Ram-30's Top 40 Shakespeare Movies

by ram-30 | created - 07 Feb 2011 | updated - 16 May 2016 | Public

A list of my 50 favourite films that are directly based on the plays of William Shakespeare.

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1. Henry V (1944)

Not Rated | 137 min | Biography, Drama, History

In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Robert Newton, Leslie Banks, Felix Aylmer

Votes: 5,146

2. Richard III (1955)

Not Rated | 161 min | Biography, Drama, History

Shakespeare's powerful tale of the wicked deformed King and his conquests, both on the battlefield and in the boudoir.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Cedric Hardwicke, Nicholas Hannen, Ralph Richardson

Votes: 3,663

3. Hamlet (1948)

Not Rated | 154 min | Drama

Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former King.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, John Laurie, Esmond Knight

Votes: 13,671

4. King Lear (1983 TV Movie)

158 min | Drama

An aging King invites disaster, when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters, and rejects his loving and honest one.

Director: Michael Elliott | Stars: Colin Blakely, Leo McKern, Robert Lindsay, Laurence Olivier

Votes: 702

5. Othello (1965)

Unrated | 165 min | Drama

A General's marriage is destroyed when a vengeful Lieutenant convinces him that his new wife has been unfaithful.

Director: Stuart Burge | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Frank Finlay, Robert Lang, Anthony Nicholls

Votes: 1,235

6. As You Like It (1936)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Comedy, Romance

A Duke usurps his brother's land and power, banishing him and his entourage into the forest of Arden. The banished Duke's daughter, Rosalind, remains with her cousin Celia. She has fallen ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Czinner | Stars: Elisabeth Bergner, Laurence Olivier, Sophie Stewart, Henry Ainley

Votes: 595

7. Throne of Blood (1957)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 39,105

8. Romeo and Juliet (1936)

Passed | 125 min | Drama, Romance

Young love is poisoned by a generations long feud between two noble families.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, John Barrymore, Edna May Oliver

Votes: 1,528

9. Macbeth (2015)

R | 113 min | Drama, History, War

71 Metascore

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

Director: Justin Kurzel | Stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jack Madigan, Frank Madigan

Votes: 48,182 | Gross: $1.11M

10. Othello (1951)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, History, Romance

The Moorish General Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his Lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality, it is all part of the scheme of a bitter Ensign named Iago.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Micheál MacLiammóir, Robert Coote, Suzanne Cloutier

Votes: 6,650

11. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)

Approved | 133 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Theseus, Duke of Athens, is going to marry Hyppolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Demetrius is engaged with Hermia, but Hermia loves Lysander. Helena loves Demetrius. Oberon and Titania, of the ... See full summary »

Directors: William Dieterle, Max Reinhardt | Stars: James Cagney, Dick Powell, Ian Hunter, Verree Teasdale

Votes: 2,822

12. Julius Caesar (1953)

Not Rated | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar, but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Louis Calhern, Marlon Brando, James Mason, John Gielgud

Votes: 9,246

13. Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy, Drama, History

The career of Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff as a roistering companion to young Prince Hal, circa 1400 to 1413.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford, John Gielgud

Votes: 6,628 | Gross: $0.12M

14. Macbeth (1971)

R | 140 min | Biography, Drama, History

A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, Martin Shaw, Terence Bayler

Votes: 11,328

15. Hamlet (1996)

PG-13 | 242 min | Drama

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

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Julie Christie, Derek Jacobi, Kate Winslet

Votes: 33,818 | Gross: $4.41M

16. Love's Labour's Lost (2000)

PG | 93 min | Romance, Comedy, Musical

35 Metascore

An update of the classic Shakespeare story, Director Sir Kenneth Branagh shot this movie like a classic 1930s musical. This movie tells the story of four best friends who swear off love.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Alessandro Nivola, Alicia Silverstone, Natascha McElhone, Kenneth Branagh

Votes: 4,171 | Gross: $0.28M

17. Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

PG-13 | 111 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Young lovers Hero and Claudio, soon to wed, conspire to get verbal sparring partners and confirmed singles Benedick and Beatrice to wed as well.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves, Kate Beckinsale

Votes: 41,750 | Gross: $22.55M

18. Twelfth Night or What You Will (1996)

PG | 134 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Shakespeare's comedy of gender confusion, in which a girl disguises herself as a man to be near the count she adores, only to be pursued by the woman he loves.

Director: Trevor Nunn | Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Richard E. Grant, Imogen Stubbs, Steven Mackintosh

Votes: 5,294 | Gross: $0.55M

19. Othello (1995)

R | 123 min | Drama, Romance

The Moorish General Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his Lieutenant Michael Cassio, when in reality, it is all part of the scheme of a bitter Ensign named Iago.

Director: Oliver Parker | Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Kenneth Branagh, Irène Jacob, Nathaniel Parker

Votes: 8,457 | Gross: $2.11M

20. Ran (1985)

R | 162 min | Action, Drama

96 Metascore

In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû

Votes: 97,966 | Gross: $3.52M

21. Richard III (1995)

R | 110 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, War

The classic Shakespearean play about a murderously scheming King staged in an alternative fascist England setting.

Director: Richard Loncraine | Stars: Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Christopher Bowen, Edward Jewesbury

Votes: 12,741 | Gross: $2.60M

22. Great Performances (1971– )
Episode: Macbeth (2010)

Not Rated | 160 min | Music

Sir Patrick Stewart stars in a gripping Tony-nominated production.

