Winter's Tale (released in the United Kingdom as A New York Winter's Tale[1]) is a 2014 American supernatural fantasy mystery romantic drama film and fable based on the 1983 novel Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin. The film is produced (with Marc E. Platt, Michael Tadross and Tony Allard), written and directed by Akiva Goldsman (in his directorial debut), edited by Wayne Wahrman and Tim Squyres, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, co-produced by Village Roadshow Pictures and Weed Road Pictures with music by Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams and stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint, Russell Crowe and Will Smith. Winter's Tale premiered at London on February 13, 2014 and was theatrically released on February 14, 2014 in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film received generally negative reviews from critics and was a box office bomb, failing to make back its $60 million budget. It also received a Golden Trailer nomination for Best Romance Poster. Winter's Tale was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 24, 2014 by Warner Home Video.


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 City, 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 and 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, the angel disguised as a waiter 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 races faster than ever due to the poison in her heart, and she dies. After the funeral, when 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 119 year-old, but physically undiminished Peter, bumps into a young 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 in which his parents placed him. Peter then discovers the Theatre of the Coheeries, founded by Isaac, who has dedicated it to Beverly. He visits the Isaac Penn Reading Room where Virginia works, and she helps him restore his memory 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.

When Peter visits the Gamelys for dinner, he learns that Abby has cancer. Realizing that Abby, who is wearing a red scarf (like his sketches) and has red hair, and 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 Boroughs. After Horse dispatches Pearly's men by crashing the ice so that they all drown, Peter and Pearly engage in a fistfight. Peter is losing until a light shines from the heavens and allows Peter to stab Pearly in the neck with the name plate from the boat, "City of Justice." Pearly turns to snow and Peter is able to save Abby on the princess bed after he kisses her forehead. After visiting Beverly's grave one last time, Peter mounts the horse to be carried away to the stars, while the elderly Willa witnesses his ascension.



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.[5][6] 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.[7] Benjamin Walker, Tom Hiddleston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Garrett Hedlund auditioned for the role of Peter Lake[8] while Elizabeth Olsen, Bella Heathcote, Gabriella Wilde and Sarah Gadon tested for the role of Beverly Penn.[9] 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.[8] William Hurt joined the cast as Beverly's father, Isaac Penn, in August 2012.[10] In September 2012 multiple new cast members were announced, including Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths and Eva Marie Saint.[11] The final major addition to the cast was Jennifer Connelly, whose involvement was confirmed in October 2012 shortly before the start of filming.[12] Principal photography began in October 2012 but was delayed due to Hurricane Sandy.[13] Shooting took place at locations across New York City including Grand Central Terminal, Red Hook, Brooklyn, East Village, Manhattan, and Central Park..[14][15][16] Filming was also done at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York.[17] The cinematographer was Caleb Deschanel,[18] who photographed the film with Arri Alexa digital cameras and Panavision C-, E- and G-Series anamorphic lenses.[19]


Winter's Tale premiered at London on February 13, 2014 and was theatrically released on February 14, 2014 in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Home media

Winter's Tale was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 24, 2014 by Warner Home Video.


Critical response

On review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 13% based on 134 reviews, with an average rating of 3.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "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."[20] On another aggregation site, Metacritic, it has a score of 31 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[21]

Box office

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.


List of awards and nominations
Award Award Category Nominee Result
Golden Trailer Awards 2014 and Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards 2015 Golden Trailer Best Romance Poster Warner Bros. and Ignition Creative Nominated
Artisan Best Contemporary Hair Styling - Feature Films Alan D'Angerio and Jason Joseph Sica Nominated


The musical score for Winter's Tale was composed Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams.[18] A soundtrack album was released on February 11, 2014 by WaterTower Music.[22] 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.[23]


  1. "Masquerade Suite" – Written by Aram Khachaturyan
  2. "Miracle" – Written, produced, and performed by KT Tunstall
  3. All other music – Composed and written by Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams




  1. 1.0 1.1 "A NEW YORK WINTER'S TALE (12A)".. British Board of Film Classification (February 5, 2014). Retrieved on February 5, 2014.
  2. Script error
  3. "Winter's Tale".. Retrieved on March 20, 2014.
  4. "Full cast and crew for Winter's Tale".. Internet Movie Database (January 30, 2013). Retrieved on January 30, 2013.
  5. "Akiva Goldsman Gets Green Light On ‘Winter’s Tale’ At Warner Bros", (February 1, 2011). Retrieved on January 28, 2013. 
  6. "Casting Couch: Who's Testing for Directors Roland Emmerich, Akiva Goldsman and 'Die Hard 5' (Exclusive)". (April 11, 2011). Retrieved on 28 January 2013.
  7. "Russell Crowe and Will Smith Save Akiva Goldsman's Directing Debut, Winter’s Tale", (February 1, 2012). Retrieved on January 29, 2013. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Colin Farrell Offered Lead In Akiva Goldsman's 'Winter's Tale' Opposite 'Downton Abbey' Star Jessica Brown-Findlay", IndieWire (April 26, 2012). Retrieved on January 29, 2013. 
  9. "Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Hiddleston Up For Akiva Goldsman's Winter's Tale", Cinema Blend (November 7, 2011). Retrieved on January 29, 2013. 
  10. "William Hurt Joins Akiva Goldsman's ‘Winter’s Tale’".. (August 1, 2012). Retrieved on 28 January 2013.
  11. "Akiva Goldsman’s ‘Winter’s Tale’ Sets Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths, Eva Marie Saint".. (September 21, 2012). Retrieved on 28 January 2013.
  12. "Jennifer Connelly Joining Akiva Goldsman’s ‘Winter’s Tale’".. (October 11, 2012). Retrieved on 28 January 2013.
  13. "Hurricane Sandy shuts down film and TV production on East Coast". (October 29, 2012). Retrieved on 28 January 2013.
  14. "Crowe ‘Tale’ of B’klyn woe", New York Post (November 27, 2012). Retrieved on 28 January 2013. 
  15. "'Winter's Tale' filming around Cooper Square; Russell Crowe Alert".. EV Grieve (December 2, 2012). Retrieved on 28 January 2013.
  16. "Adam Levine soaks up the L.A. sun while Jennifer Connelly freezes in New York".. EV Grieve (January 16, 2013). Retrieved on 28 January 2013.
  17. "Hollywood Snow Falls on Lyndhurst". (January 29, 2013). Retrieved on February 11, 2014.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Below-the-Line Impact Report 2012", Variety (July 30, 2012). Retrieved on January 28, 2013. 
  19. "Celebrate Valentine's Day with 'Winter's Tale'", Panavision. Retrieved on February 21, 2014. 
  20. "Winter's Tale (2014)".. Retrieved on May 4, 2014.
  21. "Winter's Tale".. Retrieved on February 21, 2014.
  22. "WaterTower Music to Release Hans Zimmer's and Rupert Gregson-Williams’ ‘Winter’s Tale’ Score". (December 17, 2013). Retrieved on December 18, 2013.
  23. "Get Ready for Romance With Four Exclusive Tracks From the 'Winter's Tale' Soundtrack". (February 4, 2014). Retrieved on February 4, 2014.

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