meant, I think, to be represented symbolically---each character is actually a rough composite of perhaps hundreds of such types she meets in her journey from 1600 to 2000. Billy Zane, who is seen in the movie's poster, plays an American adventurer who romances the female Orlando, but to all of his "Titanic" fans, a word of caution: he's in the film for roughly twenty-five minutes, if that much. The real star of the show is the ethereally lovely, brilliant, and mysterious Tilda Swinton, whose male Orlando is unnervingly convincing; so much so that "he" almost seems to be doing a drag bit once the sex change happens---and because Swinton is so eye-pleasing and delightful, this is not a bad thing. Her intelligence and talent radiate from her face, which is so expressive that many shots consist simply of gigantic closeups of it---she can say more with a gaze than many lesser performers do with a page of dialogue. Read more ›
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming farce of androgynous exploration.... December 17, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
First let it be said that while I love the film Orlando it is simply impossible to get all the themes and events of the novel into one movie, so I strongly urge all viewers, whether they loved or hated this movie, to read the book, Virginia Woolf's unique love letter to Vita Sackville-West.
The inevitable failings involved in translating a book into a film aside, 'Orlando' is visually exsquisite, the costumes and locations sumptuous and splendid, fully evoking the decadance and contrasting squalor of the centuries in which Orlando lives his/her life. The score perfectly compliments the surroundings, the atmosphere and the themes of each scene, and is beautifully composed and performed.
Though some have expressed doubts over Tilda Swinton's ability to play Orlando, the aristocrat born as man who turns into a woman half way through his/her life, I thought she was the perfect choice. I believe knowing she is a woman initially taints people's ability to find her convincing as a man; to me she played the part with great charm, amiability and empathy, and became even more charming as a woman - the character of Orlando at this stage in 'her' life becoming more rounded, more sympathetic, more knowledgable and Swinton captures that well.
This film does not follow the 'rules' of the 'real' world - besides changing genders, Orlando lives for 400 years and does not age a day. It is the story of a pursuit for life, for meaning, by one individual determined to discover what that means. Accept it, and enjoy.
In its attempt to capture the most important of the book's events the film does have a slight recurring bump in continuity, it seems, and will no doubt be pretentious and boring to some, if not many. Nonetheless, Orlando is a sometimes humorous, sometimes haunting movie, thought provoking and richly realised.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites. March 13, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Finally got this one on DVD after nearly wearing out my VHS copy. Sally Potter is one of the best directors and of course Tilda Swinton in the title role is mesmerizing in every way. Although a sharp departure from Virginia Woolf's source material, it retains the spirit and scope of the novel. Orlando's tranformation from man to woman half way through is a beautiful moment. Swinton proudly naked and observing herself in the mirror looks directly into the camera and says "no difference really, just a different sex" it brilliantly blurs the line between what it means to be a man and woman. And when I say blur, I mean it in a good way. The gender, sexual orientation and race lines all need to be blurred until they disappear. Orland is a good salvo in that war.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful. Strange, but beautiful December 12, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The movie starts with Tilda Swinton playing Orlando, a male role (so far), and Quentin Crisp playing Queen Elizabeth. Already, physical sex and social gender have been neatly divided. Later on, Orlando abruptly transforms from man to woman with no reason or mechanism given. S/he takes it in stride, but her place in her social world changes around her. Given the magical premise, it's an effective way to comment on the attitudes of men and women towards each other, based on complete and mutual ignorance.

There was only one small problem with the casting. Swinton is just too lovely a woman to play even an androgynous male convincingly. It took some effort to go along with Tilda the man, but it was worth it for the sake of the plot.

And, if nothing else, I could always watch the incredible costuming and scenery. Architecture and landscaping seemed to have quiet lives of their own, tolerating the people that moved among them. Many scenes were chosen for strong, almost confrontational symmetries, something that definitely attracted my attention. Another scene near the end actually costumed the landscape, Christo-like, for reasons I never worked out. There were a number of night scenes, too, and many seemed to be filmed using natural light. Those scenes often had a grainy look, but not enough to be distracting.

This is an odd movie, but I like it. Swinton's little asides to the camera, sometimes just a glance, added a quirky note. It's a thoughtful movie, about tone and appearance rather than action, and delivers well in those areas. However much I like it, though, I come away a bit unsure what to make of it. Maybe that's why I keep coming back to it.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 12 days ago by Stoney
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Like Highlander...for Chicks.
The film differs from Virginia Woolf's book, as do so many film adaptions, but it seems to work. Orlando, born a man, scorned by a Russian aristocrat and longing hopelessly for... Read more
Published 1 month ago by William S. Lloyd
1.0 out of 5 stars USELESS PURCHASE
Apparently this DVD can not be played on a DVD player in Europe !!!!
I discovered this afterwards, which was a pitty !
Published 3 months ago by Paul Straelen
1.0 out of 5 stars Weird
This movie was really weird and hard to follow. Good luck to anyone else who tries to watch it too.
Published 3 months ago by Callie Saulniers
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and mind blowing
A gender bending, mind blowing and compelling story that spans 400 years! love, loss and maturity, all told in a way never seen and seldom copied. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Peter Jaxon
3.0 out of 5 stars I like it, but it is SO STRANGE
I bought the video on the strength of seeing a preview which intrigued me. It is definitely well-made and intriguing, but it is one of the weirdest shows I have ever watched.
Published 5 months ago by Beckett Shiona
5.0 out of 5 stars cool
i saw this movie along time ago and i decided to buy it. love the character and cast. love the story and love the ending
Published 5 months ago by tigeress2010
1.0 out of 5 stars Too confusing and hard to follow
Too confusing and hard to follow. The story line was somewhat interesting but the time line didn't make sense and neither did the ending.
Published 6 months ago by Maria Juarez
5.0 out of 5 stars Immortal Orlando
Purely for the amazing acting and presence of actress Tilda Swinton, this film is testimony of her early acting chops. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Camera newbie
5.0 out of 5 stars A dreamlike film of identity beyond gender
This is a dream of a film, lush, ambiguous, appealing to the senses, while it creates a world of its own internal consistencies. Read more
Published 8 months ago by C. B Collins Jr.
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