Shakespeare on film

With my ratings & comments.

I love the plays in a variety of guises--traditional, modernized, surreal, abstract, animated, parody; in ballet and opera; I even like Silent Shakespeare (there's an entire DVD of films made 1899-1911--look for it at Amazon). I've grouped these alphabetically by Shakespeare's title, and tried to include at least two versions of each one (plus a few derivative works).

Please note that I do not care if a production is "critically acclaimed" or "innovative" or "transgressive" or even if Richard Burbage himself rose from the grave to star in it; I don't care if it's performed in the nude on the dark side of the moon and incorporates every obscure literary theory proposed in the past three decades. I only care if it works.
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1.
Antony and Cleopatra (1974 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
After the murder of her lover Julius Caesar, Egypt's queen Cleopatra needs a new ally. She seduces his probable successor Mark Antony. This develops into real love and slowly leads to a war with the other possible successor, Octavius. (161 mins.)
Director: Jon Scoffield
“ 7/10
Semi-stylized television production. The pacing is leisurely, and Richard Johnson does not dig deep enough into Antony's psyche. But Janet Suzman, Corin Redgrave, and Patrick Stewart all deliver satisfying performances. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
2.
As You Like It (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A duke usurps his brother's land and power, banishing him and his retinue into the forest of Arden. The banished duke's daughter... (96 mins.)
Director: Paul Czinner
“ 5/10
Stiff and astonishingly dull. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
3.
As You Like It (1978 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
After the overthrowing of Duke Senior by his tyrannical brother, Senior's daughter Rosalind disguises herself as a man and sets out to find her banished father while also counseling her clumsy suitor Orlando in the art of wooing. (151 mins.)
Director: Basil Coleman
“ I promise to watch and review it soon. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
4.
Edward II (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
In this Derek Jarman version of Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan drama, in modern costumes and settings... (87 mins.)
Director: Derek Jarman
“ 6/10
Okay, I snuck this one in--this is actually a loose adaptation of a play by Kit Marlowe. But the performances by Waddington and (especially) Swinton are sensitive and intelligent. The direction veers between imaginative and far too obvious; Jarman loses all subtlety in the last half-hour. Still, it's an interesting use of Marlowe's work. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
5.
Hamlet (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his father murdered and his mother remarrying the murderer, his uncle. Meanwhile, war is brewing. (242 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
“ 9/10
A riveting performance from Branagh helps overcome some of the casting mistakes in small roles. Christie is one of the finest Gertrudes I have ever seen. Gorgeous production values; everything is on a grand scale, sometimes too much so. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
6.
Hamlet (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former king. (155 mins.)
“ 8/10
Atmospheric and well-cast. But it's so creepily Freudian that it's never quite convincing. It also never quite shakes off that air of being a play staged for the camera. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
7.
Hamlet (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his father murdered by Claudius, Hamlet's uncle. Claudius usurps the throne of Denmark, and marries Hamlet's recently widowed mother. Hamlet is tormented, haunted, and increasingly unstable. (140 mins.)
“ 8/10
Hmmmm, it's in Russian? And you've never heard of any of the actors? But it's visually rich, with deliciously sinister costumes and sets. The ghost scene may never be outdone. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
8.
Great Performances (1971 TV Series)
Episode: Hamlet (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A Danish prince and university student avenges his father's murder by his uncle, who stole the crown and married his mother.
“ 7/10
The New York Shakespeare Festival gives us a nicely understated, intelligent performance from Kevin Kline in a solid (if sometimes passionless) production in rehearsal dress. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
9.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1980 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Hamlet suspects his uncle has murdered his father to claim the throne of Denmark and the hand of Hamlet's mother, but the prince cannot decide whether or not he should take vengeance. (210 mins.)
Director: Rodney Bennett
“ 7/10
An energetic and passionate production. Jacobi gives us a prince who is literally mad, an unusual interpretation that didn't work for me. Ward's mad scenes fall flat, but Stewart is satisfyingly slimey. This is worth seeing, if not completely to my taste. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
10.
Hamlet (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Nicol Williamson takes the lead role in this star-studded 1969 version of William Shakespeare's tragedy... (117 mins.)
