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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

15 customer reviews

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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: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: eOne Films
  • Release Date: March 29 2005
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000777I88
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #23,057 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

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)

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

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Allison on March 8 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I found this movie to be incredibly clever, and wonderfully witty. I strongly recommend not only watching this movie, but watch it twice, or more if you get the chance. Every additional viewing brings out additional dimensions in the story.
I came across the VHS at the library, while looking for some light entertainment for a slow weeknight. Having read the paperback, which I enjoyed thoroughly, I was quite excited to be able to check this out.
The first time I watched it, I found it quite entertaining, although occasionally hard to follow. Watching it a second time was much more enjoyable than the first, with the minor confusion that occasionally occurred during the first viewing becoming much clearer.
Even my eight-year-old daughter was taken in by the magic of the movie, delighted at concepts like the chance of flipping a coin heads - how many times in a row? And trying to learn the question game to play with her best friend.
Overall, this is a classic that belongs in everyone's movie library! Be prepared, though, to watch it again and again!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. Chevalier on Aug. 31 2006
Format: DVD
One of the most important plays of the 1960s, Tom Stoppard's *Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead* saw new life with this Stoppard-directed film version. Gary Oldman and Tim Roth cracked the North American market with this one, and Richard Dreyfuss shines in one of his best roles. The supporting cast, including the creepy Czech theatre troupe Dreyfuss leads, are also great. So why only four stars? Well...*R & G* is not the easiest play to fathom, if you don't pick up on the premise right away. Much of the humour either is quite deadpan, quite intellectual, or depends on your knowledge of *Hamlet* (and Shakespeare in general). That in itself doesn't be a hurdle--and the actors deliver the jokes admirably. Stoppard also takes advantage of the film medium to add clever staging (the famous tennis-court scene, for example) and sight gags (such as the running joke that the seemingly-dimwitted Rosencrantz keeps stumbling upon important scientific breakthroughs--only no one notices). But Stoppard obviously felt that he needed to provide more of a context for his offstage characters than he has in the play; consequently, there are long stretches of scenes from *Hamlet* itself that are overheard by R & G, but which are somewhat tedious simply because we aren't supposed to be watching a film of *Hamlet*, and we end up watching two people watching a play. The scene in which Rosencrantz watches an entire scene between Polonius and Claudius, but can only see their feet, seems just poorly mounted and carries on far too long. In the same way, the Chinese-box setup of the play-within-the-play has a clever payoff, but takes what seems like ages to set up (and we keep watching the plot of *Hamlet* unfold, in mime, about three times).Read more ›
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By bernie TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 1 2006
Format: DVD
The scene closes in on Rosencrantz & Guildenstern or is it Guildenstern & Rosencrantz discussing the odds of a flipped coin coming up heads. What seems to be a casual curiosity is the setting for the eventual outcome of the story. If the names sound familiar then you will recognize them from the play "Hamlet". Their story was never fully told until now.

Through out the film we get snippets of Hamlet and visions of what is to come. The real fun is in the fact that the dialog and the actors could have easily been seamlessly slipped into the original play.

Their play on words not only matches Shakespeare but a good dose of Lewis Carroll; "Toes on the other hand","Don't you mean the other foot?"

Disperses through the story Rosencrantz (Gary Oldman) makes all the great discoveries from gravity to flight to steam engines and so forth. Every time he goes to show them to Guildenstern (Tim Roth) they are overlooked, or dismissed.

The only person that was a tad over the top, acting like he was acting wad Richard Dreyfuss as the leader of the acting troop. However this is one movie that you can get away with it.
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Format: VHS Tape
I see something new in this film every time I watch it.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two minor characters in Hamlet. Tom Stoppard has made them central characters in his play. Hamlet 'happens' around them and they are haplessly dragged along. They comedically struggle to figure out their identities and how they came to be in their surroundings. They play mindless games of questions to help pass the time..interspersed with discoveries of various Newtonian principles and the occasional disruption that occurs as 'Hamlet', the play, unfolds around them (Notice the pages that flutter by them every so often as Shakespeare's drama progresses).
A basic understanding of "Hamlet" would be helpful in watching this film. It is cast perfectly and is wonderful to watch unfold, over and over again.
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Format: DVD
Last evening as my eyes wandered the shelves of a local video store I came across this film. After reading that it one the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival I decided to take it home and give it a chance. The outcome of my decision was that "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" is one of the smartest films I've seen in a long time. I myself am not well educated in the works of William Shakespear, and even though having a short recollection of the story of Hamlet I still found this film to be quite entertaining. Tim Roth, Gary Oldman, and Richard Dreyfuss give great performances. I was really surprised with Richard Dreyfuss' performance. I never really thought of him as a great actor.
"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" is a brilliantly written and well directed film. I give it 5 stars.
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