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Hamlet (1996)

PG-13 | | Drama | 25 December 1996 (USA)
1:44 | Trailer

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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his father murdered and his mother remarrying the murderer, his uncle. Meanwhile, war is brewing.



(play), (screenplay)
3,418 ( 215)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Riz Abbasi ...
Attendant to Claudius
David Blair ...
Attendant to Claudius
Peter Bygott ...
Attendant to Claudius
Charles Daish ...
Stage Manager


Hamlet, son of the king of Denmark, is summoned home for his father's funeral and his mother's wedding to his uncle. In a supernatural episode, he discovers that his uncle, whom he hates anyway, murdered his father. In an incredibly convoluted plot--the most complicated and most interesting in all literature--he manages to (impossible to put this in exact order) feign (or perhaps not to feign) madness, murder the "prime minister," love and then unlove an innocent whom he drives to madness, plot and then unplot against the uncle, direct a play within a play, successfully conspire against the lives of two well-meaning friends, and finally take his revenge on the uncle, but only at the cost of almost every life on stage, including his own and his mother's. Written by John Brosseau <brossj5683@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violent images and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 December 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William Shakespeare's Hamlet  »

Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$148,321 (USA) (27 December 1996)


$4,414,535 (USA) (11 April 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


For more than a year, Kenneth Branagh had tried shopping the project around major studios in Hollywood, but no studio was willing to finance a four-hour production, citing skepticism of the commercial viability of a William Shakespeare adaptation to a late 20th-century audience. Also, most studios were aware of the negative reviews and the commercial failure of Branagh's previously-directed film, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) and some of them would only finance the film if the content and the budget is cut to half. However, Castle Rock Entertainment, agreed to finance the film and to Branagh's demands (filming in 65mm, complete control over the film, etc..) under two conditions: a star-studded cast for the show and a 35mm, abridged 2.5 hour version of the show for a wider release. See more »


The number of bones thrown out of the grave by the gravedigger. See more »


Polonius: My lord I will take my leave of you.
Hamlet: You cannot sir, take from me anything I would more willingly part withal. Except my life. Except my life
[grins crazily]
Hamlet: Except my life.
Polonius: Fare you well, my lord.
Hamlet: [to himself, quite sane] These tedious old fools.
See more »


Featured in The 69th Annual Academy Awards (1997) See more »


In Youth When I Did Love
Written by William Shakespeare
Performed by Billy Crystal
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

5 December 2000 | by (Järvenpää, Finland) – See all my reviews

It's hard to say anything about a movie like this because there isn't enough words to give this magnificent, stylish and unique film the veneration it unquestionably deserves. They should make this the official and only true real Hamlet -movie because all the previous films out of the same immortal spectacle are being overshadowed by Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet".

It's a perfect, complete version of the play, potent, massive, earthshaking first-class masterpiece Shakespeare would have been proud of. They've packed over a dozen of world-famous top actors in the same film and everyone of them is having one of the greatest performances of their career. Every moving and charming sequence leaves behind a comprehensive sense of satisfaction.

The cameras embrace gracefully the enchanting coulisses. Branagh is phenomenal in the leading role. His sharp, irresistible performance is the only one of it's kind and will be permanently part of the glorious movie history. Every second in this presentation is feast for the movie lover from beginning to the very end. Branagh's version of "Hamlet" is among the ten best motion pictures ever.

58 of 72 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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