Director: Tony Richardson
“ 7/10
Well-cut text, swiftly paced, intelligent--yet hard to love, not least due to the incestuous Polonius family. Gertrude is also nasty, while Claudius is a brutal lout. Williamson (looking strangely like Gene Wilder) is understated, intense, and natural. Performed in period dress with too many close-ups and never enough light. I can't say I liked this version--but I do respect it. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
11.
Hamlet (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The highly successful 1964 Richard Burton Broadway production of "Hamlet", deliberately staged in the style of a "dress rehearsal", but performed in front of a live audience. (191 mins.)
“ 6/10
Performed in rehearsal dress. Burton and his melodious voice utterly overwhelm his co-stars, espcially Cronyn, who might as well be in a deli ordering a ham-on-rye. I did like the spare staging. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
12.
Hamlet (2000 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
The classic Shakespeare tragedy is revisioned in America at the turn of the 20th Century. Campbell Scott (Singles... (178 mins.)
“ 6/10
The weird decision to set this in the ante-bellum American South results in some good things and some bad things (it's obviously a problem for a significant portion of the text). The play builds well; Scott offers us a Hamlet who is really thinking his lines. Roscoe Lee Brown's Polonius is shorn of his comedy, and makes an interestingly strong character. This is an accessible production, and worth a look. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
13.
Hamlet (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Modern-day New York City adaptation of Shakespeare's immortal story about Hamlet's plight to avenge his father's murder. (112 mins.)
“ 5/10
An interesting experiment with a contemporary setting that doesn't quite work, despite some good performances (especially from Bill Murray). ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
14.
Hamlet (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans revenge. (135 mins.)
“ 4/10
Gibson struggles with the verse, Close struggles with interpretation, and everything is awash in an embarrassing Oedipal stew. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
15.
Discovering Hamlet (1990 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A unique, behind-the-scenes look at Shakespeare's great play. In 1988, rising star Kenneth Branagh played the Prince of Denmark for the first time... (53 mins.)
Director: Mark Olshaker
“ 7/10
Plentiful insights into how a young Branagh began to explore the character for a stage performance under the direction of Derek Jacobi. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
16.
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Two minor characters from the play 'Hamlet' stumble around unaware of their scripted lives and unable to deviate from them. (117 mins.)
Director: Tom Stoppard
“ 4/10
Maybe I was in the wrong mood when I watched this--I find it hard to believe this was ever considered funny or profound. Ever. It's so very very 1960s. If you want me to sit through a couple hours of absurdism, you at least have to give me a mob of invisible rhinoceroses. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
17.
Henry IV Part I (1979 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Henry Bolingbroke has now been crowned King of England, but faces a rebellion headed by the embittered... (148 mins.)
Director: David Giles
“ 8/10
Stagey yet impressive TV version, with an extremely strong cast. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
18.
Henry IV Part II (1979 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Henry Bolingbroke has now been crowned King of England, but faces a rebellion headed by the embittered... (150 mins.)
Director: David Giles
“ 7/10
The distinguished cast from Part I returns. This needed better pacing and higher production values, but it's still a solid interpretation. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
19.
Henry V (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415. (137 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
“ 8/10
Dark, bloody, and gritty. Superb cast, great sets, and strong direction from Branagh. Wonderful musical score. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
20.
Henry V (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415. (137 mins.)
“ 7/10
Excellent performances in a severely truncated text. Made in wartime Britain, this version presents Henry as an almost flawless hero. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
21.
Chimes at Midnight (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The career of Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff as roistering companion to young Prince Hal, circa 1400-1413. (119 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ 6/10
Funny, touching, and tedious in turn. Not the success it might have been, although Welles is the perfect Falstaff. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
22.
Julius Caesar (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony. (120 mins.)
“ 7/10
If not an inspired version, this is well worth your time, made with intelligent good taste. James Mason as Brutus knocked my socks off. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
23.
Performance (1992 TV Series)
Episode: King Lear (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him...
“ 8/10
Beautiful spare design, with Ian Holm an energetic and eccentric king. The blocking has an eerie and effective ritualistic feel. Marred by a grating score. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
24.
King Lear (1983 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An aging King invites disaster when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters and rejects his one loving, but honest one. (158 mins.)
Director: Michael Elliott
“ 8/10
Cool mini-Stonehenge set, splendid cast with lotsa extras, lotsa mud, lotsa horses and animal skins. Olivier's Lear is a sad, lost creature and inifinitely pathetic. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
25.
