Anonymous (2011)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 1 min

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Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, 'Anonymous' speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds such as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Sigmund Freud, namely: who actually created the body of work credited to William Shakespeare? Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature. This intriguing tale poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when scandalous politics, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles lusting for the power of the throne were brought to light in the most unlikely of places: the London stage. Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, is presented as the real author of Shakespeare's works. Edward's life is followed through flashbacks from a young child, through to the end of his life. He is portrayed as a child prodigy who writes and performs A Midsummer Night's Dream for a young Elizabeth I. A series of events sees his plays being performed by a frontman, Shakespeare.

Cast: Rhys Ifans

Crew: Roland Emmerich (Director), Tamara Harvey (Director), Anna Foerster (Director of Photography), Harald Kloser (Music Director), Thomas Wanker (Music Director)

Rating: U (India)

Genres: Drama, History, Thriller

Release Dates: 02 Dec 2011 (India)

Tagline: Was Shakespeare a Fraud?

English Name: Anonymous

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Did you know? Derek Jacobi (Prologue) and Mark Rylance (John Condell) are supporters of the Oxfordian theory (on which the film's plot is based) in real life. Read More
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as Earl of Oxford
as Spencer
as Dancer
as Stage Player: Shakespeare Company
as Young Anne De Vere
as Titania
as Dancer
as Essex General
as Dancer
as Stage Player: Shakespeare Company
as Stage Player: Shakespeare Company
as Stage Player: Shakespeare Company
as Cecil's Spy Servant
as Stage Player: Shakespeare Company
as Dwarf / Puck
as William Cecil
as Prologue
as John De Vere
as Robert Cecil
as Dancer
as Dancer
as Groundling
as Anne De Vere
as Bear Baiter
as Boy Robert Cecil
as King James I
as Heminge
as Young Earl of Oxford
as Dancer
as Pope
as Monsieur Beaulieu
as Young Queen Elizabeth I
as Dancer
as Philip Henslowe
as Child Oberon
as Captain Richard Pole
as Lady-in-Waiting
as Selling Maid
as Child Titania
as Richard Burbage
as Dancer
as Boy Earl of Oxford
as Condell
as Stage Player: Shakespeare Company
as Sly
as Pole's Commander
as Interrogator
as Usher
as Stage Manager
as Stage Player: Shakespeare Company
as Stage Player: Shakespeare Company
as Francesco
as Lady-in-Waiting
as Oxford's Servant
as Oxford's Doctor
as Bridget De Vere
as William Shakespeare
as Quince
as Archbishop
as Thomas Dekker
as Dancer
as Earl of Essex
as Ben Jonson
as Footman
as Dancer
as Dancer
as Boy Earl of Southampton
as Dancer
as Thomas Nashe
as Christopher Marlowe
as Bottom
as Dancer
as Queen Elizabeth I
as Dancer
as Bessie Vavasour
as Stage Player: Shakespeare Company
as Buxom Lady
as Earl of Southampton


First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director


Dialogue Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography
Still Photographer
Camera Operator
Camera Assistant


Foley Artist
Sound Mixer
Foley Editor
Boom Operator


Production Designer
Prop Master
Set Decorator


Casting Director
Casting Assistant




Assistant Editor

Makeup and Hair

Post Production

Post Production Supervisor

Special Effects

Special Effects Technician


Stunt Director
Stunt Coordinator

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Supervisor


Transportation Coordinator
Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Was Shakespeare a Fraud?
Revealing Mistakes
(at around 1h 50 mins): When Jonson is thrown out of The Globe, the Earl of Oxford's man's image is printed backward with the Earl's Crest reversed and on the right breast rather than the left breast and the buttons on the suit backward, because the image was flopped in editing.

Factual Mistake
The playwrights in the movie are all astonished that Romeo and Juliet is written in verse, specifically iambic pentameter. In fact, English drama had been written in verse for hundreds of years, and mostly in iambic pentameter for about the previous 25 years. Prose drama, not poetry, was the innovation.

Factual Mistake
Christopher Marlowe is alive in 1598; he died in 1593.

Factual Mistake
When Ben Jonson first arrives at the home of the Earl of Oxford after being released from prison the Earl is shown cutting, holding, smelling, and then referring to a white and red rose as "The Tudor Rose". "The Tudor Rose" is actually a heraldic emblem of England that is a combination of the white rose and the red rose of the House of York and the House of Lancaster, respectively. It is not, nor has it ever actually been, the actual bloom of a rose bush.

Factual Mistake
In the movie, Ben Jonson is called the son of a glass maker. In fact, Jonson's father, who died a month before Jonson was born, was a clergyman, and his stepfather was a bricklayer.

Factual Mistake
Elizabeth I died in Spring, on March 24th 1603. It is unlikely that her funeral procession led over the frozen Thames.

Factual Mistake
The play presented on the eve of the Essex Rebellion was William Shakespeare's "Richard II", not (as portrayed in this film) "Richard III".

When Edward is talking to Southampton and Essex about 'bringing the mob' his right hand switches between resting on top of his cane and grasping the shaft when the shot changes from front to back.

One character asks another "Can you spot me a few pence?" This usage of "spot" didn't appear until the 20th century.

The witches from Macbeth are seen performing on stage for a production during Elizabeth's reign. Macbeth was a play written for and when James I was on the English throne.

In the scene where the young Earl of Oxford has dinner with Queen Elizabeth, he mentions that the Italian actors are called Commedia Dell' Arte. The name Commedia Dell' Arte was not coined until the 18th century by Italian playwright and librettist Carlo Goldoni.
John Orloff wrote the script back in 1998, but the project never took off at that time because of the release of the other Shakespeare-related film, Shakespeare in Love (1998). The project was then restarted back in 2005, when Roland Emmerich saw the script, but it only got the go ahead in early 2010 after additional research and revision.

Derek Jacobi (Prologue) and Mark Rylance (John Condell) are supporters of the Oxfordian theory (on which the film's plot is based) in real life.

When a reporter on National Public Radio pointed out to screenwriter John Orloff that this movie is full of historical inaccuracies (for instance, the playwright Christopher Marlowe, who appears as a character in this movie, actually was dead by the time these events supposedly "took place"), he responded that he wrote these inaccuracies into the screenplay deliberately as an homage to the way that Shakespeare himself took dramatic liberties in his history plays.

Roland Emmerich self-financed the entire movie. The past financial earnings of his previous movies allowed him the money and total control of the film without studio interference.

Joely Richardson, who played the young Queen Elizabeth I, had previously played Catherine Parr, the stepmother of Elizabeth I, in The Tudors (2007).

Vanessa Redgrave previously played Queen Elizabeth I's mother Anne Boleyn in A Man for All Seasons (1966).

Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson play the older and younger versions of Queen Elizabeth respectively. In real-life they are mother and daughter.

This is the first major full-length motion picture to be shot with the Arri ALEXA high-definition digital-video camera.