Set in 16th century Venice, Shakespeare’s timeless comedy/drama follows the fates and fortunes of a group of Christian noblemen and their interactions with the Jewish moneylender Shylock.
Antonio (Irons) borrows money from Shylock (Pacino) to help his young penniless friend Bassanio (Fiennes) in his quest to win the hand of the fair Portia (Collins). Bitter at Antonio’s insults, Shylock stipulates very specific terms if he defaults on the loan. As Antonio’s shipping business is devastated by storms, Shylock is further angered by his daughter’s elopement with the nobleman Lorenzo.
The loan falls due and Shylock claims his forfeit in the form of a pound of Antonio’s flesh. As Bassanio desperately tries to save Antonio from this fate, miraculous help comes from an unexpected quarter.