Ran (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him. (162 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
“ 8/10
A stylized orgy of blood and greed and foolishness. Exotically beautiful use of the King Lear material. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
26.
Love's Labour's Lost (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
An update of the classic Shakespeare story, director Kenneth Branagh shot this movie like a classic 30s musical. The film tells the story of four best friends who swear off love. (93 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
“ 3/10
I don't much care for the play. I hated this film. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
27.
A Performance of Macbeth (1979 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Macbeth is a daring member of the Scottish military who receives a revelation from three menacing sorceresses... (145 mins.)
Director: Philip Casson
“ 10/10
Minimalist production in a "black box theater", with all the focus on stunning performances. Exceptional. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
28.
Macbeth (2001 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A television adaptation of the classical Shakespeare play. (132 mins.)
Director: Gregory Doran
“ 9/10
Strong postmodern production by the Royal Shakespeare Company, starring Antony Sher and Harriet Walter as the wicked duo. The performances are fascinating, the direction subtle (the cinematography is a little too busy). There are a few too many soliloquies performed as voice-overs--but the one of Lady Macbeth in the bathtub worked brilliantly. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
29.
Macbeth (1983 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Macbeth and his wife murder Duncan in order to gain his crown, but the bloodbath doesn't stop there... (148 mins.)
Director: Jack Gold
“ 7/10
Stage-bound although effective, in period dress, with excellent interpretations by Nicol Williamson and Jane Lapotaire. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
30.
Macbeth (1998 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
English thespian Sean Pertwee plays the painfully ambitious royal who schemes to murder so he can ascend...
“ 6/10
I was all psyched up to despise this: modern-dress in a sere, post-apocalyptic setting performed by people whom one does not usually connect with the Bard. I was wrong. The actors are merely competent, but the production conjures good atmosphere, moves fast, and is surprisingly enjoyable. I especially loved the bag lady witches. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
31.
Macbeth (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches. (140 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
“ 6/10
Fun to watch, but I found it emotionally shallow. If you insist on a Macbeth in period dress and assertive camera-work, though, this one will serve nicely. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
32.
Macbeth (1954 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself. (103 mins.)
Director: George Schaefer
“ 6/10
Stodgy. Maurice Evans is uninspired here; Judith Anderson is much more impressive. A young Jeremy Brett plays Malcolm. They gave this a vaguely medieval setting; some imaginative directorial touches keep it watchable. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
33.
Macbeth (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In fog-dripping, barren and sometimes macabre settings, 11th-century Scottish nobleman Macbeth is led... (92 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ 4/10
So static that it might as well have been produced for radio. Gorgeous voice notwithstanding, Welles is a heavy unconvincing warrior; Nolan is downright awful. Bring a flashlight so you can find the actors amidst all the atmospheric gloom. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
34.
Macbeth (1981 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself. (132 mins.)
“ 3/10
Whose idea was it to stage this play with silent movie-style acting, complete with slapstick? I am embarrassed for Brett, for Laurie, and for anyone else even peripherally involved with this production. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
35.
Macbeth (2002 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself. (140 mins.)
Director: Thomas Grimm
“ 7/10
Thomas Hampson and Paoletta Marrocu sing Verdi (not one of his greatest scores) at the Zurich Opernhaus. It's exceedingly well-sung and acted, but emotionally distant--possibly this was merely my problem with the postmodern staging. If you are one of those sadly deprived people who don't already love opera, this is probably not the right introduction to it--Zeffirelli's Otello is far more accessible. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
36.
Throne of Blood (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle. (110 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
“ 9/10
Colourful, atmospheric, and very very violent. The witch scenes in a spooky Japanese forest are unforgettable. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
37.
The Merchant of Venice (1973 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Antonio's friend Bassanio is in love and needs money to go courting. Using Antonio as his collateral... (131 mins.)
Director: John Sichel
“ 8/10
Rocket-like pacing, excellent Victorian costumes and sets. Olivier is fascinating in this role. Plowright gives a marvelous performance despite her all-too-obvious middle-age. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
38.
Masterpiece Classic (1971 TV Series)
Episode: The Merchant of Venice (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An anthology drama series featuring primarily British productions.
“ 8/10
The Bard seen through a lens borrowed from Cabaret. Very effective, if a bit too obvious at times. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
39.
