Macbeth (1971)
"The Tragedy of Macbeth" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  13 October 1971 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 8,912 users  
Reviews: 131 user | 55 critic

A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.


0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Macbeth (1948)
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    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 by an evil prophecy and his ruthless yet desirable wife to the treasonous act that ... See full summary »

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanette Nolan, Dan O'Herlihy
Cul-De-Sac (1966)
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A wounded criminal and his dying partner take refuge at a beachfront castle. The owners of the castle, a meek Englishman and his willful French wife, are initially the unwilling hosts to ... See full summary »

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac, Lionel Stander
Tess (1979)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A strong-willed young peasant girl becomes the affection of two men.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth, Leigh Lawson
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A noted professor and his dim-witted apprentice fall prey to their inquiring vampires, while on the trail of the ominous damsel in distress.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Jack MacGowran, Roman Polanski, Alfie Bass
Repulsion (1965)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Left alone when her sister goes on vacation, a young beauty finds herself besieged on all sides by the demons of her past.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser
The Tenant (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A bureaucrat rents a Paris apartment where he finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A political activist is convinced that her guest is a man who once tortured her for the government.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Stuart Wilson
What? (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young American woman (Sydne Rome) traveling through Italy finds herself in a strange Mediterranean villa where nothing seems right. Her visit becomes an absurd, decadent, oversexed ... See full summary »

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Sydne Rome, Hugh Griffith
Oliver Twist (2005)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An adaptation of the classic Dickens tale, where an orphan meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Barney Clark, Ben Kingsley, Jeremy Swift
Macbeth I (2006)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

A contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" set in the ganglands of Melbourne.

Director: Geoffrey Wright
Stars: Chloe Armstrong, Kate Bell, Miranda Nation
Macbeth (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.

Director: Jeremy Freeston
Stars: Jason Connery, Helen Baxendale, Graham McTavish


Cast overview, first billed only:
John Stride ...
Nicholas Selby ...
Paul Shelley ...
Maisie MacFarquhar ...
Elsie Taylor ...
Noelle Rimmington ...
Noel Davis ...
Sydney Bromley ...
Richard Pearson ...
Patricia Mason ...


Roman Polanski's version of Shakespeare's tragedy about a Scottish lord who murders the king and ascends the throne. His wife then begins hallucinating as a result of her guilt complex and the dead king's son conspires to attack Macbeth and expose him for the murderer he is. Written by Jason Ihle <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

13 October 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Macbeth  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Roman Polanski wanted to include a violent bear-baiting sequence but it posed all kinds of problems. The first bear they tried to use was too timid and kept running away from the dogs, while the second was uncontrollably vicious and pawed a crew member. He eventually opted for an intrepid stuntman in a bear suit, but understandably the man would only agree to a single dog being set loose on him, fearing his armored padding wouldn't be up to the job. Polanski secretly instructed the handlers to loose three dogs, sending the stuntman cowering in fear, screaming at the director to call them off. See more »


When Macbeth dines after Banquo's death, time freezes for 5-10 seconds as Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost sitting at the table. This is achieved by the other actors freezing in place until Macbeth drops his chalice. During the time freeze, a man sitting at the table and facing the camera blinks his eyes. See more »


Three Witches: Fair is foul and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air.
See more »


Version of Macbeth (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Medieval accuracy, good Shakespeare
31 December 2004 | by (Longmeadow, MA) – See all my reviews

A few years after this was released in the USA, I convinced my high school English teacher to take our class to see it. (In the days before videos & vcr's, this involved renting a theater and print.) I was glad I did. It is certainly the most real and immediate filmed version of the play. The sets, costumes (or lack thereof), and casting all work to create an accurate depiction of "nasty, brutal, and short" 11th century life. And of course, there is the wonderful insight of Shakespeare's language to engage our modern sensibilities.

One can only thank Polanski for casting such relatively young actors as his leads. Kings lived and died young then, and had to be both excellent generals as well as administrators to succeed. Jon Finch is both athletic and impassioned enough to carry off the soldiering, and young and introspective enough to be moved by his wife both as a woman and co-conspirator. Of course Francesca Annis made a splash by doing the mad scene in the nude--but in medieval times, everyone slept in the nude, so it was certainly accurate to the times.

And as has been noted before, at least the castle keeps are cold, dark, and dirty. The communal sleeping arrangements, straw bedding, flaring smoky torches, seeping walls, and muddy yards all contribute to the historical accuracy of this production. The exterior of Bamburgh also works. And keeping with Shakespeare's light vs. dark metaphors, the mist, rain, and lowering skies combine to enhance the mood.

What happens in this "Macbeth" is as realistic as possible. So what happens offstage in the play, happens onstage in the film: the murders of Duncan, Banquo, Macduff's family. Murder is nasty and bloody and Polanski (having much experience of its results) makes sure we know it. Medieval Scotland was nasty and bloody as well, and if the film is accurate in depicting its setting, why not the action? And only Polanski has an ending that hints that violence and ambition didn't die with Macbeth's overthrow. All said, Polanski's film still has the most accurate medieval setting, engaging performance(s), and thrilling battles.

PS. For those interested in the real historical Macbeth, read Dorothy Dunnett's excellent biographical novel "King Hereafter". Dunnett is world renowned for her historical accuracy, and did much research to create not only a very plausible rendition, but a thoroughly interesting and entertaining story as well.

55 of 57 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Nude Scene jamesjohn81
Incredibly hard to watch? mashimaro_100-1
Nudity DSNForever
who likes this film? teejay6682
Why is this rated R? Crewsally
Who is the person at the end? elsanchotres
Discuss Macbeth (1971) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page