The Red Violin

June 11th, 1999


The Red Violin

No valid json found

Still of Samuel L. Jackson in The Red ViolinStill of Greta Scacchi and Jason Flemyng in The Red ViolinStill of Sylvia Chang and Xio Fei Han in The Red Violin

A perfect red-colored violin inspires passion, making its way through three centuries over several owners and countries, eventually ending up at an auction where it may find a new owner.

Release Year: 1998

Rating: 7.7/10 (17,246 voted)

Critic's Score: 57/100

Director: François Girard

Stars: Carlo Cecchi, Jean-Luc Bideau, Christoph Koncz

In present day Montreal, a famous Nicolo Bussotti violin, known as "the red violin," is being auctioned off. During the auction, we flash back to the creation of the violin in 17th century Italy, and follow the violin as it makes its way through an 18th century Austrian monastery, a violinist in 19th century Oxford, China during the Cultural Revolution, and back to Montreal, where a collector tries to establish the identity and the secrets of "the red violin."

Writers: Don McKellar, François Girard

Carlo Cecchi - Nicolo Bussotti (Cremona)
Irene Grazioli - Anna Bussotti (Cremona)
Anita Laurenzi - Cesca (Cremona)
Tommaso Puntelli - Apprentice (Cremona)
Samuele Amighetti - Boy (Cremona)
Jean-Luc Bideau - Georges Poussin (Vienna)
Aldo Brugnini - Assistant (Cremona)
Christoph Koncz - Kaspar Weiss (Vienna)
Clotilde Mollet - Antoinette Pussin (Vienna)
Florentín Groll - Anton von Spielmann (Vienna)
Johannes Silberschneider - Father Richter (Vienna)
Rainer Egger - Brother Christophe (Vienna)
Paul Koeker - Brother Gustav (Vienna)
Wolfgang Böck - Brother Michael (Vienna)
Josef Mairginter - Brother Franz (Vienna)

Taglines: An instrument of passion. A shocking secret. An extraordinary journey.

Release Date: 11 June 1999

Filming Locations: Chicheley Hall, Chicheley, Newport Pagnell, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $84,265 (USA) (13 June 1999) (7 Screens)

Gross: $9,473,382 (USA) (14 November 1999)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | France:

Did You Know?

The Vienna section of the movie concerns itself with a boy named Kaspar who is described as an orphan and a wild child. This is probably a reference to Werner Herzog's film The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, which also concerns itself with a wild child named Kaspar, and which is also in German.

Factual errors: The date in the auction showroom reads "mardi, le 17 fevrier 1997", or "Tuesday, February 17, 1997." February 17, 1997 was a Monday.

Charles Morritz: What do you do when the thing you most wanted, so perfect, just comes?

User Review

Absolutely wonderful

Rating: 10/10

I thought this might be one of those films that would be "good for me" to see. I was mildly intrigued by descriptions of the story I had read and with the trailer, so I thought to take a chance. I took someone very close to me, an actual violin prodigy. Coincidently, her and I have recently been searching for a decent violin for her that is affordable by actual humans, so we could relate to parts of the plot first-hand. We arrived to a very thin theater in one of those mega-complex theaters, and while everyone was queuing up next-door to see the latest blockbuster from Hollywood I settled into an amazingly comfortable seat with an excellent view and prepared for whatever might come.

I was shocked. This film turned out to be clearly one of the best movie going experiences I have had in ages. We see this as the story unfolds and is creatively told through the reading of the violin makers wife's fortune with a deck of Tarot cards. It is the story of a part of the life of a violin; of the humans who would dare to possess her beauty. A masterpiece of a craftsman's art, it is desired by many for it's acoustic perfection. But, as Tolstoy said, "how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness." Or more interestingly, from Saint Augustine: "Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked." There seems to be a curse on this instrument as it brings ill to those who manage to possess it. This makes the ending especially eerie.

An original, imaginative and thought provoking story that engaged one's mind as American films almost never do. I will not describe more of the plot, it's far too good to ruin. The memory of this film will be one long treasured.

Oh, as for my guest, the honest-to-God prodigy: she said the music was magnificent (it was) even though a real musician could tell the actors weren't playing, it was well done.


Comments are closed.