The Merchant of Venice (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead. (131 mins.)
Director: Michael Radford
“ 7/10
Everyone looks in need of a good hot shower, and the lines are delivered with a dark intensity that expresses discontent with the play as well as the characters' own situations. Well-realized period settings and costumes help. What makes this worthwhile is watching Pacino's Shylock burn out emotionally before our eyes. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
40.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A boy dreams the play. Authority in Athens is shaky: Hermia rejects her father's choice, the Duke backs her father... (105 mins.)
Director: Adrian Noble
“ 9/10
Distinctly surreal in look (doors in the middle of nowhere, trapezes), but infinitely warm at heart, effectively staged and performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. A lovely production of my favourite Shakespearean comedy. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
41.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Lovers' lives are complicated by city law, feuding faerie royalty, and... love. (116 mins.)
Director: Michael Hoffman
“ 7/10
Worth seeing if only for Tucci & Everett as Puck and Oberon. The setting makes no sense at all, and some of the actors are utterly flummoxed by the verse. (Flockhart is especially embarrassing.) Kline is over-the-top tedious as Bottom (which is especially disappointing given his excellent Hamlet in 1990)--it's ridiculous to cut the text of the play in order to invent cheesy pantomime scenes. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
42.
ITV Play of the Week (1955 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Theseus, Duke of Athens, is going to marry Hyppolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Demetrius is engaged with Hermia... (90 mins.)
“ 6/10
The verse is rushed, but I certainly enjoyed Benny Hill as Bottom leading the fumbling mechanicals. Anna Massey is an appealing Titania. Weak production values and inadequate rehearsal time mean this will never be a first-choice "Dream'--but it's not bad at all. Set in ancient Athens. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
43.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A film adaptation of William Shakespeare's famous play in which four lovers sort out their problems with the help of fairies at midnight in the forest of Athens. (124 mins.)
Director: Peter Hall
“ 6/10
The "Dream" on the cheap, performed with lots of green body paint and mud. Dench beautifully embodies Titania; Holm is seriously miscast as Puck. This should have been a lot more amusing than it is. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
44.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Theseus, Duke of Athens, is going to marry Hyppolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Demetrius is engaged with Hermia... (133 mins.)
“ 5/10
The staging is lush and often delightful; Hal Mohr won a well-deserved Academy Award for his cinematography; and I enjoyed Cagney's performance as Bottom the Weaver. As for the other actors--well, this is no way to treat a comedy classic. I wanted to strangle Rooney. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
45.
“ 2/10
The ultimate in stunt casting: every role is filled by a conspicuously untalented child actor. This was actually painful to sit through. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
46.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
A fairy queen falls for a craftsman cursed with donkey's ears.
Director: Timothy Hines
“ 1/10
They were kidding, right? I had no idea there were so many tone-deaf actors in the universe. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
47.
The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo (1964 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Animated series featuring Jim Backus's Mr. Magoo character in half-hour adaptations of classic stories for children... (30 mins.)
“ 6/10
Really very cute. The animators get extra points for properly setting it in ancient Athens. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
48.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Mistaken identity, unrequited love, and the supernatural are combined in Shakespeare's classic set in the woods of Greece on a moonlit night. (94 mins.)
Director: Ross MacGibbon
“ 9/10
An enchanting full-length ballet version by the Pacific Northwest Ballet, with impressive dancing, luxurious costumes and sets, and all that wonderful music by Mendelssohn. Choreography by Balanchine.

If you enjoy this one, also look for American Ballet Theater's The Dream from 2003 (released on DVD in 2004; not listed on IMDb). It's a one-hour version of the story, choreographed by Frederick Ashton to Mendelssohn's score. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
49.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1981 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Mistaken identity, unrequited love, and the supernatural are combined in Shakespeare's classic set in the woods of Greece on a moonlit night. (156 mins.)
Director: Dave Heather
“ 7/10
A Glyndebourne Festival production of Britten's opera, with a fine cast plus pretty sets and costumes. I confess that--given an Oberon written for contra-tenor, plus a few sopranos and a whole chorus of pre-pubescent boys singing the fairies--the score is a bit too squeaky for me (opera-love though I am). ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
50.
