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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1980)

TV-14 | | Drama | TV Movie 10 November 1980
Hamlet suspects his uncle has murdered his father to claim the throne of Denmark and the hand of Hamlet's mother, but the prince cannot decide whether or not he should take vengeance.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Robert Swann ...
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Geoffrey Bateman ...
Emrys James ...
Jason Kemp ...
Geoffrey Beevers ...
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Peter Richard ...
Player in the mime, Queen
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Storyline

Hamlet comes home from university to find his uncle married to his mother, and his father's ghost haunting the battlements and scaring the watch. Then his father's ghost directs him to seek revenge. Written by Kathy Li

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Drama

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Release Date:

10 November 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Derek Jacobi would later play; again with the Royal Shakespeare Company; the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac (1985), as translated by Anthony Burgess. In that translation, Cyrano's list of insults to his nose ends with "And finally, with tragic sighs and cries, the language finely wrought and deeply felt, 'Oh, that this too, too solid nose would melt,'" a parody of Hamlet's first speech, which begins with "Oh, that this too, too solid flesh would melt." See more »

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Version of Hamlet (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A very well-done Hamlet
25 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Let's face it, there is no perfect production of Hamlet, it's simply far too long and varied and cerebral to get completely perfect across the board, especially what with the challenges of Elizabethan English and Shakespeare's abstruse dialogue. In any staging of it, there are bound to be certain moments, scenes, or intonations that one disagrees with. I've seen a lot of filmed Hamlet productions: Olivier, Gibson, Branagh, Scott, and now this BBC film with Jacobi. In terms of faithful, full-length productions, this one ranks up there with the very best.

Most Hamlet productions are drastically cut, because to perform the entire play takes a stage-time of four to five hours. This production appears to be complete -- that is, ALL of the original Shakespeare dialogue is intact -- and so it's essential for scholars and Shakespeare-lovers. And though the lines seemed rushed on rare occasion (for those less completely familiar with the text), for the most part the script is well-acted, well-spoken, and well-performed. Subtitles are available and very helpful, although upon occasion they lag slightly behind.

Jacobi does a quite admirable job with theatre's longest and most impossible role. I actually cried when Hamlet dies, and I don't think I've done that before. Patrick Stewart (as Claudius) and Claire Bloom (as Gertrude) are excellent, as are Lalla Ward (Ophelia) and David Robb (Laertes), and the rest of the very on-point cast. Sets are minimal, so we can thankfully concentrate on the play without distraction or attention paid to non-essentials.

At 3 hours and 45 minutes, this full-length Hamlet is a long haul to sit through, but again, if you want the real deal, it's 100% worth it, even if one needs to take an intermission for oneself. I highly recommend this production to all Shakespeare lovers and scholars.


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