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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on March 8, 2004
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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on August 31, 2006
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). The parts of the film that keep closely to the original play are, however, delightful, hilarious, and offer a refreshing comic alternative to lowbrow, gross-out humour seen in so many other film comedies, but a re-edited version of the film would have made this oddball gem even better.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon July 1, 2006
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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on April 21, 2005
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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on July 18, 2013
This is one of the best films I have seen in a long time - the youthful Tim Roth and Gary Oldman who last played together in Meantime - are just brilliant in their acting these two parts - the ease of language and the ability they have to express it is wonderful. The specials are quite good as well - the interviews with Tim Roth, Gary Oldman, Tom Stoppard are quite well done. All in all a brilliant piece of theatre and marvellous in the way it was presented and filmed.
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on February 9, 2004
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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on March 22, 2013
This is possibly my favourite role if Gary Oldman's. If you enjoy him in other films, please find this one as well, he is spectacular. Two of the smaller characters of Shakespeare's Hamlet get their time to shine in this really fun and enjoyable film.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 29, 2013
Gary Oldman is an amazing playwright. This play and the movie of the same name had a huge impact on my teenage life. That's when I first came across them. The play itself I read and re-read every few years and love it more every time.
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on January 14, 2014
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. Great costumes, great scene-setting, great dialogue. It's absurdist drama/comedy, so it's not for everyone, but if you like a good play on words, it's for you.
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on August 4, 2014
Brilliant script, direction and acting. Have loved this since I first saw it decades ago ... would have loved to see its stage premiere at the 1966 Edinburgh Fringe. Tom Stoppard ... undisputed genius.
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