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Young lovers Hero and Claudio, soon to wed, conspire to get verbal sparring partners and confirmed singles Benedick and Beatrice to wed as well. (111 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
“ 8/10
The word "exuberant" was coined for this production. Immensely enjoyable and highly recommended. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
51.
Much Ado About Nothing (1984 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Benedick and Beatrice fight their merry war of words. But when Beatrice's friend, Hero, is humiliatingly jilted by Benedick's best friend... (148 mins.)
Director: Stuart Burge
“ 7/10
Attractive 16th century costuming and sets, with a talented cast and director. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
52.
Much Ado About Nothing (1973 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Videotape of the Joseph Papp production. Don Pedro and his men (Teddy Roosevelt Roughriders) have returned from the wars...
Director: Nick Havinga
“ 7/10
I have a special fondness for this, flaws and all. Set in the USA circa 1900, it's a Shakespeare Meets the Rough Riders Meets the Keystone Cops Meets The Music Man. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
53.
Theatre Night (1985 TV Series)
Episode: Othello (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A slightly updated version of Othello set in the 19th century Cyprus, where all characters wear uniforms and dresses from the American Civil War era...
“ 9/10
Beautifully, simply, claustrophobically staged and shot (with a U.S. Civil War setting), intensely physical. Willard White speaks the verse as if it were music; Ian McKellen too gives a triumphant performance, while Stubbs is a complex and poignant Desdemona. Not to be missed. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
54.
Othello (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago. (123 mins.)
Director: Oliver Parker
“ 7/10
Fishburne and Branagh are the key reasons to see this; they are often mesmerizing. The period sets and costumes are lovely, the visual clues rather too obvious. Jacob's unconvincing Desdemona drags the production downwards. Overall, i prefer my Shakespeare done with more subtlety. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
55.
Othello (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago. (90 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ 7/10
Almost over-the-top artsiness threatens to overwhelm the text, but the performances are generally good and the effect convincing. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
56.
Othello (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A general's marriage is destroyed when a vengeful lieutenant convinces him that his new wife has been unfaithful. (165 mins.)
Director: Stuart Burge
“ 6/10
A heavily mannered production with unconvincing body make-up obscuring Olivier; Finlay doesn't come off as sufficiently evil. Smith, however, is one of the most effective Desdemonas ever. Everyone speaks beautifully, of course. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
57.
Otello (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Based on Shakesphere's play, Verdi's opera depicts the devastating effects of jealousy, "...the green-eyed... (118 mins.)
“ 8/10
Shakespeare goes to the opera, with excellent results. Ably sung and acted; Domingo is in fine voice here. A first-class production of Verdi's work, despite extensive small trims to the score. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
58.
Great Performances: Dance in America (1976 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
San Francisco Ballet production of "Othello" filmed at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House on March 2 and 3, 2002.
“ 8/10
This production by the San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theater is danced brilliantly by Desmond Richardson, Parrish Maynard, Yuan Yuan Tan, and Katita Waldo. The score (by Eliot Goldenthal) is modern and tuneless, the choreography (by Lar Lubovitch) is angular, choppy, intense. A striking production that I enjoyed immensely. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
59.
Othello (2001 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Shakespeare's Othello retold in modern London; racial tension in the police force collides with jealousy and revenge. An officer suspects his new bride of infidelity. (100 mins.)
Director: Geoffrey Sax
“ 7/10
Shakespeare's plot (at least some of it), but not Shakespeare's words. (If you need to see the play for school, don't pick this one.) There's far more sociology and far less domestic drama than we get with the Bard. An interesting production, with good performances. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
60.
Richard II (1978 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The incompetent Richard II is deposed by Henry Bolingbroke and undergoes a crisis of identity once he is no longer king. (158 mins.)
Director: David Giles
“ 7/10
An all-star cast--many of whom I admired in the Henry IV plays mentioned above--fails to rivet my attention here. It's good, just not as wonderful as I had hoped for. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
61.
Richard III (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The classic Shakespearean play about a murderously scheming king staged in an alternative fascist England setting. (104 mins.)
“ 8/10
Set in the 1930s, with tanks, trains, radios, morgues, cameras, hypodermics, and explosions. And it works! Bonus: Stacey Kent sings a swing adaptation of Kit Marlowe's "Come Live With Me & Be My Love" (with additional lyrics by Sir Walter Raleigh). ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
62.
