54 user 49 critic

Macbeth (1948)

Passed | | Drama, History, War | 10 May 1949 (Mexico)
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.


Orson Welles


William Shakespeare (by)
1 nomination. See more awards »




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's Child
Morgan Farley ... Doctor


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


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


Drama | History | War


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Jeanette Nolan. See more »


Duncan and his men renew their baptismal vows with a prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1884. While this is technically an anachronism, it should be remembered that William Shakespeare's plays are themselves are full of similar anachronisms, therefore this can be seen as a stylistic tribute that Shakespeare himself might have appreciated. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Hollywood Remembers: Orson Welles See more »

User Reviews

Dark and Deep
15 April 2001 | by guyon69See all my reviews

No one will claim that Welles' adaptation is the most accurate or best (see Roman Polansky's for a truer Macbeth) and at some points the bombast of Welles and his supporting cast, especially Lady Macbeth, can be a little overwhelming. However, for sheer mood and feel, I prefer this Macbeth over all the others out there. The darkness and dampness that close in on Welles as the movie progresses is claustrophobic and really gives a gritty appeal to this film. A great example of b&w film used to its fullest potential.

30 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 54 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | Latin

Release Date:

10 May 1949 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Macbeth See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mercury Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed