The Libertine (2006)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 54 mins

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In 1660, with the return of Charles II to the English throne, theater, the visual arts, science and sexual promiscuity flourish. Thirteen years later, in the midst of political and economical problems, Charles II asks for the return of his friend John Wilmot, aka the second Earl of Rochester, from exile back to London. John is a morally-corrupt drunkard and a sexually-active cynical poet. When the King asks John to prepare a play for the French ambassador so as to please him, John meets the aspiring actress Elizabeth Barry in the playhouse and decides to make her into a great star. He falls in love with her and she becomes his mistress. During the presentation to the Frenchman, he falls into disgrace with the court. As a consequence of his irreverent lifestyle, at just 33 years of age, he finds himself dying of syphilis and alcoholism. Will the vulnerability and pain of illness change his attitude towards life?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton

Crew: Laurence Dunmore (Director), Alexander Melman (Director of Photography), Michael Nyman (Music Director)

Genres: Drama, History, Romance, Biography

Release Dates: 10 Mar 2006 (India)

Tagline: He didn't resist temptation. He pursued it.

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Did you know? The poem which Wilmot has been banished from court at the beginning of the film is "A Satyr on Charles II". The historical Wilmot really did submit that poem to the monarch accidentally, but he subsequently left court of his own accord, rather than at Charles' command. Read More
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as Rochester
as Elizabeth Barry
Supporting Actress
as Charles II
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actress
as Chiffinch
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress
as Keown
Supporting Actor


First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director




Screenplay Writer
Story Writer
Dialogue Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography
Still Photographer


Music Director
Music Editor


Sound Effects Editor
Sound Mixer
Boom Operator


Production Designer
Art Director
Prop Master
Set Decorator


Casting Director


First Assistant Editor

Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist

Special Effects

Special Effects Coordinator
Special Effects Technician


Stunt Coordinator
Stunt Performer
Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
He didn't resist temptation. He pursued it.
The prologue and epilogue have the Earl-as-Narrator mentioning "gonads" (a word not coined until almost 1880), and remembering the circumstances of his own death. This part of the movie is meant to break the fourth wall. The narrating Earl knows he is speaking to a 21st-century audience.

Revealing Mistakes
In several shots, the fake nose John Malkovich is wearing is noticeable, including the sun glowing through when outdoors, and when in the theater box speaking to Johnny Depp, there is a distinct color mismatch that shows the outline of the prosthetic.

When Rochester returns home, the carriage gets stuck in the mud so he gets out and walks towards the house. He's met by his wife. Rochester says, "Madam. This driveway will not do." The word "driveway" didn't come into use until around 1865 (according to - about two hundred years after Rochester's death.

Looks closely at the back of the person being prodded and whipped around 1:17:10 (in Dr. Bendo's room shortly after Alcock pees into a vial), you can faintly see quite a large tattoo in the small of the lady's back that hasn't completely been covered by the make-up.

Character Error
The Earl of Rochester reads an insulting poem he wrote about Charles II which implies that the King is impotent, and insists this "is true." In fact, Charles II was a noted womanizer who fathered at least a dozen illegitimate children by seven mistresses.

When the dog poops on the floor behind the king, the sunlight is shining brightly onto the floor. The camera cuts away to Chaffinch and when it returns to the king, there is no sunlight and the pile of dog poop has disappeared.

When the King talks to Lizzie at the theater, her shoulders are alternately covered, then naked and covered again, without any visible cause.

In the playhouse, after Harris announces the kings arrival, Lord Rochester starts to remove his hat with his right hand on the crown of the hat. In the next shot, he is removing it with his left hand on the brim of the hat.
John Malkovich had previously worked with Laurence Dunmore on a commercial, and loved working with him so much he recommended him to the producers.

Final film of costume designer Dien van Straalen and production designer Ben van Os. Van Os worked on Dark Blood (2012) which was released after The Libertine, but was made in 1993.

Rosamund Pike, Kelly Reilly, Rupert Friend and Tom Hollander all also appear together in Pride and Prejudice (2005).

Johnny Depp, Jack Davenport and Tom Hollander, all starred together in 'Pirates of the Caribbean; dead mans chest, 2006' & 'Pirates of the Caribbean; on stranger tides, 2007'.

Laurence Dunmore operated the camera for almost every shot in the film.

A scene was deleted that included a kiss between Johnny Depp and Rupert Friend.

Based on the play by Stephen Jeffreys, which had been produced by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and starred John Malkovich and Martha Plimpton.

£6,890 were spent on vegetable oil-based smoke and fog, and £3,672 went into making elegantly carved 17th-century dildos.

The poem which Wilmot has been banished from court at the beginning of the film is "A Satyr on Charles II". The historical Wilmot really did submit that poem to the monarch accidentally, but he subsequently left court of his own accord, rather than at Charles' command.

Filming took only 45 days.

Most of the film was lit using candles rather than conventional movie lights. In order to keep the effect of candles but still get enough light, cinematographer Alexander Melman designed a special piece of equipment, a stand that held a bank of candles and a reflective backing. These were known on the set as Birthday Cakes.

Unlike most period films, this one was shot almost entirely with a hand-held camera. The two most notable shots with a fixed camera (not a hand held one) are the two panoramas of the interior of the theater, which was intentional.