The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

December 25th 2009
  • Adventure/Fantasy,
  • PG-13,
  • 122 min,
  • Sony Pictures Classics
  • Cast: Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Lily Cole, Andrew Garfield, Verne Troyer, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jude Law, Quinn Lord, Paloma Faith, Carrie Genzel, Michael Eklund, Brad Dryborough, Ryan Grantham, Johnny Harris, Mark Benton, Simon Day, Richard Riddell, Vitaly Kravchenko, Igor Ingelsman
  • Director: Terry Gilliam
  • Writers: Terry Gilliam, Charles McKeown
  • Producers: Amy Gilliam, Terry Gilliam, Samuel Hadida, William Vince
  • Executive Producers: Patrice Theroux, David Valleau
  • Art Directions: Dan Hermansen, Denis Schnegg
  • Castings: Irene Lamb, Maureen Webb
  • Costume Design: Monique Prudhomme
  • D.O.P.: Nicola Pecorini
  • Editor: Mick Audsley
  • Makeup: Krista Young
  • Musics: Jeff Danna, Mychael Danna
  • Production Design: Anastasia Masaro
  • Set Decorations: Caroline Smith, Shane Vieau


The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" is a fantastical morality tale, set in the present day. It tells the story of Dr Parnassus and his extraordinary 'Imaginarium', a traveling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Dr Parnassus is cursed with a dark secret. Long ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr Nick, in which he won immortality. Many centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his first-born reached its 16th birthday he or she would become the property of Mr Nick.

Valentina is now rapidly approaching this 'coming of age' milestone and Dr Parnassus is desperate to protect her from her impending fate. Mr Nick arrives to collect but, always keen to make a bet, renegotiates the wager. Now the winner of Valentina will be determined by whoever seduces the first five souls. Enlisting a series of wild, comical and compelling characters in his journey, Dr Parnassus promises his daughter's hand in marriage to the man that helps him win. In this captivating, explosive and wonderfully imaginative race against time, Dr Parnassus must fight to save his daughter in a never-ending landscape of surreal obstacles - and undo the mistakes of his past once and for all.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Filming Locations: London, UK; Vancouver, Canada
  • MPAA Warning: Violent images, some sensuality, language and smoking
  • Production Budget: $45 million
  • Production Companies: Davis-Films, Grosvenor Park Productions, Infinity Features Entertainment, Parnassus Productions, Poo Poo Pictures
  • Production Schedule: December 27th 2007 - April 2008

Featured Articles

  • This film has no related articles.


Heath Ledger's last movie project.

After the death of Heath Ledger, production was shut down for a few months. Then it was re-started when Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell agreed to complete Ledger's role. The film's fantasy premise, and some clever rewrites, let the actors play a man whose appearance changes as he travels between imaginary worlds.

The first film that Terry Gilliam storyboarded himself since The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).

Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law gave all the income they received for this movie to Heath Ledger's daughter Matilda so that her economic future would be secure.

According to Terry Gilliam, the last line Heath Ledger spoke for filming on the set was "Don't shoot the messenger." When Johnny Depp filmed his role after Ledger's death, Depp asked Gilliam if he could try a new ad-lib: "Don't shoot the messenger", unaware that Ledger had improvised an identical line. Gilliam was astounded, remarking, "Heath is still out there. Johnny's channeling Heath somehow. I mean, Shirley MacLaine would love all this."

The film contains various references to the classic staging of Samuel Beckett's play Waiting For Godot including Tom Waits' black suit and bowler hat and Jude Law dragging a rope noosed around his neck (as does Lucky in the play)

Heath Ledger improvised half of his comedic dialogue on set.

Jensen Ackles auditioned for the role of Anton.

Eva Green was first choice to play Valentina.

Trailers & Clips

This film has no associated trailers or clips.

Worldwide Release Dates

  • 16 October 2009: UK
  • 23 October 2009: Italy, Spain
  • 29 October 2009: Australia
  • 31 October 2009: Vietnam
  • 5 November 2009: New Zealand
  • 11 November 2009: France
  • 20 November 2009: Iceland
  • 26 November 2009: Greece
  • 4 December 2009: Sweden
  • 18 December 2009: Finland
  • 24 December 2009: South Korea
  • 25 December 2009: Canada, Denmark, Estonia
  • 26 December 2009: Norway
  • 5 January 2010 : Argentina
  • 7 January 2010 : Germany
  • 8 January 2010 : Austria, Poland
  • 10 January 2010 : Bulgaria
  • 15 January 2010 : Lithuania
  • 21 January 2010 : Czech Republic
  • 28 January 2010 : Russia
  • 30 January 2010 : Japan
  • 4 February 2010 : Portugal
  • 5 February 2010 : South Africa
  • 11 February 2010 : Netherlands
  • 26 February 2010 : Latvia