The Red Violin

Released 1999


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Movie Summary

Francois Girard
The Red Violin is a 1998 epic drama whose main character is a violin. It is a Canadian made film and tells the story of this violin over the course of three centuries as it passes through the hands of different owners. The instrument is displayed as the embodiment of pure passion as it was crafted with love and painted with the very blood of the creator's deceased beloved wife. The violin is said to be a perfectly crafted work of art that carries with it pure perfect sound and brings great success and passion to whomever's hands it touches. The violin and story becomes a whimsical tale of the adventures that surround such a mystical instrument. From it's birth in 1681 to 1793 Vienna to 1890's Oxford to 1960's Shanghai and finally to 1997 Montreal. The violin has had a 300 year life ending in an auction. The instrument has become that of fable and when a collector and preservationist (Samuel L. Jackson) sees what many don't notice, he will do anything to get his hands on it. The film is a surprisingly adrenaline packed thriller while at the same time cultivating a love and passion for music that is unparalleled.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 88

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    There really is a little something here for everyone: music and culture, politics and passion, crime and intrigue, history and even the backstage intrigue of the auction business.

  • 60

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    Wants to make a grand statement about the mystical power (both celestial and demonic) of great music. But give or take some scattered musical moments, the frame in which that messa...

  • 50

    Variety David Stratton

    Fails on a number of counts, mostly because the individual stories aren't very gripping.

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More Info About This Movie


Arts, Drama, Music, Suspense


90s, Independent, Love & Romance