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Anonymous (2011)

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The theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, who penned Shakespeare's plays. Set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex rebellion against her.



4,833 ( 309)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Earl of Essex (as Sebastian Reid)
Paolo De Vita ...
Thomas Dekker
Thomas Nashe
Captain Richard Pole


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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Was Shakespeare a Fraud?

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

28 October 2011 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Anónimo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,012,768 (USA) (28 October 2011)


$4,463,292 (USA) (9 December 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


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. See more »


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. See more »


Ben Jonson: My lord, I... I am not worthy of this charge. I betrayed you.I told them of your...
Earl of Oxford: I have made it my life's work to know the character of men, Jonson. I know you. You may have betrayed me... but you will never betray my words.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Apart from the production companies, the only opening credit is the movie's title, displayed on the marquee of the prologue's theater. See more »


Referenced in CliffsNotes Films (2011) See more »


Night of the Long Knives
Written by Byrd & David Hirschfelder (as Hirschfelder)
Performed by David Hirschfelder
Courtesy of The Decca Music Group
Under licence from Universal Music Operations Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Anonymous is interesting, but not totally satisfactory
1 March 2012 | by (Argentina) – See all my reviews

As an aficionado to the literature about conspiracies, "hidden knowledge" and more historical curiosities of a doubtful veracity, I have read a little bit about the theories which propose the falsehood of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) as an author of the plays, poems and sonnets which made him such famous...and I honestly don't find them very convincing theories. Even without being a historian, and without being able to confirm the contradictions about dates and places, it's clear to me that the focal point of these "conspiracies" is simply claiming that Shakespeare couldn't have written the most acclaimed English literature for not having the necessary social connections, education and culture in order to achieve that. In other words, those investigators suggest the fact that the greatness from a person is determined by his/her money or social position, and that it's impossible for any "commoner" to possess the necessary talent in order to stand out in his/her occupation. Under that logic, every millionaire person should be an artistic and scientific genius.

The film Anonymous tried to examine that hypothesis about Shakespere, and even though I liked it, I think its screenplay should have been better polished, because its frequent chronological jumps, court intrigues and numerous characters make it occasionally a bit confusing and tiring. Nevertheless, I have to admit that Anonymous generally kept me interested.

Anonymous recreates London in 16th century with an absolute realism and attention to every detail; from the mud on the floor to the extraordinary replica of the Globe theatre, all the visual elements are brilliant, even though they occasionally draw more attention than the necessary. The narrative aspect also suffers from some excesses, and I think that the film could have been a bit shorter by deleting some of the most tangled plans from the villains (or even from the heroes).

The whole cast from Anonymous brings solid performances, highlighting Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave and Rafe Spall. So, in conclusion, I think Anonymous deserves a moderate recommendation despite some tiring moments, because it generally kept me interested.

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