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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.


Peter Wood


John Barton (adaptation), William Shakespeare (play)
Won 5 Primetime Emmys. Another 8 nominations. See more awards »


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Episode complete credited cast:
Richard Chamberlain ... Hamlet
Michael Redgrave ... Polonius
Margaret Leighton ... Gertrude
Richard Johnson ... Claudius, King of Denmark
John Gielgud ... The Ghost
Ciaran Madden ... Ophelia
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alan Adams Alan Adams ... Player #4
Donald Barclay Donald Barclay ... Player #6
David Belcher David Belcher ... Player #3
Alan Bennett ... Osric
Helen Bourne Helen Bourne ... Player #2
Philip Brack Philip Brack ... Bernardo
Robert Coleby ... Fortinbras
Godfrey James Godfrey James ... Marcellus
Nicholas Jones ... Laertes


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.

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Release Date:

17 November 1970 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This "Hamlet" was originally presented on the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" in November, 1970. See more »

Alternate Versions

The version shown in England was some fifteen minutes longer. The American version was edited to fit the then-standard ninety-minute "Hallmark Hall of Fame" time slot. See more »


Version of TV de Vanguarda: Hamlet (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

16 July 2006 | by winner55See all my reviews

This should really be listed as "Hamlet (Hallmark Hall of Fame)" rather than as an episode of a television series. (Which is actually true for most Hallmark presentations.) This is a performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet, and not an "episode" of anything.

When this was first shown, Chamberlain, having only recently abandoned the "Dr. Kildare" series, was at the peak of his popularity, especially with young women. I remember the "oohs" and "aahhs" of the young women in my high-school of the time, when they heard that Dr. Kldare would tackle the great Shakespeare. Of course, most guys knew he was gay (he recently admitted it in his autobiography - well, duh, Richard, who woulda guessed?), but in the early years of the '70s, this actually added to his credibility as a Shakespearean actor, at least among Americans. Then, of course, all of our teachers - some of whom were young women, some of whom were gay - ordered us to watch this film, the bard returned at last to the popular arts. (They really wanted us all to forget Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet which had included naughty bits.) Of course, within two years Roman Polanski would produce his blood-soaked MacBeth and Peter Brooks a version of King Lear shot as if in the middle of a hurricane - there really wasn't any saving the bard from the 20th Century. The Chamberlain Hamlet thus stands as the last attempt to preserve a middle-brow American classicist approach to this material.

That's a complicated way of saying that the Chamberlain version not only lacks depth, but seems to shy away from it. Chamberlain is actually perfect for the role, but he doesn't get the direction he needs to sound the depth of his character. I watched this about three times, and every time ending up asking myself - "is that all there is to it?" well, of course, there's much more; and occasionally we get from Chamberlain and his fellow cast communicate a sense of the much-more Hamlet involves (especially in the Ophelia sequences), But this is never allowed to develop.

Worth viewing, but perhaps only for the "episode" it might have been.

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