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Hamlet
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Hamlet (1996) More at IMDbPro »

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

Overview

User Rating:
7.9/10   26,589 votes »
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Down 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
William Shakespeare (play)
Kenneth Branagh (screenplay)
Contact:
View company contact information for Hamlet on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 December 1996 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his father murdered and his mother remarrying the murderer, his uncle. Meanwhile, war is brewing. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 12 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Not to be missed See more (208 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Riz Abbasi ... Attendant to Claudius

Richard Attenborough ... English Ambassador
David Blair ... Attendant to Claudius

Brian Blessed ... Ghost of Hamlet's Father

Kenneth Branagh ... Hamlet

Richard Briers ... Polonius
Michael Bryant ... Priest
Peter Bygott ... Attendant to Claudius

Julie Christie ... Gertrude

Billy Crystal ... First Gravedigger
Charles Daish ... Stage Manager

Judi Dench ... Hecuba

Gérard Depardieu ... Reynaldo
Reece Dinsdale ... Guildenstern

Ken Dodd ... Yorick
Angela Douglas ... Attendant to Gertrude
Rob Edwards ... Lucianus

Nicholas Farrell ... Horatio

Ray Fearon ... Francisco
Yvonne Gidden ... Doctor

John Gielgud ... Priam

Rosemary Harris ... Player Queen

Charlton Heston ... Player King

Ravil Isyanov ... Cornelius

Derek Jacobi ... Claudius

Rowena King ... Attendant to Gertrude
Jeffery Kissoon ... Fortinbras's Captain
Sarah Lam ... Attendant to Gertrude

Jack Lemmon ... Marcellus

Ian McElhinney ... Barnardo

Michael Maloney ... Laertes
John Spencer-Churchill ... Fortinbras's Captain (as Duke of Marlborough)

John Mills ... Old Norway

Jimi Mistry ... Sailor Two
Sian Radinger ... Prologue
Melanie Ramsey ... Prostitute

Simon Russell Beale ... Second Gravedigger

Andrew Schofield ... Young Lord

Rufus Sewell ... Fortinbras

Timothy Spall ... Rosencrantz
Thomas Szekeres ... Young Hamlet (as Tom Szekeres)
Ben Thom ... First Player

Don Warrington ... Voltimand

Perdita Weeks ... Second Player

Robin Williams ... Osric

Kate Winslet ... Ophelia
David Yip ... Sailor One
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Christopher Bowles ... Cadet in Play (uncredited)
Frank Morgan ... Pyrrhus (uncredited)
Melanie Ramsay ... Prostitute (uncredited)

Orlando Seale ... Boatman (uncredited)
Jimmy Yuill ... Alexander (uncredited)
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Directed by
Kenneth Branagh 
 
Writing credits
William Shakespeare (play "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark")

Kenneth Branagh (screenplay)

Produced by
David Barron .... producer
 
Original Music by
Patrick Doyle 
 
Cinematography by
Alex Thomson 
 
Film Editing by
Neil Farrell 
 
Casting by
Simone Ireland 
Vanessa Pereira 
 
Production Design by
Tim Harvey 
 
Art Direction by
Desmond Crowe 
 
Costume Design by
Alexandra Byrne 
 
Makeup Department
Richard Glass .... contact lens optician
Sian Grigg .... makeup artist
Peter Montagna .... makeup artist
Kerrie R. Plant .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Iona Price .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sara Desmond .... third assistant director
Sallie Anne Hard .... second assistant director (as Sallie-Ann Hard)
Simon Moseley .... first assistant director
Richard Styles .... second assistant director
Tom White .... third assistant director
 
Art Department
Celia Bobak .... production buyer
Mick Chubbock .... plasterer
Don Dossett .... assistant art director
Danny Hunter .... property master
Richard Lyon .... construction buyer
Brian Pegg .... plasterer
Michael Redding .... construction coordinator
Jamie Shelley .... painter
Alan Hausmann .... carpenter (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Peter Glossop .... production sound mixer
Tom Glossop .... sound assistant
Tim Hands .... adr editor
Micki Joanni .... synchron editor
Dominic Lester .... sound re-recording mixer
Jonathan Mann .... assistant foley editor
Shaun Mills .... boom operator
Robin O'Donoghue .... sound re-recording mixer
Peter Pennell .... supervising sound editor
 
