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Macbeth (1971)

The Tragedy of Macbeth (original title)
A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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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 ...
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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>

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Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

25 December 1971 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Macbeth  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,100,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Roman Polanski was casting the film, his co-screenwriter Kenneth Tynan suggested Nicol Williamson for the title role. Tynan was a great admirer of Williamson, but Polanski turned him down because he thought Williamson lacked sex appeal. Williamson later played Macbeth in London and on Broadway and for the B.B.C. See more »

Goofs

The poster for the film shows Martin Shaw, who plays Banquo. He is dressed as the king. Banquo never becomes king though the three witches do however state that his heirs will become kings. See more »

Quotes

Macbeth: My name's Macbeth!
Young Siward: The devil himself could not pronounce a title more hateful to mine ear.
See more »

Connections

Version of Scotland, Pa. (2001) 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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