Richard III (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Shakespeare's powerful tale of the wicked deformed king and his conquests, both on the battlefield and in the boudoir. (161 mins.)
“ 8/10
A wicked fairy tale told in primary colours. There is a not-inappropriate feel of Walt Disney about this one. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
63.
Looking for Richard (1996 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Al Pacino's deeply-felt rumination on Shakespeare's significance and relevance to the modern world through interviews and an in-depth analysis of "Richard III." (112 mins.)
Director: Al Pacino
“ 7/10
Chaotic and funny documentary about assembling a production of Richard III. You'll enjoy exploring the character with Al Pacino as your (sometimes bemused) guide. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
64.
Romeo and Juliet (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Young love is poisoned by a generations long feud between two noble families. (125 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
“ 7/10
Slow-moving, but the performances are unexpectedly good, and the production is lavish. Swell cinematography from William Daniels, plus John Barrymore as Mercutio are definite pluses here. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
65.
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When two young members of feuding families meet, forbidden love ensues. (138 mins.)
“ 7/10
The leads look right, although they have a bit of a struggle with their lines, and the production is sumptuous. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
66.
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Shakespeare's famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue. (120 mins.)
Director: Baz Luhrmann
“ 4/10
More of a stunt than an interpretation, made by people who believe you are so half-witted that they must hit you over the head with every symbol and line of verse. Much of the dialogue is unintelligible. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
67.
Romeo and Juliet (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Two teenagers fall in love, but their feuding families and fate itself cause the relationship to end in tragedy. (124 mins.)
Director: Paul Czinner
“ 8/10
Choreography by Kenneth MacMillan to Sergei Prokofiev's famous score. Nureyev is in his prime here; an aging Fonteyn still dances superbly--and her acting is perfection. The camerawork isn't the greatest, but balletomanes shouldn't miss this. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
68.
The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Brutish, fortune-hunting scoundrel Petruchio tames his wealthy, shrewish wife, Katharina. (122 mins.)
“ 7/10
Disliked by purists for its frenetic energy and broad characterizations. Over-the-top characterizations, over-the-top sets, over-the-top period costumes--ignore the critics! I enjoy it very much. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
69.
The Taming of the Shrew (1980 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The swaggering Petruchio agrees to marry the spitting hellcat, Katherine. (127 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Miller
“ 6/10
Costumes and lighting have a sort of Vermeer feeling; the staging is otherwise rather flat. Cleese is inspired casting--but the production as a whole doesn't quite come together. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
70.
The Taming of the Shrew (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In sixteenth century Padua, Hortensio loves Bianca, the youngest daughter of Baptista. But Baptista... (63 mins.)
Director: Sam Taylor
“ 4/10
Contrary to legend, it's probable this was always intended to be a Vitaphone talkie (shot silently, with dialogue and music recorded later). It might have succeeded had it been released as a silent--the cinematography by Karl Struss (who later shot the wonderfully sinuous 1931 Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde) is fluid, the leads are gorgeous, and the sets spacious and attractive, while the action is nothing if not energetic. Unfortunately we have to listen to the inadequate voices of both Pickford and Fairbanks; it doesn’t help that they were particularly bad at the new art of looping. Perhaps we should be grateful that well over half of the Bard’s text was cut. The flick is of interest now only because it was the first full-length sound adaptation of one of Shakespeare's plays. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
71.
Kiss Me Kate (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Fred and Lilly are a divorced pair of actors who are brought together by Cole Porter who has written a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew... (109 mins.)
Director: George Sidney
“ 7/10
"Brush up your Shakespeare!" Great Cole Porter tunes, fun performances. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
72.
The Tempest (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
(131 mins.)
Director: Des McAnuff
“ 8/10
Very enjoyable performance starring Christopher Plummer from the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival. This one's played in the round with minimal sets, simple props, and sophisticated lighting effects to create its magic. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
73.
The Tempest (1980 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Exiled Prospero lives on a desolate island with his daughter, Miranda. When Prospero's usurping brother sails by the island, Prospero conjures a storm that wrecks the ship and changes all of their lives. (125 mins.)
Director: John Gorrie
“ 7/10
Conventional and competent. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
74.
The Tempest (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Shakespeare's epic play is translated from page to screen, with the gender of the main character, Prospero, changed from male to female. (110 mins.)
