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Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

266 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this cleverly inspired twist on William Shakespeare's Hamlet, two of the outrageous supporting players take center stage for a dazzling game of illusion and reality that delivers one-of-a-kind entertainment! World Class Cast featuring Richard Dreyfuss (Mr. Holland's Opus, Jaws), Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction, Planet of the Apes) and Gary Oldman (Bram Stoker's Dracula, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

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Tom Stoppard's modern stage classic finds a pair of film actors worthy of its verbal japery and existential bewilderment: Gary Oldman and Tim Roth are deliciously locked in as the title characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. And yet it remains difficult to tell which one is Rosencrantz and which Guildenstern--even they seem unsure--a clever part of Stoppard's ingenious design. Focusing on a pair of unremarkable characters from Hamlet, Stoppard sees the great play from their confused perspective. Now and again the action of Hamlet sweeps them up, but most of the time R&G are left wondering where they are, what they have been sent for, and why they can't remember anything that happened before the beginning of the play. Richard Dreyfuss (fittingly grandiloquent) is the Player King, who seems to know more about the ominous workings of fiction and tragedy than the heroes do. Stoppard's first outing as a film director is handsomely shot but uncertainly paced--although any time Oldman and Roth go into one of their tennis-match debates on probability, identity, or death, the movie crackles. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern may be the "indifferent children of the earth," but for this brief moment they deserve center stage. --Robert Horton


Special Features

  • Over 3 hours of new interviews with Tom Stoppard, Gary Oldman, Richard Dreyfuss, and Tim Roth
  • Still gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, Richard Dreyfuss, Livio Badurina, Tomislav Maretic
  • Directors: Tom Stoppard
  • Writers: Tom Stoppard, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Emanuel Azenberg, Iris Merlis, Louise Stephens, Michael Brandman, Patrick Whitley
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen, Surround Sound, Special Edition
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000777I88
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,219 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 119 people found the following review helpful By Kate on August 30, 2004
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Query: what are the minor characters in Hamlet doing when they are not actively engaged in carrying the plot forward? Answer: floundering around, not entirely clear as to who they are, and absolutely clueless about what is going on. I remember being electrified by the play's genius when I first read it six million years ago, and only stumbled on the film adaptation by chance while channel surfing in San Diego. The film is a gem. Gary Oldman is a treasure as Rosencrantz, a follower if ever there was one, innocently and accidentally discovering the laws of physics then shrugging them off. Rosencrantz is a trifle slow at times, and he doesn't seem to know- or care- whether he is Rosencrantz or Guildenstern. Mostly, he just wants to go home. Tim Roth is brilliant as Guildenstern, who does know who he is but doesn't know what he can do about it. The interactions and wordplay between these two are dazzling. Richard Dreyfuss is perfect as the slightly sinister Player. Dreyfuss tends to chew scenery which is entirely apt for this character. The production values are wonderful and you get a real feel for the ambience- cold Denmark, even in cold castles, where actors saying their lines can see their own breath. If you love drollery and wordplay and fine acting, this is your kind of movie.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Bakhtin on February 17, 2005
Format: DVD
I'm sure I'll be regurgitating what many of the other reviews have said, but this film is so darn good... I can't help myself.

Take two minor characters from Hamlet, and give them the existential philosophical foundation of Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" - and you have a masterpiece. The allusions, the ironies, the cultural references, the wordplay... brilliant. It all seems so very absurd - these two characters who don't know who or why they're really here - but we feel for them, because we see a hint of the universal human condition in them.

No matter what they do, the viewer KNOWS how Shakespeare's play unfolds, so we know their fate is sealed. They're destined to die very soon, and all they can do is try to make some sense of their existence before it happens. That's the human condition. That's us, even if we don't want to admit it.

The melancholy of Hamlet, the bleakness of Godot, and yet the play is still funny as hell! Stoppard's film does a wonderful job of using visual metaphor to accent the themes of his play, while still keeping the pace fast and the superb humor at the forefront.

Please give the film a try. If you like challenging, thought-provoking movies that still have you laughing... you'll dig this!
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78 of 86 people found the following review helpful By viagrafalls on June 13, 2002
This title got recommended to me by a female friend, who knew of my Gary Oldman fetish. I ordered it on VHS from the UK version of Amazon, and watched it the instant it arrived. Never before had I been so caught by a movie.
Partially because of both Oldman and Roth delivering awesome performances as Rosencrantz and Gildenstern respectively. (Or was it the other way around?), partially because of the amazing plot, and the great humour implemented in the movie.
So, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, both minor characters in Shakespear's Hamlet now star in their very own movie. They don't know what their purpose is, or who is who exactly. All they know is they were sent for.
It turns out the king of Denmark wants them to try and find out what happened to Hamlet, who doesn't seem to quite have it all together anymore. The plot thickens as Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are being drawn into a web of treason and politics, which they themselves, of course, never see coming.
The performance by Roth and Oldman is simply stunning. Both very convincingly draw attention to each other. Oldman as the slightly more naieve one discovering all kinds of scientific wonders, only to find them unappreciated by the more clever Roth, or being denied international scientific recognition by nature itself. (Some of these scenes are just hilarious, and those alone are worth buying the DVD).
The dialogue in the movie is truly amazing, although at times tough to understand (cause of the old English), so I'm kinda hoping the DVD will sport subtitles.
This is one of the two movies my collection has been patiently waiting for for a few years (Swing Kids being the other one). A definite 5 out of 5.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "eowyn797" on December 1, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This has got to be one of the smartest, most brilliantly written, most hillarious movies I've ever seen. Roth and Oldman have an incredible chemistry and create the most realistic friendship I've seen in quite some time. Stoppard's writing is amazingly funny and also steeped deeply in Shakespearian knowledge. If you know Shakespeare well, or Hamlet well, this movie is a special treat becasue it examines two of the seemingly most insignificant characters in an entirely new way. Of course, if you have never seen Hamlet or you don't know a lot about Shakespeare, this film also works on completely different levels, no less funny or entertaining. Rozencrantz & Guildenstern have their own story here, and it is told with incredible wit and preciseness. The game of questions and the continual destuction of all of Oldman's discoveries/inventions are alone worth seeing the movie for, but there is so much more here that will entertain ALL types of viewers (from the Shakespearians on down to the ShakeWHO?ians). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! I only wish it were out on DVD! or more readily avaliable on VHS :P
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Unfortunately no subtitles, not even English
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