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Hamlet (1990)

PG | | Drama | 18 January 1991 (USA)
1:38 | Trailer

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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans revenge.



(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Murray ...
Richard Warwick ...


Hamlet returns to Denmark when his father, the King, dies. His mother Gertrude has already married Hamlet's uncle Claudius, the new King. They urge Hamlet to marry his beloved Ophelia. But soon the ghost of Hamlet's father appears and tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius and Gertrude. Hamlet must choose between passive acquiescence and the need for a vengeance which might lead to tragedy. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

king | denmark | ghost | prince | revenge | See All (92) »


The extraordinary adaptation of Shakespeare's classic tale of vengeance and tragedy.




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

18 January 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amlet  »

Box Office


$20,710,451 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The play uses the words "honest" and "honesty" many times, because the drama carries the themes of both honorableness and truthfulness/deceit. When Hamlet asks Ophelia if she is honest, that word, in Shakespeare's time, first meant honorable and secondly meant truthful. He was asking if she was good. When he asks her if she is fair, he doesn't ask whether she considers herself impartial and principled, but whether she considers herself beautiful. Of course, Hamlet puns all the time, so the audience should anticipate all possible meanings of his words. See more »


Polonius gets stabbed through the stomach/chest area, but when he is lying on the floor, he is bleeding from the back of the head and the wound where he is stabbed is non-existent. See more »


[first lines]
Claudius: Hamlet! Think of us as of a father. For let the world take note: you are the most immediate to our throne. And with no less nobility of love than that which dearest father bears his son do I impart toward you.
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Version of Le duel d'Hamlet (1900) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Zefferelli Had to Be Cruel to be Kind
19 June 2000 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

I have to admit I really like this film. Zefferelli is an unappreciated master: he knows how to stage a crowd (essential to his Romeo and Juliet), and move people; how to frame and light a sequence so it flows. He has a fine sense of color and its movement. Moreover, this Hamlet has the very best set, and also to my mind the best Gertrude.

What he has done is focus on the story. He's chopped and dropped and rearranged to create a story that makes sense. It moves and moves well from beginning to end. But.

But the problem is that Shakespeare's play is not at all about the story. That's just the skeleton on which some life altering metaphoric structure is built. Now all gone. You'll need Branagh for that, but his story doesn't flow effortlessly as this does.

Result: If you want Hamlet, seek him elsewhere. If you want a similar, masterful piece of filmwork, look here. The language is fittingly conversational not stentorian, so that the players can manage it. Just as well.

Ophelia is very pretty, and in her greatly reduced role does well. Her start-double take-astonishment-puzzlement after the play within the play is a moment which will last in your mind. This is an actress to watch.

Trivia: The incidental Osric here is the wonderful Mercutio in Zefferelli's much earlier Romeo and Juliet around whom the whole play revolves. The First Player (incidental in this version) is the excellent Friar in the other (macho thug MTV) Romeo + Juliet around whom that whole version revolves. Curious.

31 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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