The Red ViolinJune 11, 1999
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
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
Nicolo Bussotti (Cremona)
Anna Bussotti (Cremona)
Georges Poussin (Vienna)
Kaspar Weiss (Vienna)
Antoinette Pussin (Vienna)
Anton von Spielmann (Vienna)
Father Richter (Vienna)
Brother Christophe (Vienna)
Brother Gustav (Vienna)
Brother Michael (Vienna)
Brother Franz (Vienna)
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
Opening Weekend: $84,265
(13 June 1999)
(14 November 1999)
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.
The date in the auction showroom reads "mardi, le 17 fevrier 1997", or "Tuesday, February 17, 1997." February 17, 1997 was a Monday.
What do you do when the thing you most wanted, so perfect, just comes?
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
the trailer, so I thought to take a chance. I took someone very close to
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
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
a craftsman's art, it is desired by many for it's acoustic perfection.
as Tolstoy said, "how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness."
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
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
An original, imaginative and thought provoking story that engaged one's
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
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.