The Libertine (2005 film)

The Libertine (2005 film)

name = The Libertine

caption = "The Libertine" film poster
writer = Stephen Jeffreys
starring = Johnny Depp
John Malkovich
Samantha Morton
Rosamund Pike
director = Laurence Dunmore
producer = John Malkovich,
Lianne Halfon,
Russell Smith
cinematography=Alexander Melman
music = Michael Nyman
editing = Jill Bilcock
distributor = The Weinstein Company
released = 23 November 2004( UK), 10 March 2005 (U.S.)
runtime = 130 minutes/UK: 114 mn
language = English
budget =
imdb_id = 0375920

"The Libertine" is a movie that was widely released in the United Kingdom on 25 November 2005, and on 10 March 2006 in the United States. (Having first been shown on 16 September 2004 at the Toronto Film Festival, and then opening in New York and Los Angeles on 25 November 2005, for a one-week award-qualifying run.) []

It stars Johnny Depp, John Malkovich, Samantha Morton, and Rosamund Pike. It is directed by Laurence Dunmore (his debut film) from Stephen Jeffreys' adaptation of his play of the same name. Johnny Depp plays the main character, John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, a notorious rake and libertine poet in the court of King Charles II of England. Samantha Morton plays Elizabeth Barry, an actress who becomes brilliant when coached by Rochester, who is her lover. John Malkovich plays the King who cares about John dearly, but cannot have him ruin his reputation as King. A prevalent aspect of the film is the use of sex and sexually related activities as a form of common escapism. The film was rated R by the US MPAA. In the UK, it has been rated 18.

Lord Rochester's suspected bisexuality is only hinted at in most of the film (besides the prologue, in which he makes a fairly blunt warning to the audience that his sexual appetite extends further than heterosexual limitations). Tabloids had Johnny Depp (Rochester) sharing a steamy kiss with Rupert Friend (Downs), but their relationship has been reduced to two brief, ambiguous scenes.

"Tagline: He didn't resist temptation. He pursued it."


In need of Rochester’s writing skill, King Charles II (Malkovich) summons the Earl (Depp) back to London, retracting his earlier banishment. As in life, Rochester is shown carrying on with his friends, the Merry Gang, including George Etherege (Hollander) and Charles Sackville (Vegas). On his way back to the court, Rochester comes across a thief, Alcock (Coyle), and hires him as his gentleman on the spot. For one of his first social engagements in London, he takes in a play featuring Elizabeth Barry (Morton), who is booed off the stage and fired by the company for her poor performance. Rochester is taken with Barry and bets Etherege that can make her a renowned actress in a year’s time. As when Rochester met Barry in reality, he immediately begins to tutor her and they fall in love.

Meanwhile, Charles asks Rochester to write a great work about him, to bolster his legacy as king. Barry delivers a brilliant performance at her next play and Etherege pays off his debt to Rochester. The king pays Barry to spy on Rochester to keep track of his progress. Billy Downs (Friend) joins the Merry Gang, and becomes a close friend of Rochester’s. Charles, in need of money from France, asks Rochester to write an extravagant play in honor of the French Ambassador’s visit, hoping it will impress the Ambassador to lend his support. Instead, Rochester writes "A Satyr on Charles II", which involves nude actors, phallic imagery, the distribution of ornate dildos, and a scathingly veridical criticism of the King played by Rochester himself. Outraged, Charles interrupts the play and Rochester flees. Rochester continues to slide into debauchery, creating a skirmish outside a house of prostitution that leads to Downs’s death.

For six months Rochester escapes the scrutiny of the King while suffering the effects of syphilis. Hiding in the English countryside under the pseudonym of Doctor Bendo with the help of Alcock and Jane, his concubine and confidant. Rochester conceals his facial gummata beneath a mask and peddles medical services. Eventually he is found, but instead of any capital punishment, the King decides a worse fate would be to ignore him, in his words, “condemning you to be you for the rest of your days”. He returns to his wife (Pike) and his home, where his mother convinces him to renounce his atheism and accept Christianity.

In the meantime, Charles’s unpopular support of Catholicism in England has led to his political beating in Parliament. Unable to conceive any heirs with his wife it was feared that his Catholic brother, James, Duke of York would become king. So Parliament introduced the Exclusion Bill to deny James the throne which seemed sure to pass by 15 votes. Rochester makes a dramatic entrance into Parliament, wearing a silver nosepiece, because he is nose-less, heavy pancake makeup to conceal the ravages of syphilis, and hobbling on two canes, and eloquently denounces the Bill, to his heroic shame. As Rochester walks off, the subsequent vote kills the bill by over 40 votes. He goes to see Barry who reveals they had a daughter together, yet she rejects him. He returns to his home to his deathbed. Recalling fond memories, he dies with his wife, mother, and Alcock by his side.


