Winter's Tale (film)

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Winter's Tale
Winter's tale (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Akiva Goldsman
Produced by
Screenplay by Akiva Goldsman
Based on Winter's Tale 
by Mark Helprin
Music by
Cinematography Caleb Deschanel
Edited by
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Roadshow Entertainment (Australia & New Zealand)[1]
Release dates
  • February 13, 2014 (2014-02-13) (London)
  • February 14, 2014 (2014-02-14) (United States)
Running time
118 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million[3]
Box office $30,800,231[4]

Winter's Tale (released in the United Kingdom as A New York Winter's Tale[2]) is an allegorical 2014 American supernatural fable based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Mark Helprin. The film is written and directed by Akiva Goldsman (in his directorial debut) and stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, and Russell Crowe.

Winter's Tale received generally negative reviews. The consensus stated: "Winter's Tale tries to retain the grandiose sweep of its source novel, but fails to fill it in with characters worth rooting for or a sensible plot."[5] The film opened poorly at #7 with just $7.3 million in its first weekend. Winter's Tale grossed just $12.6 million in the United States, and $18.2 million abroad for a total of $30.8 million worldwide.


In 1895, a young immigrant couple is refused entry into Manhattan because they have consumption. When their infant son is not allowed entry to the country without them, the couple place him in a model sailboat named "City of Justice," in which the baby floats to the New York City shoreline.

In 1916, the baby boy has grown up to become Peter Lake (Colin Farrell), a thief raised by a supernatural demon posing as the gangster Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe). Peter is marked for death when he decides to leave Pearly's gang. In a confrontation, he is rescued by a mysterious (winged at times) white horse, his guardian angel. Although Peter hopes to move to Florida and come back in the summer, the horse encourages him to steal from one last mansion. The mansion is the home where Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay) lives, a young woman dying of consumption, whose fever is so high she sleeps outside in a tent in the winter cold. While her publisher father Isaac, and younger sister Willa, are not home, Beverly discovers Peter Lake preparing to rob the house. When Peter assures her that he no longer wishes to commit robbery, Beverly offers to make him a cup of tea. They tell each other their stories and fall in love.

Pearly orders his men to Beverly’s home, believing that saving her is Peter's "miracle" and spiritual destiny and that he can destroy Peter by preventing it. Peter rescues Beverly from being knifed by Pearly, and they escape to the Lake of the Coheeries, where Pearly, who is supernaturally limited to the five boroughs of New York, cannot follow. Peter meets Beverly’s family at their summer home and wins their respect. While on a walk, Beverly explains to Peter that everyone is born with a miracle inside, where they are ultimately destined to become stars when they die.

Pearly asks the devil, Lucifer (Will Smith), for access to the lake home, but his request is denied. Instead, Pearly, who refers to himself as a Knight among Lucifer's angels, calls in a debt owed to him by another of Lucifer’s angels. At a ball, a man poisons Beverly's drink. When Peter and Beverly return home from the ball, Peter watches the shadows she casts upon the sides of her lighted tent, joins her, and the two make love. Her pulse racing ever faster due to the poison in her heart and she dies.

After the funeral, as Peter and his mysterious white Horse return to the city, Pearly and his men surround them on the Brooklyn Bridge. To save its life, Peter orders his mysterious winged Horse to fly away, and Pearly gives Peter five vicious head-butts, pushing him off the bridge. Peter miraculously survives but wanders around the city with amnesia for a century, drawing chalk art of a red-headed girl on the pavements.

In 2014, the century old, but not physically aged, Peter bumps into a girl named Abby and meets her mother, Virginia Gamely (Jennifer Connelly.) He rediscovers the brass name plate of the "City of Justice," the toy sailboat his parents placed him in. Peter then discovers the Theatre of the Coheeries, founded by Isaac who has dedicated it to Beverly. He goes to the Isaac Penn Reading Room where Virginia works, and she helps him get his memory back using historical photographs archived at the library. While there, he meets Beverly’s now elderly sister Willa (Eva Marie Saint), who is the owner of Virginia's newspaper. Abby has a seizure, revealing that she has cancer. Realizing that Abby, who is wearing a red scarf (like his sketches) and has red hair, not Beverly, is his "miracle" and spiritual destiny, Peter convinces Virginia that he can save Abby.

When Pearly learns that Peter is still alive and with Virginia, he is so enraged that he gives up his immortality for a chance to destroy him. Pearly and his men arrive at Virginia's apartment, causing Peter and Virginia to flee to the rooftop with Abby. The mysterious winged horse flies them to the Lake of the Coheeries, but Pearly, now mortal, can pursue Peter beyond the Five Burroughs. After Horse dispatches Pearly's men by crashing the ice so they all drown, Peter and Pearly engage in a fistfight and Peter stabs Pearly with the name plate from the "City of Justice." Pearly turns to snow, and Peter is able to save Abby on the princess bed after his tear falls on her.

After visiting Beverly's grave one last time, Peter mounts the horse to be carried away to the stars.


Listo, an Andalusian stallion that plays "The Horse"



Initially Warner Bros. attempted to sign Martin Scorsese in 2002, but he turned down the chance to direct the movie calling it "unfilmable." Later on Winter's Tale became a "passion project" for director Akiva Goldsman, who was given the go-ahead by Warner Bros. in February 2011 with a budget of $75 million.[8][9] It was reported that the film's budget was dropped to $60 million in February 2012; at the same time Will Smith and Russell Crowe were linked to the project in supporting roles.[10]

Benjamin Walker, Tom Hiddleston, Aaron Johnson, and Garrett Hedlund auditioned for the role of Peter Lake[11] while Elizabeth Olsen, Bella Heathcote, Gabriella Wilde and Sarah Gadon tested for the role of Beverly Penn.[12] In March 2012 it was reported that Jessica Brown Findlay had been offered the role of Beverly; Colin Farrell was linked to the role of Peter Lake in the following month.[11]

William Hurt joined the cast as Beverly's father, Isaac Penn, in August 2012.[13] In September 2012 multiple new cast members were announced, including Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths and Eva Marie Saint.[14] The final major addition to the cast was Jennifer Connelly, whose involvement was confirmed in October 2012 shortly before the start of filming.[15]


Principal photography began in October 2012 but was delayed due to Hurricane Sandy.[16] Shooting took place at locations across New York City including Grand Central Terminal, Red Hook, Brooklyn, East Village, Manhattan, and Central Park.[17][18][19] Filming was also done at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York.[20] The cinematographer was Caleb Deschanel,[21] who photographed the film with Arri Alexa digital cameras and Panavision C-, E- and G-Series anamorphic lenses.[22]


The musical score for Winter's Tale was composed Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams.[21] A soundtrack album was released on February 11, 2014 by WaterTower Music.[23]

On February 4, 2014, four tracks were revealed on Soundcloud. "Miracle", by Scottish singer KT Tunstall became the lead single of the soundtrack. The three other tracks were "What's the Best Thing You've Ever Stolen?", "You Don't Quit Me, Boy", and "She Was Like a Bright Light" all composed by Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams.[24]


Winter's Tale has received generally negative reviews. On film review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 13% rating, with an average score of 3.6/10, based on reviews from 134 critics. The consensus states: "Winter's Tale tries to retain the grandiose sweep of its source novel, but fails to fill it in with characters worth rooting for or a sensible plot."[25] On another aggregation site, Metacritic, it holds a 31/100 score (citing "generally unfavorable reviews"), with reviews from 35 critics.[26]

Box office[edit]

The film opened poorly at #7 with just $7.3 million in its first weekend. Winter's Tale grossed just $12.6 million in the United States, and $18.2 million abroad for a total of $30.8 million worldwide.


  1. ^ "Film Distribution - Village Roadshow Limited". Village Roadshow Pictures. 2014-02-11. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  2. ^ a b "A NEW YORK WINTER'S TALE (12A)". Warner Bros. British Board of Film Classification. February 5, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Winter's Tale". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Winter's Tale". Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Winter's Tale (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 4, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Full cast and crew for Winter's Tale". Internet Movie Database. January 30, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Andalusian Stars in 'A Winter's Tale'". AndalusianWorld. February 22, 2013. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Akiva Goldsman Gets Green Light On ‘Winter’s Tale’ At Warner Bros". February 1, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  9. ^ Kit, Borys (April 11, 2011). "Casting Couch: Who's Testing for Directors Roland Emmerich, Akiva Goldsman and 'Die Hard 5' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Russell Crowe and Will Smith Save Akiva Goldsman's Directing Debut, Winter’s Tale". February 1, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Colin Farrell Offered Lead In Akiva Goldsman's 'Winter's Tale' Opposite 'Downton Abbey' Star Jessica Brown-Findlay". IndieWire. April 26, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Hiddleston Up For Akiva Goldsman's Winter's Tale". Cinema Blend. November 7, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike (August 1, 2012). "William Hurt Joins Akiva Goldsman's ‘Winter’s Tale’". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike (September 21, 2012). "Akiva Goldsman’s ‘Winter’s Tale’ Sets Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths, Eva Marie Saint". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  15. ^ Fleming, Mike (October 11, 2012). "Jennifer Connelly Joining Akiva Goldsman’s ‘Winter’s Tale’". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Verrier, Richard; Blake, Meredith (October 29, 2012). "Hurricane Sandy shuts down film and TV production on East Coast". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "Crowe ‘Tale’ of B’klyn woe". New York Post. November 27, 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "'Winter's Tale' filming around Cooper Square; Russell Crowe Alert". EV Grieve. December 2, 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  19. ^ "Adam Levine soaks up the L.A. sun while Jennifer Connelly freezes in New York". EV Grieve. January 16, 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Hollywood Snow Falls on Lyndhurst". Rye Patch. January 29, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Below-the-Line Impact Report 2012". Variety. July 30, 2012. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Celebrate Valentine's Day with 'Winter's Tale'". Panavision. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  23. ^ "WaterTower Music to Release Hans Zimmer's and Rupert Gregson-Williams’ ‘Winter’s Tale’ Score". Film Music Reporter. December 17, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Get Ready for Romance With Four Exclusive Tracks From the 'Winter's Tale' Soundtrack". Moviefone. February 4, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Winter's Tale (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 4, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Winter's Tale". Metacritic. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 

External links[edit]