Great Performances

Hamlet (1990)

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A Danish prince and university student avenges his father's murder by his uncle, who stole the crown and married his mother.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
MacIntyre Dixon ...
Francisco / Gravedigger / Player
Marcellus / Sailor / Player
Robert Murch ...
Ghost / Priest
Michael Cumpsty ...
Philip Goodwin ...
Clement Fowler ...
Tanny McDonald ...


This is a Great Performances presentation of Joseph Papp's 1990 New York Shakespeare Festival production of the play. Hamlet returns from university for his father's funeral to find his uncle married to his mother. Prompted by his father's ghost, Hamlet carries out his investigation and revenge. Written by Kathy Li

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Plot Keywords:

student | play | funeral | revenge | prince | See All (90) »





Release Date:

1990 (USA)  »

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Version of Hamlet (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Kevin Kline breathes new life into Hamlet
14 May 1999 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

Kline slips easily into the role of Hamlet, displaying the humor that Shakespeare gave the character even in the midst of a tragedy, while maintaining elegant poise in tragic scenes.

Unlike the dark sets and Elizabethan costume that dominate many versions of this play, the modern costumes (women in evening gowns, men in military uniform) and sparse sets used by Kline emphasize the interpretation of the script via the actors, not the setting. The actors seize this opportunity vigorously along with Kline, interpreting Shakespeare to provide new insights into age-old characters that have on several occasions slipped into strict stereotypes.

I found this version a bit confusing the first time I watched it as it broke new ground and interpreted in ways that I'd never thought upon to interpret a Shakespearean tragedy. Upon my second viewing, I was able to catch the minute nuances that I had failed to see the first time, adding to the richness and excellence of this version. I look forward to future endeavors by Kline in the realm of Shakespeare (notably: A Midsummer Night's Dream to be released in May 1999)

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