Director: Julie Taymor
“ 4/10
The good news: Mirren (an experienced Shakespearean actress) knows how to deliver the lines so that they are full of meaning. The bad news: almost everything else. Some of the actors flounder; the costumes are ugly; the direction too hyper. And it is so focused on theories about the play, it seems to have forgotten the play itself. It left me unmoved. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
75.
The Tempest (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Banished to a forsaken island, the Right Duke of Milan and sorcerer Prospero, gets the chance to vindicate the King of Naples, with the assistance of his airy spirit-servant, Ariel. (95 mins.)
Director: Derek Jarman
“ 4/10
Excessively campy and hyperkinetic. And noisy. Jarman is far more interested in his own imagination that he is in Shakespeare's. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
76.
Prospero's Books (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
An exiled magician finds an opportunity for revenge against his enemies muted when his daughter and... (124 mins.)
Director: Peter Greenaway
“ 3/10
A kind of visual psychoanalytic rummage sale. It's repetitive and surprisingly predictable. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
77.
Forbidden Planet (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet's colony only to find two survivors and a deadly secret that one of them has. (98 mins.)
“ 7/10
Despite what you may have heard, it's really not very much like The Tempest. But if Shakespeare had known about robots and ray guns and brain-enhancing machines, he would surely have included them in his play. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
78.
Twelfth Night (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Shakespeare's comedy about twins, Viola and Sebastian, shipwrecked on the island of Illyria. (117 mins.)
Director: Neil Armfield
“ 8/10
Beautiful and haunting in a mid-winter Victorian staging. A lovely production in every way. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
79.
Twelfth Night (1980 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Viola and Sebastian are lookalike twins, separated by a shipwreck. Viola lands in Illyria, where she... (128 mins.)
Director: John Gorrie
“ 8/10
A solid production, this one set in the mid-17th century. Hardy and Crosbie are the stand-outs in an excellent cast. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
80.
Twelfth Night or What You Will (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Shakespeare's comedy of gender confusion, in which a girl disguises herself as a man to be near the count she adores, only to be pursued by the woman he loves. (134 mins.)
Director: Trevor Nunn
“ 6/10
A gloomy "comedy" indeed. This one is so over-laden with portentous symbolism and attitude, it never takes off in what should be a magical flight. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
81.
Twelfth Night, or What You Will (2003 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Multicultural version of the Shakespearean tale Twelth Night, Made in modern day society featuring Anglo-Indian cast. (125 mins.)
Director: Tim Supple
“ 3/10
Postmodern in a creepy and unpleasant way. I'm still not sure why everyone is a gangsta in this against-the-text production. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
82.
Shakespeare: The Animated Tales (1992 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Condensed animated adaptations of plays by William Shakespeare. (26 mins.)
“ 7/10
Twelve 26-minute plays, created in a variety of animation styles. An enjoyable introduction to the Bard's work. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
83.
In Search of Shakespeare (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Michael Wood tours the English locations important to William Shakespeare as he explores the playwright and poet's life and work. (240 mins.)
“ 8/10
Michael Wood takes us on a journey through Shakespeare's life and times. It overemphasizes the Bard's religious issues, but you won't want to miss the scenes, artifacts and insights. As a bonus, we get to view several clips from the Royal Shakespeare Company's versions of the plays. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
84.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (2000 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Three guys, one dead playwright, and 37 plays, all in under two hours. In this universally acclaimed theater experience... (88 mins.)
Director: Paul Kafno
“ 9/10
The RSC's motto: "More is more." A joyous romp--not to be missed by anyone who loves the Bard (and hates stuffed shirts). Highlights: Hamlet performed backwards, the rap version of Othello. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
85.
Theatre of Blood (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A Shakespearean actor takes poetic revenge on the critics who denied him recognition. (104 mins.)
Director: Douglas Hickox
“ 7/10
A gruesome delight for those of us who are fans of both the Bard and horror. Price eliminates his enemies while declaiming Shakespeare's lines from a variety of plays in a worthy manner. Groovy clothes (and a good performance from Diana Rigg) add to the festivities. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
86.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays. (123 mins.)
Director: John Madden
“ 8/10
Yes, it's a wee bit precious--but it's also a ravishing romp through grubby, glorious Elizabethan England viewed through a distinctly 20th century microscope. Sit back and enjoy. ” - blue_sock_monkey