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

 -  Drama | History | War  -  13 October 1971 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 7,842 users  
Reviews: 130 user | 52 critic

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

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Title: Macbeth (1971)

Macbeth (1971) on IMDb 7.5/10

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

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Cast

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

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 <jrihl@conncoll.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

warrior | king | throne | tragedy | murder | See All (120) »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

13 October 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Macbeth  »

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

The lyrics to the song that Fleance sings at Macbeth's banquet for Duncan at Inverness are taken from the poem "Merciles Beautè" by Geoffrey Chaucer. In the context of the film this extraneously inserted song is itself an anachronism, as Chaucer lived in the fourteenth century and Shakespeare's "Macbeth" historically takes place in the eleventh century. See more »

Quotes

Macbeth: So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
See more »

Connections

Version of Macbeth (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Very surprising, and competently made film
5 September 2003 | by (Ottawa, Ontario) – See all my reviews

I remember watching this film in my Grade 11 English class when we were studying William Shakespeare's "Macbeth". Reading the story a couple of times, I rather enjoyed the classic tale to a degree. Whether or not it would convincingly translate to film, I, along with my class, was about to find out...with Roman Polanski's 1971 film adaptation, also produced by - HUGH HEFNER?!? As strangely amusing as the "Playboy" credit seemed in the opening credits, we were prepared for a very interesting take on the famous, violent play.

Shakespearean tragedies/comedies being translated to film are nothing new, of course. There have been some clear hits and misses over the decades - but fortunately, "Macbeth" does not fall into that latter "miss" category, for it is a tremendously underrated, very surprising, and overall competently made film. Roman Polanski is an excellent director here, and the acting, music, and effects (some of which - particularly the "dagger/murder" sequence - perversely amused my fellow classmates, who are obviously jaded by today's overblown, unsubtle, effects-laden "dramas") worked well for me. As well, the graphic violent and sexual nature of the film (which was also sometimes entertaining to the class, sadly) shocked me quite a bit. Of course, for a film made in 1971, Polanski's "Macbeth" isn't exactly "tame", if you will. Apparently it was rated X at the time, when the notorious film rating existed. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but it clearly wouldn't be surprising if it were, especially considering how intense this film can get - both physically and psychologically. It works extremely well as an old-fashioned action-packed thriller, and even to someone who knew the story fairly well, it was an exciting little soap opera to behold. The class really enjoyed it as well, I'm glad to say; even for all its "old" qualities (i.e. the twangy psychadelic-sounding music that plays upon the closing credits) it still achieved a certain charm that was impossible to deny.

One of the most impressive and enjoyable Shakespearean films I have ever seen, "Macbeth" deserves much more acclaim than scorn - for it is well-made, and enormously faithful to its original source, capturing all the details of ol' Scotland and its inhabitants with great care. It's a wonderful treat. Highly recommended.


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