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Hamlet (1948)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 10,099 users  
Reviews: 68 user | 44 critic

Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former king.

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Title: Hamlet (1948)

Hamlet (1948) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Niall MacGinnis ...
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Tony Tarver ...
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Russell Thorndike ...
Basil Sydney ...
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Hamlet - Prince of Denmark / Voice of Ghost
Norman Wooland ...
Felix Aylmer ...
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Storyline

William Shakespeare's tale of tragedy of murder and revenge in the royal halls of medieval Denmark. Claudius, brother to the King, conniving with the Queen, poisons the monarch and seizes the throne, taking the widowed Gertrude for his bride. Hamlet, son of the murdered King, mournful of his father's death and mother's hasty marriage, is confronted by the ghost of the late King who reveals the manner of his murder. Seeking revenge, Hamlet recreates the monstrous deed in a play with the help of some traveling actors to torment the conscience of the evil Claudius. In a visit with his mother, Hamlet expresses his anger and disappointment concerning her swiftly untimed marriage. Thinking a concealed spy in his mother's chamber to be the lurking Claudius, he mistakenly kills the meddling counselor, Polonius, father of Ophelia and Laertes. Claudius, on the pretext that Hamlet will be endangered by his subjects for the murder of Polonius, sends the prince to England. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | revenge | prince | death | denmark | See All (80) »

Taglines:

The motion picture of all time...for all time! (Print ad for re-release 1954)

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

12 August 1948 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Amlet  »

Box Office

Budget:

£500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With this film, Laurence Olivier became the first person ever to direct themselves to a best actor or actress Oscar. Roberto Benigni in Life Is Beautiful (1997) is the only other actor to achieve this feat. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: So oft it chances in particular men / That through some vicious mole of nature in them, / By the o'ergrowth of some complexion / Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason, / Or by some habit grown too much; that these men - / Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect, / Their virtues else - be they as pure as grace, / Shall in the general censure take corruption / From that particular fault... This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Biography: The History of Hamlet (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Dust Up on Your Shakespeare.
1 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The titled melancholy Danish prince (Oscar-winner Laurence Olivier) seeks to avenge those involved with his father's death. It seems that Olivier's father (voiced by John Gielgud) still roams the Earth as a spirit that walks around aimlessly, unable to find Heaven or Hell (Purgatory for the most part). Gielgud makes it clear that his brother (Basil Sydney) was the culprit in his death and Olivier becomes enraged. The fact that Sydney has become king by marrying the titled character's mother (Eileen Herlie) just makes the tension build. Herlie and Olivier's relationship pushes the envelope hard on a typical mother-son bond (there are incestuous tones abound here). Oscar-nominee Jean Simmons appears to be Olivier's one true love, but after a terrible tragedy she falls down a path of mental anguish. It appears that the only logical conclusion for Shakespeare's famed character is to have that famous sword fight dual with Simmons' brother (Terence Morgan). Of course you know that not everything is the way it seems, right? "Hamlet" was a surprising success in 1948. Produced in Britain (and strictly a British project for all intensive purposes), the film became a runaway hit with most all audiences and critics (becoming the year's Best Picture Oscar winner). Shakespeare's plays have never really warranted excellence on the silver screen, but this adaptation (also by Olivier) is about as close as we have seen thus far. The movie runs nearly three hours and I was about to fall asleep after the first 60 minutes (the film is almost dragging to a crawl by that point), but after the set-up the movie soars very high. Lots of data that is somewhat confusing hogs up a little too much time when the pacing could have been much crisper. Olivier's spin on the timeless classic is truly uncanny nonetheless. His direction (he was Oscar-nominated in the category) and vision are something to behold. The production values are strong and I ended up enjoying the movie for what it is and what it ultimately wanted to be. Olivier became the first of only two people presently to direct himself to an Oscar victory (Roberto Benigni duplicated the feat with 1998's "Life Is Beautiful"). 4.5 out of 5 stars.


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