7.6/10
5,639
52 user 45 critic

Macbeth (1948)

Passed | | Drama, History, War | 23 June 1950 (France)
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:

Orson Welles

Writer:

William Shakespeare (by)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Othello (1951)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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
Mr. Arkadin (1955)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An American adventurer investigates the past of the mysterious tycoon Gregory Arkadin, placing himself in grave danger.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Peter van Eyck, Michael Redgrave
Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

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
The Trial (1962)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An unassuming office worker is arrested and stands trial, but he is never made aware of his charges.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Arnoldo Foà, Jess Hahn
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved.

Directors: Orson Welles, Fred Fleck, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Tim Holt, Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An American ballistics expert in Turkey finds himself targeted by Nazi agents. Safe passage home by ship is arranged for him, but he soon discovers that his pursuers are also on board.

Directors: Norman Foster, Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dolores del Rio
The Stranger (1946)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An investigator from the War Crimes Commission travels to Connecticut to find an infamous Nazi.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young
The Immortal Story (TV Movie 1968)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the Portuguese town of Macao, a wealthy trader named Charles Clay hires two people to recreate a story of a sailor who is paid to impregnate a man's wife.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Roger Coggio
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A woman has two lovers. When one man finds out about the other, he acts as a villain and chases after the protagonist.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Joseph Cotten, Virginia Nicolson, Edgar Barrier
F for Fake (1973)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary about fraud and fakery.

Directors: Orson Welles, Gary Graver, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, François Reichenbach
Don Quixote (1992)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The story of a Spanish gentlemen gone mad and his dim-witted squire sancho panza, who set forth on a journey to right wrongs and accomplish good deeds in the name of chivalry.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Francisco Reiguera, Akim Tamiroff, Pepe Mediavilla
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Orson Welles ... Macbeth
Jeanette Nolan ... Lady Macbeth
Dan O'Herlihy ... Macduff
Roddy McDowall ... Malcolm
Edgar Barrier ... Banquo
Alan Napier ... A Holy Father
Erskine Sanford ... Duncan
John Dierkes ... Ross
Keene Curtis ... Lennox
Peggy Webber ... Lady Macduff / The Three
Lionel Braham ... Siward
Archie Heugly Archie Heugly ... Young Siward
Jerry Farber Jerry Farber ... Fleance
Christopher Welles Christopher Welles ... Macduff Child
Morgan Farley ... Doctor
Edit

Storyline

In fog-dripping, barren and sometimes macabre settings, 11th-century Scottish nobleman Macbeth is led by an evil prophecy and his ruthless yet desirable wife to the treasonous act that makes him king. But he does not enjoy his newfound, dearly-won kingship... Restructured, but all the dialogue is Shakespeare's. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Entertainment Greatness . . . That Only Motion Picture Magic Can Bring !

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 June 1950 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Макбет See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mercury Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(cut) | (premiere) | (restored video)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Laurence Olivier wanted to follow up Henry V (1944) with a film version of "Macbeth", but decided against it because Orson Welles' version would reach theaters first. Olivier opted to make his film of Hamlet (1948) instead, which went on to win him Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor. See more »

Goofs

Duncan and his men renew their baptismal vows with a prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1884. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
The ThreeThe ThreeThe Three: Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The edited version had a prologue spoken by Welles before any lines of Shakespeare's play were even uttered. In the prologue, Welles explains that the witches are "agents of hell...plotting against Christian law and order" and that "here on the blasted heath", the spell is put upon Macbeth. Most books which discuss the Welles film mention Welles's narration, apparently completely unaware that it does not appear at all in the complete, restored version of the film. See more »

Connections

Version of Macbeth: Episode #1.5 (1970) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

From the Language Shapes
7 March 2008 | by tedgSee all my reviews

I got an angry email from a reader upset that I thought Olivier's "Hamlet" to be worthless.

I hold that view because of a personal appreciation of Shakespeare.

What I appreciate of his work is the unique way that his words can weave small cells of images, ambiguous layered and rich. Lovely as well, to tease their way into our souls. These little packages of firework wordimages burst on the tongues we listen with and successively whip a foam that perfectly follows the shape of the larger story.

He does this in different ways: "Tempest," "Ceasar," "Juliet" are all different and different from this play in how he structures this foamnarrative. This is not favorite among the great plays because it is excessively sonorous. I believe this to have something to do with Will's obsessions with word origins and his emphasis on Saxon structures.

Olivier is a typical British actor, someone that sees the words as merely shapes for the mouth and incidentally related to the grand arcs and tensions of the long composition. They are excuses for locution. Such actors disconnect the poetry from the massive stones that pass through the narrative.

This on the other hand is as well conceived as Olivier's Hamlet is mere posturing. It takes the poetry and uses it to build the whole. Welles mucks around with the play, reassigning text, creating new characters and editing heavily, but all to a coherent purpose. His army of cross bearers is something you will never forget.

But he does something else. All the changes, all the special attentions. All the theatrical devices are geared toward the cinematic expression. This isn't just a production by Welles. It was THE production. He'd been doing this for a decade. His theatrical production was the first cinematic play in history, and his work on it (and most of the players) came to Hollywood prepared, which is why we got "Citizen Kane."

This is terrific Shakespeare. This is terrific cinema. To my taste, "Othello" was even better. More layers. More ambiguity. More patina. And highly architectural.

But this. My friends. Shakespeare is special. Don't trust your soul with someone not worthy.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


17 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 52 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed