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BWW Flashback: The Impact of Baz Luhrman's MOULIN ROUGE

BWW Flashback: The Impact of Baz Luhrman's MOULIN ROUGE

Tonight, Moulin Rouge! officially opens on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, but that wouldn't be possible without the Baz Luhrmann film that took audiences by storm in 2001.

Moulin Rouge! was a jukebox musical, romantic drama film that was the third and final installment of Red Curtain Trilogy, Luhrmann's film concept that included Strictly Ballroom and Romeo + Juliet.

In honor of Moulin Rouge! opening on Broadway tonight, BroadwayWorld is reminding readers of the impact the 2001 film had on society!

The Stars

The film starred Ewan McGregor as Christian and Nicole Kidman as Satine, but there were many other leading men and women considered for the role:


Leonardo DiCaprio, Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, Tim Wheeler, and Ronan Keating were all contenders to play the depressed writer.


Courtney Love auditioned for the role of Satine and assisted in clearing licensing rights for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to be used in the film. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kate Winslet, Hilary Swank, Renée Zellweger, Drew Barrymore, Natalie Mendoza, Sharleen Spiteri, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor were also in contention for the star performer.

Box Office

Moulin Rouge! had a budget of $52,500,000. On its opening weekend in the U.S., the film grossed $167,540 in its May 2001 limited release. The film grossed $57,386,607 in the U.S. and $179,213,434 worldwide.


Rotten Tomatoes labeled Moulin Rouge! 'Certified Fresh' at 76%. The critics consensus of the film was: "A love-it-or-hate-it experience, Moulin Rouge is all style, all giddy, over-the-top spectacle. But it's also daring in its vision and wildly original."

Variety's Todd McCarthy also called Moulin Rouge "a tour de force of artifice, a dazzling pastiche of musical and visual elements at the service of a blatantly artificial story"

Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying "The movie is all color and music, sound and motion, kinetic energy, broad strokes, operatic excess. While it might be most convenient to see it from the beginning, it hardly makes any difference; walk in at any moment and you'll quickly know who is good and bad, who is in love and why--and then all the rest is song, dance, spectacular production numbers, protestations of love, exhalations of regret, vows of revenge and grand destructive gestures. It's like being trapped on an elevator with the circus."


Moulin Rouge! was nominated for eight Oscars at the 74th Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Nicole Kidman. The film won two for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

It was the first musical nominated for Best Picture in 10 years, the last film being Disney's Beauty and the Beast in 1991.

Moulin Rouge! also received six Golden Globe nominations including Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy (for Nicole Kidman), Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy (for Ewan McGregor), Best Original Score (for Craig Armstrong), Best Director (for Baz Luhrmann) and Best Song ("Come What May"). The film won three including Best Picture.

The film received 13 nominations at the BAFTA Awards, and it was the most nominated film of the year for that ceremony. Moulin Rouge ended up winning three BAFTAs.


Moulin Rouge! was selected by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2001.

Entertainment Weekly put the film on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "Baz Luhrmann's trippy pop culture pastiche from 2001 was an aesthetically arresting ode to poetry, passion, and Elton John. It was so good, we'll forgive him for Australia."

In December 2001, Moulin Rouge was named the best film of the year by viewers of Film 2001 and in BBC's 2016 poll of the greatest films since 2000, Moulin Rouge! ranked 53rd.

Moulin Rouge! was very popular among audiences, with its soundtrack peaking at number 3 on the United States Billboard 200 chart. The soundtrack was it was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on 23 April 2002.

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From This Author Kaitlin Milligan