Special Effects by
Dave Crownshaw .... snow effects supervisor
Michael Dawson .... special effects administrator
Kevin Draycott .... special effects foreman
Manex Efrem .... special effects technician
Darrell Guyon .... senior special effects technician
John Mason .... snow effects technician
Kevin Mathews .... special effects wire technician
Graham Povey .... special effects technician
Valter Santos .... snow effects technician
Jody Taylor .... special effects assistant
Joss Williams .... special effects supervisor
Dave Chagouri .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Mark E. Raymond .... snow effects technician (uncredited)
Mark Sanger .... special effects apprentice (uncredited)
Lucien Stephenson .... snow effects technician (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
David Carrigan .... first assistant director: vfx unit
Matthew D'Angibau .... model unit runner
Adrian De Wet .... scanning operator
Tom Debenham .... visual effects designer
Jessie Doyle .... optical trainee
Dan Glass .... visual effects designer
José Granell .... director of miniature effects
Pete Hanson .... studio manager: CFC
Antony Hunt .... visual effects supervisor
Alison O'Brien .... visual effects producer
Joe Pavlo .... scanning operator
Daniel Pettipher .... digital compositor: The Magic Camera Company
Catherine M. Shaw .... assistant producer, scanning and recording: CFC
Andy Stevens .... visual effects camera assistant: Magic Camera Co
Nigel Stone .... director of photography: model unit
Anthony Wonsoff .... visual effects assistant
 
Stunts
Andy Bennett .... stunt performer
Simon Crane .... stunt coordinator
Tom Delmar .... stunt double: Hamlet's Father
Tom Delmar .... stunts
Sarah Franzl .... stunt performer
Steve Griffin .... stunts
Paul Herbert .... stunts
Sean McCabe .... assistant stunt coordinator
Sean McCabe .... stunt double: Hamlet
Ray Nicholas .... stunts
Andreas Petrides .... stunt double: Laertes
Royston Munt .... horse stunt (uncredited)
Peter Pedrero .... utility stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
David Appleby .... key grip
Robert Binnall .... first assistant camera
Tony Cridlin .... grip
Scott Holland .... video assistant
Tony Jackson .... camera operator
Martin Kenzie .... camera operator
Rolf Konow .... still photographer
Ossa Mills .... rigging gaffer
Nic Milner .... camera operator
David Morani .... gaffer
Robert Palmer .... second assistant camera
Chyna Thomson .... first assistant camera: "a" camera
George Richmond .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Richard Cooke .... costume trainee
Dan Grace .... dresser to Mr. Branagh
Andrew Hunt .... costume assistant
Sharon Long .... costume supervisor
Debbie Scott .... assistant costume designer
 
Editorial Department
Simon Astbury .... colorist: rushes
Jens Baylis .... assistant editor
Robbie Broughton .... assistant editor
Dan Farrell .... associate editor (as Daniel Farrell)
Paul King .... negative cutter
Melanie Viner-Cuneo .... assistant editor
 
Music Department
Lawrence Ashmore .... orchestrator
Patrick Doyle .... music producer
Gerard McCann .... music editor
Roy Prendergast .... supervising music editor
Maggie Rodford .... music producer
Randy Spendlove .... executive music producer
Robert Ziegler .... conductor
John Bell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Geoff Foster .... score recordist (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Terry Pritchard .... driver: Kenneth Branagh
 
Other crew
Ben Burt .... floor runner
Nick Daubeny .... location manager
Lindy Davies .... performance consultant
Lil Heyman .... production coordinator
Russell Jackson .... text consultant (as Dr. Russell Jackson)
Annie Penn .... script supervisor (as Annie Wotton)
Kevin Phelan .... 65 mm scanning and recording producer: The Computer Film Company
Nick Powell .... fight arranger
Nick Powell .... sword master
Helen Seery .... assistant accountant
Rebecca Erwin Spencer .... assistant: Mr. Williams
Phil Stoole .... production assistant
Tamar Thomas .... assistant: Mr Branagh
Susan Weeks .... tutor chaperone
Tom White .... location assistant
Robin Demetriou .... catering supervisor (uncredited)
Adam D. Wright .... distribution executive (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Stephen Fry .... special thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"William Shakespeare's Hamlet" - USA (complete title)
See more »
MPAA:
Rated PG-13 for some violent images and sexuality
Runtime:
242 min | 150 min (cut version)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | Dolby Digital (35 mm prints) | SDDS (35 mm prints)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Kate Winslet didn't even audition for the role of Ophelia. Winslet had previously auditioned for the Helena Bonham Carter "Elizabeth" role in Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein (1994), and Branagh was so impressed that he offered her the role in Hamlet (1996) without so much as a reading. Appropriately, Carter had played Ophelia in Hamlet (1990).See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: In the very long shot along the length of the throne room, the cameras are visible in the mirrors.See more »
Quotes:
Hamlet:Hide fox and all after!See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of "Scope: Hamlet" (1955)See more »
Soundtrack:
In Youth When I Did LoveSee more »