Director: Rupert Goold | Stars: Patrick Stewart, Kate Fleetwood, Oliver Burch, Suzanne Burden

Votes: 902

23. The Taming of the Shrew (1967)

Approved | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Brutish, fortune-hunting scoundrel Petruchio tames his wealthy, shrewish wife, Katharina.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Cyril Cusack, Michael Hordern

Votes: 6,535 | Gross: $8.00M

24. Romeo and Juliet (1968)

PG | 138 min | Drama, Romance

When two young members of feuding families meet, forbidden love ensues.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Leonard Whiting, Olivia Hussey, John McEnery, Milo O'Shea

Votes: 26,837 | Gross: $38.90M

25. Hamlet (1990)

PG | 135 min | Drama

53 Metascore

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

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield

Votes: 19,811 | Gross: $20.71M

26. Titus (1999)

R | 162 min | Drama, History, Thriller

57 Metascore

Titus returns victorious from war, only to plant the seeds of future turmoil for himself and his family.

Director: Julie Taymor | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Osheen Jones, Dario D'Ambrosi

Votes: 18,747 | Gross: $1.92M

27. The Merchant of Venice (2004)

R | 131 min | Drama, Romance

63 Metascore

In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.

Director: Michael Radford | Stars: Al Pacino, Joseph Fiennes, Lynn Collins, Jeremy Irons

Votes: 32,747 | Gross: $3.77M

28. The Tempest (1998 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 120 min | Drama

An adaptation of Shakespeare's classic is set in the Mississippi bayous during the Civil War.

Director: Jack Bender | Stars: Peter Fonda, John Glover, Harold Perrineau, Katherine Heigl

Votes: 329

29. King Lear (1971)

GP | 137 min | Drama

The Shakespeare tragedy that gave us the expression "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." King Lear has not one but two ungrateful children, and it's ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Brook | Stars: Paul Scofield, Irene Worth, Cyril Cusack, Susan Engel

Votes: 699

30. Hamlet (2009 TV Movie)

PG | 180 min | Drama

The RSC puts a modern spin on Shakespeare's Hamlet in this filmed-for-television version of their stage production. The Prince of Denmark seeks vengeance after his father is murdered and his mother marries the murderer.

Director: Gregory Doran | Stars: David Tennant, Patrick Stewart, Penny Downie, Oliver Ford Davies

Votes: 2,815

31. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

PG-13 | 120 min | Drama, Romance

60 Metascore

Shakespeare's famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue.

Director: Baz Luhrmann | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo, Harold Perrineau

Votes: 192,609 | Gross: $46.35M

32. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)

PG-13 | 116 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

61 Metascore

Lovers' lives are complicated by city law, feuding faerie royalty, and... love.

Director: Michael Hoffman | Stars: Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci

Votes: 23,065 | Gross: $16.07M

33. King Lear (1971)

PG | 139 min | Drama

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »

Directors: Grigoriy Kozintsev, Iosif Shapiro | Stars: Jüri Järvet, Elza Radzina, Galina Volchek, Valentina Shendrikova

Votes: 1,252

34. Hamlet at Elsinore (1964 TV Movie)

170 min | Drama

Hamlet suspects his uncle has murdered his father to claim the throne of Denmark and the hand of Hamlet's mother, but the prince cannot decide whether or not he should take vengeance.

Director: Philip Saville | Stars: Christopher Plummer, Robert Shaw, Alec Clunes, Michael Caine

Votes: 132

35. Coriolanus (2011)

R | 123 min | Drama, Thriller, War

79 Metascore

A banished hero of Rome allies with a sworn enemy to take his revenge on the city.

Director: Ralph Fiennes | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Brian Cox, Lubna Azabal

Votes: 29,388 | Gross: $0.76M

36. Hamlet (II) (2000 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 178 min | Drama

67 Metascore

The classic Shakespeare tragedy is revisioned in America at the turn of the 20th Century. Campbell Scott (Singles, The Spanish Prisoner) adapted, co-directed and stars in the title role ... See full summary »

Directors: Campbell Scott, Eric Simonson | Stars: Campbell Scott, Blair Brown, Roscoe Lee Browne, LisaGay Hamilton

Votes: 212

37. Macbeth (1961 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 85 min | Drama

The Scottish lord Macbeth, chooses evil as the way to fulfill his ambition for power. He commits regicide to become king and then furthers his moral descent with a reign of murderous terror... See full summary »

Director: Paul Almond | Stars: Sean Connery, Zoe Caldwell, William Needles, Ted Follows

Votes: 132

38. Hamlet (1969)

G | 117 min | Drama

Nicol Williamson takes the lead role in this star-studded 1969 version of William Shakespeare's tragedy. Prince Hamlet mourns both his father's death and his mother's marriage to Claudius. ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Richardson | Stars: Nicol Williamson, Judy Parfitt, Anthony Hopkins, Marianne Faithfull

Votes: 655

39. Romeo & Juliet (1993 TV Movie)

162 min | Drama, Romance

The Stratford Festival stage production of Shakespeare's drama.

Director: Norman Campbell | Stars: Mary Hitch Blendick, Barbara Bryne, Antoni Cimolino, Colm Feore

Votes: 39

40. Tempest (1982)

PG | 140 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A sobering mid-life crisis fuels dissatisfaction in Philip Dimitrius, to the extent where the successful architect trades his marriage and career in for a spiritual exile on a remote Greek ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Mazursky | Stars: John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands, Susan Sarandon, Vittorio Gassman

Votes: 1,988 | Gross: $5.01M



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