* Johnny Depp as John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester
* John Malkovich as King Charles II of England
* Samantha Morton as Elizabeth Barry
* Rosamund Pike as Elizabeth Wilmot, Countess of Rochester (née Elizabeth Malet)
* Tom Hollander as Sir George Etherege
* Johnny Vegas as Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset
* Richard Coyle as Alcock
* Rupert Friend as Billy Downs
* Jack Davenport as Harris
* Kelly Reilly as Jane


Infobox Album
Name = The Libertine
music for the film by Laurence Dunmore
Type = soundtrack
Longtype =
Artist = Michael Nyman

Cover size = 200
Caption = photograph by Michael Nyman
design by Russell Mills and Michael Webster
Released = November 29, 1995
June 24, 2008 (USA: reissue)
Recorded = August 2004 (Angel Recording Studios Limited, London)
March 2005 (Olympic Studios, London)
Genre = Soundtrack, Contemporary classical music, Minimalist music
Length = 48:05
Language = English
Label = MN Records
Director =
Producer = Michael Nyman
Reviews =
Compiler =
Chronology =
Last album = The Piano Sings
This album = The Libertine
Next album =
Misc =

"The Libertine" is the third release on Michael Nyman's own label, MN Records, and the first to receive distribution in the United States, by Inner Knot Records. It is his 50th album release overall. When Naxos Records began distributing MN Records in the United States in 2008, it was included and began appearing in large quantitites in stores. This is Nyman's last score for a major motion picture to date, and his last soundtrack release.

The score includes the song "If" (as "Rochester's farewell," with partially changed lyrics, removal of the quotes from "Time Lapse" from "A Zed & Two Noughts", and the addition of a setting of the "Kyrie") performed by Hilary Summers, who originally performed it in the film, "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1995). It also includes an abridgement by Jeffreys of one of Wilmot's most famous poems, "Signior Dildo", also sung by Ms. Summers. A recurring theme on the album which first appears in "Upon drinking in a bowl" for solo viola, became the basis of the "Interlude in C" for Accent007 ensemble. "The maimed debauchee" is a fairly brief piece, but resembles the Interlude at its climax. The theme reappears in a longer version as "Against constancy."

The album primarily follows the order of the film, but there are exceptions, including "My Lord all-pride," which immediately follows "Signior Dildo" in the film, as Wilmot steps out from curtains painted to resemble female genitalia.

Portions of the score appear in all-brass arrangments on the album, Nyman Brass.

Track listing

#History of the insipid
#Upon drinking in a bowl
#Impromptu on an English court
#Upon nothing
#The maimed debauchee
#The wish
#The submission
#A ramble in St. James's Park
#The mistress
#Signior dildo
#Against constancy
#My Lord all-pride
#The imperfect enjoyment
#A satire against reason
#Rochester's farewell
#A satire upon mankind
#Upon leaving his mistress


Michael Nyman Orchestra
*Gaby Lester, violin (leader)
*Cathy Thompson, violin (leader)
*Thomas Bowes, violin
*Bev Davison, violin
*Manon Derome, violin
*Clive Dobbins, violin
*Jonathan Evans-Jones, violin
*Rebecca Hirsch, violin
*Philippa Ibbotson, violin
*Helen Paterson, violin
*Debbie Widdup, violin
*Kate Musker, viola
*Jonathan Barritt, viola
*James Boyd, viola
*Richard Cookson, viola
*John Metcalfe, viola
*Bruce White, viola
*Tony Hinnigan, cello
*Nick Cooper, cello
*Sophie Harris, cello
*William Scholfield, cello
*Linda Houghton, double bass
*Martin Elliott, bass guitar
*David Roach, soprano, alto sax
*Simon Haram, soprano, alto sax
*Jamie Talbot, soprano, tenor sax
*Andy Findon, baritone sax, flute, piccolo
*Steve Sidwell, trumpet
*David Lee, horn
*Nigel Barr, bass trombone
*Martin Allen, percussion
*Michael Nyman, piano

*Hilary Summers, contralto
*Capital Voices

*Music composed, conducted, and produced by Michael Nyman
*Assistant to the composer: Andrew Keenan
*Recorded, mixed, and edited by Austin Ince
*Assistant Engineers: Mat Bartram and Roland Heap
*Orchestra contractor: Isobel Griffiths
*Published by Boosey and Hawkes Music Publisgers/Michael Nyman Ltd. 2005Except Track 15, music by Michael Nyman, text by Stephen Jeffreys Published by Chester Music Ltd./Michael Nyman Ltd. 2005

*Special thanks to Annette Gentz, Elizabeth Lloyd, Rachel Thomas, Polly Hope, Andrew Thompson, James Ware, Declan Colgan and especially Laurnce Dunmore

*Design by Russell Mills (shed) []
*Co-design by Michael Webster (storm) []
*Photography by Michael Nyman

Box office

The film has grossed a total of $4.8 million in the United States and $10.8 million worldwide []


* John Malkovich, who served as both actor and producer in the film, had appeared as the main character, Lord Rochester, in its first run on stage but had himself asked Johnny Depp to take the role in the movie version.
* Johnny Depp, Tom Hollander, and Jack Davenport also have starring roles together in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film series.
* Tom Hollander, Rosamund Pike, Kelly Reilly, and Rupert Friend all later worked together on 2005's "Pride and Prejudice"
* Both Jack Davenport and Richard Coyle starred in the UK-sitcom "Coupling"
* Johnny Depp suggested that Captain Jack Sparrow, his "Pirates of the Caribbean" character, had had his nose sliced off in a battle and had it poorly stitched back on, causing him to have a mortal fear of dust, pepper and anything else that might cause him to sneeze it off. The producers nixed the idea, but his character of Wilmot shares a similar ailment.

External links

* [ Official site]
* [ "The Libertine" trailer (Apple Quicktime format)]
* [ The Libertine at Rotten Tomatoes]
* [ Do You Like Me Now?] The ultimate guide to The Libertine

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