The Red Violin (Le violon rouge) (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Red Violin (Le violon rouge) (1999)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Red Violin (Le violon rouge) Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Francois Girard's The Red Violin follows the imaginary history of a unique instrument as it passes over continents and through lives over the span of three centuries. The film was shot in five languages, in five countries, over a period of six months. Beginning in Canada in February 1997, the production moved on to Austria, Italy, England and China before returning to Montreal for post-production.more
Rating: R (for some sexuality)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: François Girard, Don McKellar
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 14, 1999
Lions Gate


Samuel L. Jackson
as Charles Morritz
Don McKellar
as Evan Williams
Carlo Cecchi
as Nicolo Bussotti
Irene Grazioli
as Anna Bussotti
Jean-Luc Bideau
as Georges Poussin
Kaspar Weiss
as Christoph Koncz
Clothilde Mollet
as Antoinette Poussin
Rainer Egger
as Brother Christophe
Wolfgang Böck
as Brother Michael
Jason Flemyng
as Frederick Pope
Greta Scacchi
as Victoria
David Gant
as Conductor
Sylvia Chang
as Xiang Pei
Liu Zi Feng
as Chou Yuan
Höng Tao
as Comrade Chang Gong
Han Xio Fei
as Young Ming
Colm Feore
as Auctioneer
Monique Mercure
as Madame Leroux
Christoph Koncz
as Kaspar Weiss
Tommaso Puntelli
as Apprentice
Aldo Brugnini
as Assistant
Florentin Groll
as Anton Von Spielmann
Arthur Denberg
as Prince Mansfeld
Paul Koeker
as Brother Gustav
Josef Mairginter
as Brother Franz
Johann Gotsch
as Funeral Monk
Géza Hosszu-Legocky
as Gypsy Violinist
David Alberman
as Gypsy Violinist
Andrzej Matuszewski
as Gypsy Violinist
Dimitri Andreas
as Gypsy Father
Stuart Ong
as Manservant
Cao Kun Qi
as Deputy
Zhou Zhi Qing
as Senior Policeman
Xiaoshuai Wang
as Junior Policeman
Zhi Qiao
as Elderly Woman
Tang Ren
as Young Xiang Pei
as Pawnbroker
Zhang Kai
as Rally Speaker
Ireneusz Bogajewicz
as Mr. Ruselsky
Julian Richings
as Nicolas Olsberg
Russell Yuen
as Older Ming
Sandra Oh
as Madame Ming
Rémy Girard
as Customs Agent
Marie-Josée Gauthier
as Hotel Concierge
Gregory Hlady
as Coat Attendant
Herman Meckler
as Registrar
Sheena MacDonald
as Ruselsky's Companion
Jody Shapiro
as Autograph Seeker
James Bradford
as Stagehand
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Red Violin (Le violon rouge)

Critic Reviews for The Red Violin (Le violon rouge)

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (14)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 19, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Like the immaculate instrument it follows, "The Red Violin" is a piece of filmmaking fully refined by the hands of someone who believed in the material, and the effect it leaves us with is one of transcendence.

Full Review… | August 15, 2013

François Girard ... with co-writer Don McKellar and an able cast, has spun a yarn that crosses all manner of boundaries: geographic, artistic, and taste.

Full Review… | October 10, 2004

The story lines, while having little direct connection to historical events, are obviously grounded in musical and artistic legend.

Full Review… | October 7, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It is disconcerting to see {Jackson}...after watching his exceptional performances as crazy criminals in two Quentin Tarantino movies.

Full Review… | July 2, 2004

Audience Reviews for The Red Violin (Le violon rouge)

This is the story of a violin that starts in 1681 in Italy and ends in present-day New York.
It's hard to judge a film in which the main character is a violin. The characters who could give the film life are the people who own the violin at different places and historical moments, but their transience in the violin's "life" make it difficult to attach ourselves to their plights. And the fortune-teller reading the violin's future is clever for about ten seconds. Also, it's never fully revealed what Charles's motives are; is there any care that he could offer the violin that other suitors can't?
The score is quite good, and a project that spans five languages and four countries is admirably ambitious.
Overall, the main character being a violin didn't work for me, but I admire the effort.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer



Samuel L Jackson is incredibly miscast in The Red Violin in a very unmemorable role in comparison to some of his best. But besides that, this is a fairly effective drama and for me personally, a pleasant surprise. That's not to say it's not flawed in any way. The musical intervels too often interrupt different acts but considering it's audience it does perfectly what it sets out to do. There's also a lot to take pleasure in even if your absolutely clueless when it comes to understanding how a violin works. The geographical locations are beautiful, the period settings are believable, and each member of the huge ensemble cast is engaging and not without interesting and realistic personalities. It is unfortunate that the film itself is never as deep as it wants to be but it's strange how at times it is accidentally brilliant. I cant really remember being dramatically heart broken watching a film in which an inanimate object is thrown onto the floor agressively. I was genuinely surprised at how well the script was written and how good the performances (minus Sam Jackson) were. It isn't one of those cheesy TV period movies by a long shot. Overall though with it's beautiful scenery, it's distinctive characters, and it's soothing if not repetitive score, The Red Violin works impressively as a film. As well as a visual masterpiece to fans of the title instrument.

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

This is a 2.5-hour episode of "Hoarders" where collectors of stuff turn into Gollum in the presence of this precious creation. I'm not judging - by the end of the movie, I too became Gollum. How many people alive today carry personal tales of the world's people, places and events of the past 300 years? How many other violins have been in a Ménage à trois? How many items born into this world came at such a high cost to its creators? Where's my 2 million dollars? I'm ready to do some antiquing!

Matthew Slaven
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer

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