Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990) - Comedy, Drama

Hohum Score



Two minor characters from the play 'Hamlet' stumble around unaware of their scripted lives and unable to deviate from them.

IMDB: 7.5
Director: Tom Stoppard
Stars: Gary Oldman, Tim Roth
Length: 117 Minutes
PG Rating: PG
Reviews: 16 out of 130 found boring (12.3%)

One-line Reviews (70)

However, Stoppard never draws the distinction between introspective artistry or just plain absurdity, leaving it up to his audience to fill in many of the film's gaps and come to their own conclusions, but his inspired storyline proves consistently entertaining in the midst of its frequently nonsensical philosophical banter.

Anyway, overall a pretentious flick that is far too enamored with its own cleverness.

Though it has been a while since I last read Hamlet, the picture was highly enjoyable.

It is fascinating to watch Rosencrantz and Guildenstern parry and thrust with words rather than tennis rackets and balls.

It is quite a tricky set up to try and get right, as it puts the two comic relief characters from a very dramatic play, and puts them in the lead role, so we now have funny characters as the leads of an intense situation, and I found that it managed to pull this off successfully.

While the movie is produced well, and stars two of my favorite actors, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead was an utterly boring display of nonsense.

Trying to summarise the plot any further would probably be pointless; the play has been described as an "absurdist, existentialist tragicomedy" which is probably the best way of summing it up.

One of the worst movies ever made .

A disappointment to fans of the play, and utter confusion to those who don't know it.

Yet for me personally this film serves a prefect example of unmitigated bore - synthetic play with artificial wit.

" Rosencrantz's arguments on death are fascinating, and as he lays on the stone table, contemplating death, one can almost feel the coffin over his/her face, the last breath stifled.....

Richard Dreyfuss does marvels with his part - he is intriguing, mysterious, and somehow omniscient, a very different role than is written into the play.

However, Stoppard's exquisitely witty and verbose script is rattled off at a breakneck pace, making up for the occasional lull in pacing and absurdist silent interludes which fail to add much to the plot.

I was endlessly bored, impatient, and restless as I sat through this trash.

perfectly boring .

Be cautious of those who said they liked this movie, because most likely they are just a pretentious, coffee house, art geek who wants to think they are better and smarter than everyone else.

I had never seen anything so intelligent, slippery, surreal and downright enjoyable as this play within a play.

A passing familiarity with Shakespeare may be required to fully appreciate the joke, but in the end it's a moot point: camera tricks aside, Stoppard does nothing to translate his material to the visual grammar of film, so what might have sounded clever on stage comes across as stilted and pretentious on screen.

If anything, the characters these actors create are entertaining, and their banter is unique and unforgettable.

In the movie, two men travel around and do a lot of pointless talking.

Perhaps I missed a lot because the sound qualitiy wasn't very high (and hence some of the dialogues were difficult to follow), but apart from that I also felt it was very pretentious and confusing.

The play (Stoppard's first) seems to have been his one excellent work, followed by the mundane.

But this is a strange sort of acting demand, one for which no measures exist: part surreal, part comic (in different traditions, half Monty Python, half Abbot and Costello) and part tragic confusion.

When the main characters of Hamlet aren't interrupting the pointless talking, one man plays with clever gadgets to try to keep himself from being bored.

A horribly contrived, literal realisation of a game of verbal tennis on a palace court springs to mind.

It just left me somewhere in the first half, and afterwards I was rather bored.

It's a shame that so many pan this movie because they were bored.

It's not as Shakespearean as Branagh, but close enough to be wittingly entertaining.

Roth's Guildenstern is the straight man, while Oldman's Rosencratz displays a bemused, childish confusion.

Very Enjoyable .

Truly literate and engaging; Oldman and Roth both superb.

Probably most pretentious and pompous film I ever saw - pseudo-comedy stuffed with pseudo-intellectual jokes.

I forgot how incredibly boring and inane a good chunk of the movie is, there are a few very clever bits of word play ("there you have it, stark raving sane") and the questions game is well done, but the majority of the movie is excruciatingly tedious.

it's worth watching for the skill of the acting and the genius direction.

Without such an accomplished cast putting their own unique spin on the material, it is hard to imagine such a difficult play being transposed into such a highly enjoyable movie.

However at least you can rewind it and watch bits again, because the dialogue is really tight, and difficult to follow.

Boring, unwatchable nonsense for the art-house pseudo-intellectual .

Occasionally, other people barge in on the pointless talking and then quickly exit.

This movie is worth watching for the 'verbal' tennis match alone.

But the newer dialogue is fresh and exciting.

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" gets my vote for one of the worst movies ever made.

Pretentious and Tedious .

The story is sort of slightly postmodern and ironic play with the Shakespeare's original, very provocative intellectualy, rich and entertaining.

But for those willing to partake in material outside the parameters of the mainstream will experience an intelligent, fast paced and astutely acted metaphysical comedy, one whose blend of unpretentious philosophy and irreverent comedy proves difficult to resist.

Humorous and very well acted, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is worth the watch for anyone looking for a good comedy, and to any fans of Hamlet.

But the scenes taken from Shakespeare's Hamlet are contrived, forced and awkwardly delivered; almost like the way most people imagine Shakespeare.

fascinating idea that does not really work .

The acting between the 3 major characters was absolutely wonderful and the way Tim Roth and Gary Oldman played off each other was so entertaining it's a shame they haven't done more movies together.

A quick mind and intense focus are required to keep up with (and derive full enjoyment from) this movie.

Stunning and hilarious wordplay with excellent repartee between Oldman and Roth.

I found this movie very pretentious and tedious.

These sequences are the most intelligent, compelling interpretations of Shakespeare's masterpiece on screen.

It is a shame that the interweaving with the Hamlet narrative doesn't work better because the original scenes have a delicious playful tone to them in regards language and the nature of minor characters; I found these specific scenes to be fun and engaging and only wished the film could have maintained this energy and approach.

Three minutes of Punch and Judy would've been more entertaining.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is a fascinating film, and I strongly recommend that you rent it.

highly enjoyable .

the film's title, gives away, of what happens to the characters, but is very enjoyable.

But life gets tedious, don't it?

The original scenes are bright, snappy and have some great verbal and visual gags.

I thought this movie was very unique and enjoyable.

entertaining comedy/drama, that is a delight to the poet's eye.

One of the truly literate and engaging films; both Oldman and Roth superb!

Confusing for my wife who never studied Hamlet, and the movie jogged my memory.

Apparently comments need at least ten lines so I'll conclude by restating that this movie is pretentious and tedious and could have been a half-hour skit and got in all the jokes instead of a 2-hour root canal.

it dragged a lot for me, starting with the opening scenes...

Other than the actor who plays Hamlet (mediocre - at best), I thought the rest of the cast was excellent, the story was intriguing, and the interaction between Oldman, Roth, and Dreyfuss was the stuff of good comedy.

This film is one of the most glorious and intriguing examples of modern cinematic art I have ever encountered.

The dialogue is constant and highly entertaining, the meshing of Stoppard's modern day speech of the original parts of the story and Shakespeare's original Hamlet practically seamless and masterfully worked.

The layering of dramatic action was fascinating: the puppet show mirrored the Murder of Gonzago which mirrored the events in Hamlet.

It makes each time you see it new and exciting (and I've certainly seen it more times that I dare count!