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Britain / Films / Phantom
The film and musical "Phantom of the Opera"
  Characters & cast
  Notes about the film
  The musical
  Further information
Related pages:
British films: Britain/Films


The film version of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's successful musical was released in the UK on Friday 10 December 2004.
This is a romantic musical drama: a powerful story about love and rejection. Song is used throughout.

The film, which lasts for about 2 hours 25 minutes, has been nominated for three Golden Globes:
- Best Original Song ("Learn to be Lonely")
- Best Picture: Musical/Comedy
- Best Actress: Musical/Comedy (Emmy Rossum, who plays Christine)

This page gives some background notes and useful links. It doesn't go into the details of the story, so it should not spoil your enjoyment of the story if you have not yet seen the film or musical.

The Phantom of the Opera (DVD)
Studio: Entertainment in Video
Date: May 2005
The Phantom of the Opera: Film Companion (book)
Forewards: Andrew Lloyd Webber & Joel Schmacher
Publisher: Pavilion Books Ltd
Date: November 2004

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The Phantom (Gerard Butler)
and Christine (Emmy Rossum)

* The main characters in the film are:

Christine Daaé, a 16 year old chorus girl (dancer and singer) at the "Opéra Populaire". She is the daughter of a talented Swedish violin player. Her father died when she was 7 and her mother was already dead, so she became an orphan. Since then she has lived in the opera house, looked after by Madame Giry.
- played by Emmy Rossum (an 18 year old American actress):

The Phantom, a masked man who haunts the theatre, also known as the Opéra Ghost or "O.G." He sends notes to the managers to demand money, and insists that box 5 in the opera house is kept free for him during performances. He uses a single red rose as a symbol of his passion.
- played by Gerard Butler (a 35 year old Scottish actor):

Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, the new rich patron (financial supporter) of the opera. He used to play with Christine when she was a young girl, calling her "Little Lotte"
- played by Patrick Wilson (a 31 year old American actor):

* The other main roles are:

Madame Giry, the ballet mistress
- Miranda Richardson:
Meg Giry, Madame Giry's daughter, a chorus girl and Christine's closest friend
- Jennifer Ellison:
Carlotta, the leading soprano (female singer), a strong Italian lady who wants to be treated like a star
- Minnie Driver:
Piangi, the principal tenor (male singer), also Italian
- Victor McGuire:
André, one of the new managers of the theatre
- Simon Callow:
Firmin, one of the new managers of the theatre
- Ciarán Hinds:
Monsieur Lefèvre, the former manager of the theatre
- James Fleet:
Reyer, the man in charge of directing the rehearsals (the repetiteur)
- Murray Melvin:
Buquet, an old stagehand
- Kevin McNally:

* The film has been directed by the American director Joel Schumacher:

* The producer is Andrew Lloyd Webber, who wrote the music:

* The lyrics (words) are by Charles Hart (, with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe (

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Some background notes about the film:

- The story is based on a book "Le Fantôme de l'opéra", written in 1910 by the French author Gaston Leroux (1868-1927):

The Phantom of the Opera (Penguin Popular Classics) (book)
Author: Gaston Leroux
Publisher: Penguin Books
Date: May 1995

- The main story is set in Paris in 1870, a peaceful and prosperous time in France, before the start of the Franco-Prussian war. Note that gas lighting was still being used at that time, and horses and carriages are being used for transport. The start of the film is in 1919, shortly after the end of the First World War. By this time electric lighting has started to be introduced, and cars are being used on the roads.

- The story takes place in the "Opera Populaire". This is not a real place, but is clearly based on the Paris Opera House (also known as the Opera Garnier), the largest opera theatre in the world. Gaston Leroux visited the Opera House while it was under construction (it was built between 1857 and 1874). The Paris Opera House is built above an underground river that leads to a lake. This provided the inspiration for the phantom's hiding place.

The Paris Opera House

- Filming took place at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England. The construction of the sets used 73 tons of steel, 15,000 litres of paint, 92 miles of timber and 51 miles of scaffolding!

- In the 1919 scene at the start of the film, Madame Giry was the woman who was bidding against Raoul for the music box with the monkey on it.

- There are scenes from three operas during the film. The first is Hannibal (by Chalumeau), set in Roman times. The second one is the comic opera Il Muto (meaning "the silent man") (by Albrizzio). The final performance is Don Juan Triumphant, a passionate story set in Spain, written by the Phantom. There is also a masquerade scene. The film's costume department has been kept busy ...

