Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (film)

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Film)

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Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (film)

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Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is a 1990 film written and directed by Tom Stoppard based on his play of the same name. Like the play, the film depicts two minor characters from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who find themselves on the road to Elsinore Castle at the behest of the King of Denmark. They encounter a band of players before arriving to find that they are needed to try to discern what troubles the prince Hamlet. Meanwhile, they ponder the meaning of their existence.

The film stars Gary Oldman as Rosencrantz and Tim Roth as Guildenstern, although a running theme throughout has many characters, themselves included, uncertain as to which is which. It also features Richard Dreyfuss as the leading player, Iain Glen as Prince Hamlet, Ian Richardson as Polonius, Joanna Miles as Gertrude and Donald Sumpter as King Claudius. The film was shot in various locations around Yugoslavia. This was Stoppard's debut as a film director, and to date it remains his only film directorial credit.


The film, like the play, focuses on Rosencrantz (Gary Oldman) and Guildenstern (Tim Roth) and their actions (or lack thereof) within the play of Hamlet. The film begins as they travel on horseback to Elsinore, contemplating fate, memory and language. Rosencrantz finds and continually flips a coin which always comes up heads, causing Guildenstern to conclude that something is wrong with reality. They meet a travelling troupe of tragedians on the...
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