FAQ

Does Branagh really include all of Shakespeare's play in his film script?
Did Hamlet really love Ophelia?
Is it true that Hamlet faked his madness?
See more »
86 out of 101 people found the following review useful.
Not to be missed, 26 February 2003
Author: Dennis Littrell from United States

Part of the genius of Branagh's interpretation of Hamlet is in the use of the techniques of the cinema to enhance the production. Branagh has not condensed the acts like some mass market soup, as was done in Olivier's 1948 Oscar-winning production, or in, say, Zeffirelli's 1989 Hamlet lite starring Mel Gibson (both excellent, though, within their scope), but has kept every word while directing our understanding so that even those only casually familiar with the play might follow the intent and purpose with discernment. Recall that for Shakespeare--the ultimate actor's playwright who wrote with precious few stage directions--interpretation was left to the direction and the actors, an open invitation that Branagh rightly accepts.

The use of flashback scenes of things implied, such as the amorous union of Ophelia and her Lord Hamlet abed, or of a vast expanse of snow darkened with distant soldiers to represent the threat of Fortinbras' army from without, and especially the vivid remembrance in the mind's eye of the new king's dastardly deed of murder most foul, helps us all to more keenly appreciate just what it is that torments Hamlet's soul. I also liked the intense closeups. How they would have bemused and delighted an Elizabethan audience.

Branagh's ambitious Hamlet is also one of the most accessible and entertaining, yet without the faintest hint of any dumbing down or abbreviation. A play is to divert, to entertain, to allow us to identify with others who trials and tribulations are so like our own. And so first the playwright seeks to engage his audience, and only then, by happenstance and indirection, to inspire and to inform. Shakespeare did this unconsciously, we might say. He wrote for the popular audience of his time, a broad audience, it should be noted, that included kings and queens as well as knaves and beggars, and he reached them, one and all. We are much removed from those times, and yet, this play, this singular achievement in theatre, still has the power to transcend mere entertainment, to fuse poetry and story, as well as the high and the low, and speak once again to a new audience twenty generations removed.

Branagh himself is a wonderful Hamlet, perhaps a bit of a ham at times (as I think was Shakespeare's intent), a prince who is the friend of itinerant players. He also lacks somewhat in statute (as we conceive our great heroes); nonetheless his interpretation of the great prince's torment and his singular obsession to avenge his father's murder speaks strongly to us all. Branagh, more than any other Hamlet, makes us understand the distracted, anguished and tortured prince, and guides us to not only an appreciation of his actions, wild and crazy as they sometimes are, but to an identification and an understanding of why (the eternal query) Hamlet is so long in assuming the name of action. In Branagh's production, this old quibble with Hamlet's character dissolves itself into a dew, and we realize that he was acting strongly, purposely all the while. He had to know the truth without doubt so that he might act in concert with it.

I was also very much impressed with Derek Jacobi's Claudius. One recalls that Jacobi played Hamlet in the only other full cinematic production of the play that I know of, produced in 1980 by the BBC with Claire Bloom as Gertrude; and he was an excellent Hamlet, although perhaps like Branagh something less than a massive presence. His Claudius combines second son ambition with a Machiavellian heart, whose words go up but whose thoughts remind below, as is the way of villains everywhere.

Kate Winslet is a remarkable Ophelia, lending an unusual strength to the role (strength of character is part of what Kate Winslet brings to any role), but with the poor, sweet girl's vulnerability intact. She does the mad scene with Claudius as well as I have seen it done, and of course her personal charisma and beauty embellish the production.

Richard Briers as Polonius, proves that that officious fool is indeed that, and yet something more so that we can see why he was a counselor to the king. The famous speech he gives to Laertes as his son departs for France, is really ancient wisdom even though it comes from a fool.

Julie Christie was a delight as the besmirched and wretched queen. In the bedroom scene with Hamlet she becomes transparent to not only her son, but to us all, and we feel that the camera is reaching into her soul. She is outstanding.

The bit players had their time upon the stage and did middling well to very good. I liked Charlton Heston's player king (although I think he and John Gielgud might have switched roles to good effect) and Billy Crystal's gravedigger was finely etched. Only Jack Lemon's Marcellus really disappointed, but I think that was mainly because he was so poorly cast in such a role. Not once was he able to flash the Jack Lemon grin that we have come to know so well.

The idea of doing a Shakespearean play with nineteenth century dress in the late twentieth century worked wonderfully well, but I know not why. Perhaps the place and dress are just enough removed from our lives that they are somewhat strange but recognizable in a pleasing way. And perhaps it is just another tribute to the timeless nature of Shakespeare's play.

There is so much more to say about this wonderful cinematic production. It is, all things considered, one of the best Hamlets ever done. Perhaps it is the best. See it, by all means, see it for yourself.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

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My favorite film adaptation of a Shakepeare play ever... kitkat8541
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