Macbeth and his wife murder Duncan in order to gain his crown, but the bloodbath doesn't stop there, and things supernatural combine to bring the Macbeths down.




Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

A Performance of Macbeth (TV Movie 1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Macbeth is a daring member of the Scottish military who receives a revelation from three menacing sorceresses that he will someday become the King of Scotland. This information gives him a ... See full summary »

Director: Philip Casson
Stars: Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, John Bown
Othello (TV Movie 1981)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A general becomes convinced that his wife is having an affair, even though there is no evidence.

Director: Jonathan Miller
Stars: Anthony Pedley, Bob Hoskins, Geoffrey Chater
Julius Caesar (TV Movie 1979)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The assassination of the would be ruler of Rome at the hands of Brutus and company has tragic consequences for Brutus and the republic.

Director: Herbert Wise
Stars: Richard Pasco, Charles Gray, Keith Michell
Macbeth (1971)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, Martin Shaw
Macbeth (TV Movie 1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

English thespian Sean Pertwee plays the painfully ambitious royal who schemes to murder so he can ascend to the throne in this superior version of William Shakespeare's literary classic. ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Bogdanov
Stars: Sean Pertwee, Greta Scacchi, Lorren Bent
King Lear (TV Movie 1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Miller
Stars: John Shrapnel, Norman Rodway, Michael Kitchen
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (TV Movie 1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

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.

Director: Rodney Bennett
Stars: Derek Jacobi, Claire Bloom, Patrick Stewart
Macbeth I (2006)
Crime | Drama | Fantasy
    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
Richard III (TV Movie 1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Richard of Gloucester uses murder and manipulation to claim England's throne.

Director: Jane Howell
Stars: Peter Benson, Antony Brown, David Burke
Measure for Measure (TV Movie 1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When the Duke of Vienna takes a mysterious leave of absence and leaves the strict Angelo in charge, things couldn't be worse for Claudio, who is sentenced to death for premarital sex. His ... See full summary »

Director: Desmond Davis
Stars: Kenneth Colley, Kate Nelligan, Tim Pigott-Smith
Macbeth (1948)
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 11th century Scotland, nobleman Macbeth and his wife plot to murder the king and usurp the throne in order to fulfill an evil prophecy made by three witches.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanette Nolan, Dan O'Herlihy
Antony & Cleopatra (TV Movie 1981)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Octavius Caesar (later renamed Augustus Caesar, adoptive son of the murdered Julius Caesar), Mark Antony, and Lepidus form the triumvirate, the three rulers of the Roman Empire. Antony, ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Miller
Stars: John Paul, Jonathan Adams, Jane Lapotaire


Cast overview, first billed only:
Brenda Bruce ...
Eileen Way ...
Christopher Ellison ...
Gawn Grainger ...
David Lyon ...
Gordon Kane ...
Alistair Henderson ...


Macbeth and his wife murder Duncan in order to gain his crown, but the bloodbath doesn't stop there, and things supernatural combine to bring the Macbeths down. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis








Release Date:

5 November 1983 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Macbeth  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This episode was shot with a 360 degree cycloramic backcloth in the background which could be used as representative of a general environment, with much use made of open space. See more »


Lady Macduff: The poor wren, the most diminutive of birds, will *fight*, her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
See more »


Version of Was ihr wollt (1985) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Beautiful Production, but Slow and Weakly Cast
17 February 2007 | by See all my reviews

The good news is that the sets, costumes and lighting are close to the top of the BBC Shakespeare series. Simple, powerful and expressive. The witches are shown at the Callanish Standing Stones in the Western Isles, and the castle is distinctly Highlands. Wonderfully evocative.

The bad news is, everything else.

Macbeth has the shortest text of Shakespeare's tragedies. But not here. This is endless. Much of the line reading is slow and straight into the camera, presumably on the assumption that American schoolchildren need underlining. No thanks. In this series, only the "Pericles, Prince of Tyre" is delivered more slowly. And that one's unbearable.

Theatrical tragedy is defined as a man or woman with noble qualities who is brought down by an act of hubris. Nicol Williamson is unable to convey any positive qualities to the character of Macbeth even when mouthing noble sentiments, and gives us a psychotic thug who just deteriorates. Unlike Lear or Othello, he has no transfiguring flash of insight when facing death - in defiance of the text, this Macbeth appears to have learned nothing.

Williamson gave interviews at the time of his calamitous Hamlet saying he got no joy at all from performing Shakespeare. Indeed his Macbeth is glum, trapped and looking like he was being forced to take some very nasty medicine. He makes the verse sound as ugly as possible, and his rudimentary classical acting technique consists of opening his eyes very wide and counting up to 257 under his breath.

Jane Lapotaire's Lady Macbeth is a simpler matter. She oscillates between orgasm and tantrums, with occasional rest stops at wheedling. She is every bit as baroque as he. Things got so weird that by the time we got to Banquo's ghost at the banquet, I thought I was watching the Pod People - I fully expected their heads to pop off and little "Mars Attacks" heads to rise up out of their shoulders.

Ian Hogg is a sympathetic Banquo, but he's no warrior. Tony Doyle has a good, solid moment as Macduff when he gets the news of the murder of his wife and kids. But he is unable to sustain interest, and the rest of the cast is notably weak, ranging all the way down to a pitifully incompetent Donalbain. Just about any other BBC Shakespeare video has a more effective supporting cast than this.

The major value of the BBC Shakespeare series is in less familiar plays. "Much Ado About Nothing," "Cymbeline," "Twelfth Night," "Henry IV," "Troilus and Cressida," "Love's Labour's Lost," "Henry VIII," these are great, life-enhancing experiences and are worth seeking out.

It is a pity that so many people will never see these, only a middling "Julius Caesar," a weaker "Hamlet," an oddball "Lear," a clumsy "Romeo" and this outright disastrous "Macbeth."

10 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: