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Macbeth (1971)

The Tragedy of Macbeth (original title)
A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writers:

Roman Polanski (screenplay by), William Shakespeare (play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jon Finch ... Macbeth
Francesca Annis ... Lady Macbeth
Martin Shaw ... Banquo
Terence Bayler ... Macduff
John Stride ... Ross
Nicholas Selby ... Duncan
Stephan Chase ... Malcolm
Paul Shelley ... Donalbain
Maisie MacFarquhar Maisie MacFarquhar ... First Witch
Elsie Taylor Elsie Taylor ... Second Witch
Noelle Rimmington Noelle Rimmington ... Third Witch
Noel Davis Noel Davis ... Seyton
Sydney Bromley ... Porter
Richard Pearson ... Doctor
Patricia Mason Patricia Mason ... Gentlewoman
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Storyline

Roman Polanski's version of Shakespeare's tragedy about a Scottish lord who murders the king and ascends the throne. His wife then begins hallucinating as a result of her guilt complex and the dead king's son conspires to attack Macbeth and expose him for the murderer he is. Written by Jason Ihle <jrihl@conncoll.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1971 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Macbeth See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | 3 Channel Stereo (magnetic prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming began with four grueling weeks in Snowdonia National Park. A cameraman was nearly killed on the first day when a fierce wind blew him into a crevice. See more »

Goofs

Whenever characters ride their horses, the film foleys in the sound of horse hooves running on cobblestones or some other hard unyielding surface. This sound appears even when it doesn't make sense, like at the start of the film when the horses are running across wet sand on a beach. See more »

Quotes

Macbeth: Why should I play the Roman fool and die on mine own sword while I see lives that gashes do better on them?
See more »

Connections

Version of Repertory Theatre: Twelfth Night (1949) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Very surprising, and competently made film
5 September 2003 | by quixoboySee all my reviews

I remember watching this film in my Grade 11 English class when we were studying William Shakespeare's "Macbeth". Reading the story a couple of times, I rather enjoyed the classic tale to a degree. Whether or not it would convincingly translate to film, I, along with my class, was about to find out...with Roman Polanski's 1971 film adaptation, also produced by - HUGH HEFNER?!? As strangely amusing as the "Playboy" credit seemed in the opening credits, we were prepared for a very interesting take on the famous, violent play.

Shakespearean tragedies/comedies being translated to film are nothing new, of course. There have been some clear hits and misses over the decades - but fortunately, "Macbeth" does not fall into that latter "miss" category, for it is a tremendously underrated, very surprising, and overall competently made film. Roman Polanski is an excellent director here, and the acting, music, and effects (some of which - particularly the "dagger/murder" sequence - perversely amused my fellow classmates, who are obviously jaded by today's overblown, unsubtle, effects-laden "dramas") worked well for me. As well, the graphic violent and sexual nature of the film (which was also sometimes entertaining to the class, sadly) shocked me quite a bit. Of course, for a film made in 1971, Polanski's "Macbeth" isn't exactly "tame", if you will. Apparently it was rated X at the time, when the notorious film rating existed. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but it clearly wouldn't be surprising if it were, especially considering how intense this film can get - both physically and psychologically. It works extremely well as an old-fashioned action-packed thriller, and even to someone who knew the story fairly well, it was an exciting little soap opera to behold. The class really enjoyed it as well, I'm glad to say; even for all its "old" qualities (i.e. the twangy psychadelic-sounding music that plays upon the closing credits) it still achieved a certain charm that was impossible to deny.

One of the most impressive and enjoyable Shakespearean films I have ever seen, "Macbeth" deserves much more acclaim than scorn - for it is well-made, and enormously faithful to its original source, capturing all the details of ol' Scotland and its inhabitants with great care. It's a wonderful treat. Highly recommended.


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