Where is “Shakespeare” in My Own Private Idaho? Who, what or where is the work undertaken by the bard or the shadows of the bard? This is the question this essay poses. The director, Gus Van Sant, has asserted that “the reason Scott’s like he is is because of the Shakespeare, and the reason Shakespeare is in the film is to transcend time, to show that these things have always happened, everywhere” (Fuller 1993:xlii). This seems more like a retrospective claim for the transcendent qualities of Shakespeare than a consideration of the specific place of the Henry IV plays in the film. What place do the Shakespearean sections claim, and what implications do they have for the way the film organizes its subjects and viewers? In finding Shakespeare in the film this essay aims to tease out some of the implications of the film, concentrating on paternity and the family tree, visual versus verbal signifiers and the uncanny/sublime as these are deployed through the narrative.