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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)
3,633 ( 220)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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Out of work actor Joe volunteers to help try and save his sister's local church for the community by putting on a Christmas production of Hamlet, somewhat against the advice of his agent ... See full summary »

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Stars: Michael Maloney, Richard Briers, Hetta Charnley


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
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Did You Know?


One of William Shakespeare's lines is actually changed with no acknowledgment. The sorrows come line "O Gertrude, Gertrude, when sorrows come they come not as single spies, but in battalions" becomes simply "When sorrows come they come not as single spies, but in battalions," probably because Claudius delivers them in voiceover and we do not know to whom he is speaking. It is the only line in the film that is changed because of the way the scene is filmed. See more »


When the King and Queen are hugging after Polonius' death and the camera moves away, on the ground, you can see wheel tracks in the dust clearly. See more »


Hamlet: I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire! Why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in ...
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

Branagh really raised the bar with this version
3 February 2008 | by (London Canada) – See all my reviews

seen one you've seen them all, right? wrong! I still like the sombre Olivier version and Gibson did well, but this is in a class of its own.

I finally realized with this expanded production set 200 years closer to the present the full message that Shakespeare cleverly concealed with the more prominent aspect of Hamlet's quandary, and that is he, Hamlet, is driven to distraction by the awareness its the insidiousness of human nature that created the conditions that saw his father murdered.

looking at the play with this insight you can see numerous scenes where this notion is there in the background. and by changing the era, Branagh shows yet again the astonishing applicability of that truth. all you need is to read a newspaper, something 'included' in this production.

thank god for British stage actors raised on Shakespeare.

a very rewarding viewing.

17 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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