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

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  13 October 1971 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 8,559 users  
Reviews: 131 user | 54 critic

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

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Title: Macbeth (1971)

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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 | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

13 October 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Macbeth  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Roman Polanski's wife, actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by members of Charles Manson's "family" three years before the making of the film. It is believed that due to this traumatic event, Polanski developed the story to be a more violent representation of Shakespeare's play. For instance, the scene in which Macbeth murders King Duncan was not in the original play and was instead implied. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Macbeth: If thou couldst, doctor, cast the water of my land, find her disease and purge it to a sound and pristine health, I would applaud thee to the very echo that should applaud again.
See more »

Connections

Version of Macbeth (1909) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fascinating Adaptation
3 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When the text is cut, folks like me hope to hear the rhythm preserved. Polanski and Tynan opted not to try to cut this way. However, what is remarkable about Polanski's film is that the images cut from the language are instead presented visually. Read the play just before watching the film, and you'll see what I mean. A great film for students who are studying, and reading, the play.

This is also one of the great efforts by RSC master fight choreographer William Hobbs, who followed this film with the comic fights of Richard Lester's "Three Musketeers" films. On the stage, Macbeth's next-to-last fight with Young Seyward is often a "warmup" for the big finale with Macduff. Here, it brings the audience back to what characters had to say about "the noble Macbeth" at the play's beginning, before his descent. Hobbs plays Young Seyward, and is established early on, training men to fight. Their astonishing confrontation leaves you wishing Macbeth didn't have to perish.

As another reviewer noted, the DVD and VHS box art is a testament to Columbia Home Video's botched handling: they put Banquo on the cover by accident. The shot is from Macbeth's vision of Banquo and his sons, actor Martin Shaw wears a crown...you can see how easily the mistake could be made, especially if the person designing the art hasn't bothered to watch the film. But never fear, the geniuses at Columbia made it up to Jon Finch. There's a terrific photo of him as Macbeth in the final fight with Macduff. You'll find it on the back of Columbia's edition of Nicol Williamson's "Hamlet." When you're in marketing, I guess all Shakespearean actors look alike...


25 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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