Wittgenstein (1993) - Rotten Tomatoes

Wittgenstein (1993)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Wittgenstein Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Derek Jarman directed this witty, stylish biography of the life of the eccentric 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (Karl Johnson). Wittgenstein is shown as a boy living a repressive youth, demonstrated by his family appearing in Roman togas. When Wittgenstein leaves to study under Bertrand Russell at Cambridge, he begins to investigate language and apply the strictures and constructs of language to philosophical study. The subject of Wittgenstein's homosexuality is depicted when, after World War I, he falls in love with a poor philosophy student, Johnny (Kevin Collins). Also portrayed is Wittgenstein's death at an early age from prostate cancer. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Western, Drama, Comedy, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Ken Butler, Terry Eagleton
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 24, 2008
Zeitgeist Films


Clancy Chassay
as Young Wittgenstein
Jill Balcon
as Leopoldine Wittgenst...
Karl Johnson
as Ludwig Wittgenstein
Michael Gough
as Bertrand Russell
Tilda Swinton
as Ottoline Morrell
John Quentin
as John Maynard Keynes
Nabil Shaban
as Martian
Lynn Seymour
as Lydia Lopokova
as Model
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Wittgenstein

Critic Reviews for Wittgenstein

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | February 12, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Johnson tore into his role like a hungry barnyard dog into a carcass.

Full Review… | March 10, 2012
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

One of Britain's most famous avant garde filmmakers, Derek Jarman, constructs a biopic of Viennese philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein with a bravura display of visual imagery

Full Review… | August 23, 2008
Urban Cinefile

Audience Reviews for Wittgenstein


Oh joy to the youngsters,the gracious question marks,what is logic?The end of reluctance,a desperate tangling,perjury,yes.
Apostrophe and immortality.Communication is the key but while we're eagerly waiting for the key,philosophy can bulk our sodding curiosity.

Dimitris Springer

Super Reviewer


True to the rest of Jarman's work, Wittgenstein opts for an ultra-minimal, soundstage-based production and is filled with his signature period idiosyncrasies. There are times when it feels as if he's emulating the style of a children's program, which is appropriate given the fact that this is much more ridiculous, lighthearted, and funnier than his usually austere looks into the lives of gay historical figures and social outcasts. Thankfully, this also gives him an opportunity to play dress-up with Tilda Swinton, these visual and narrative points of lightness supplementing the philosophical musings of its subject. The fact that he chose to document Wittgenstein's life specifically is admirable as his work is known to be generally impenetrable, but he approaches his ideas through some clever physical representations of the abstract concepts that work pretty well, and though it all amounts to minor Jarman, it's still absolutely enjoyable for fans of his work.

good biopic. a bit strange. it does a decent job at introducing his unique life and even attempts, fairly well I'd say, to introduce his ideas.
it does deviate from his life at times but it still works.
also, it could easily be adopted for the stage and may have been written as a theater piece.

willy wonka

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