- The chandelier was made by the company Swarovski: It is 17 feet high and 13 feet wide, weighs over 2 tons, and is decorated with more than 20,000 full-cut crystal chandelier pendants. The shape and size is similar to one which hangs at the Paris Opera House, although the design has been altered. The real one was used during most of the film, but was replaced by a copy for the final scenes! There was a real accident in the Paris Opera House in 1896, when the counter-weight of the chandelier fell and killed a member of the audience.

Window display at Swarovski's shop in Regent Street, London

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Phantom of the Opera [Complete Version] [film soundtrack] (2 CDs)
Label: Sony Classical
Date: December 2004
Phantom of the Opera [Selected Highlights] [film soundtrack] (CD)
Label: Sony Classical
Date: December 2004

The following songs are included on the soundtrack album of the film version:

Disc 1
1. Prologue
2. Overture/Hannibal
3. Think Of Me
4. Angel Of Music
5. Little Lotte/The Mirror (Angel Of Music)
6. The Phantom Of The Opera
7. The Music Of The Night
8. Magical Lasso
9. I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It
10. Notes…/Prima Donna
11. Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh
12. Why Have You Brought Me Here/Raoul I’ve Been There
13. All I Ask Of You
14. All I Ask Of You (Reprise)
Disc 2
1. Masquerade/Why So Silent
2. Madame Giry’s Tale/The Fairground
3. Journey To The Cemetery
4. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
5. Wandering Child
6. The Swordfight
7. We Have All Been Blind
8. Don Juan
9. The Point Of No Return/Chandelier Crash
10. Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer
11. Learn To Be Lonely

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If English is not your first language, you may want to study some of these words/phrases before seeing the film or musical:

barrel organ ; vaults ; chandelier ; phantom ; scrap metal ; patron ; childhood sweetheart ; private rendition ; diva ; ghost ; to haunt ; box ; gala ; chorus girl ; tutor ; to coach someone ; angel ; horse and carriage ; soul ; lassoo ; Pandora (Pandora's box) ; Delilah (Samson and Delilah) ; gargoyle ; cast ; retainer ; your days are numbered ; misfortune ; amiable ; page boy ; countess ; playing the lead ; prima donna ; toad ; solitude ; to betray ; to curse the day ; masquerade (bal masqué in French) ; mask ; engagement ; (musical) score ; travelling fair ; gypsy ; ballerina ; architect ; genius ; cemetary ; grave ; companion ; to ensnare ; ordeal by fire ; beyond the point of no return ; abhorrent ; compassion ; to lust for something ; loathing ; fate

Most of the words are sung, in an operatic style. Most lines are quite short and the voices of the main characters are quite clear. A few basic Italian and French expressions are used, but it will not matter if you cannot understand these. Anyone can enjoy the film's beautiful images and music. The main part of the story is easy to follow from the images. However, you will appreciate the songs and story better if you understand the words. If you wish to study the film in detail, note that the "Film Companion" book contains the full script (the screenplay). This could be used together with the film soundtrack.

The following versions of the "Phantom of the Opera" story are available, written in simplified English (these are based on the original book, not the musical).

"The Phantom of the Opera": Audio Pack (book and cassettes) (Level 5: Upper Intermediate)
Publisher: Longman
Date: March 2003
book only
"The Phantom of the Opera" (book) (Level 1: Elementary)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date: January 2000

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Buy tickets for the stage musical in London:
Theatre ticket: Phantom of The Opera (London)

The musical version of Phantom of the Opera opened on October 9, 1986 at Her Majesty's Theatre in London and on January 26, 1988 at the Majestic Theatre in New York. Both productions are still going (as at the end of 2004).

The original London cast of the musical starred:
The Phantom: Michael Crawford:
Christine: Sarah Brightman:
Raoul: Steve Barton:

The Phantom of the Opera [Original Recording Remastered] (2 CDs)
Label: Polydor
Date: July 2000
Highlights from The Phantom of the Opera (CD)
Label: Polydor
Date: June 1999
The Complete Phantom of the Opera (book)
Author: George Perry
Publisher: Pavilion Books Ltd
Date: August 1993

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The official website for The Phantom of the Opera is:
For details of the film, see: This includes story details, the trailer, downloads and photos.

For more about Andrew Lloyd-Webber's musicals, see: Life/Entertainment/London

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Entertainment in London: Life/Entertainment/London
British films: Britain/Films
British music: Britain/Music
Visit Paris: Travel/Tours/France/Paris

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