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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), Kenneth Tynan (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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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 John Stride ... Ross
Nicholas Selby Nicholas Selby ... Duncan
Stephan Chase ... Malcolm
Paul Shelley 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 »

Filming Locations:

UK 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

Roman Polanski wanted to include a violent bear-baiting sequence but it posed all kinds of problems. The first bear they tried to use was too timid and kept running away from the dogs, while the second was uncontrollably vicious and pawed a crew member. He eventually opted for an intrepid stuntman in a bear suit, but understandably the man would only agree to a single dog being set loose on him, fearing his armored padding wouldn't be up to the job. Polanski secretly instructed the handlers to loose three dogs, sending the stuntman cowering in fear, screaming at the director to call them off. See more »

Goofs

The lyrics to the song that Fleance sings at Macbeth's banquet for Duncan at Inverness are taken from the poem "Merciles Beautè" by Geoffrey Chaucer. In the context of the film this extraneously inserted song is itself an anachronism, as Chaucer lived in the fourteenth century and Shakespeare's "Macbeth" historically takes place in the eleventh century. See more »

Quotes

Malcolm: Receive what cheer you may. The night is long that never finds the day.
See more »

Connections

Version of Macbeth (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stunning, well performed and very bloody adaptation of the play.
10 September 2009 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

To say that this adaptation is a bit of a bloodbath is a bit of an understatement, but you cannot deny that this film from Roman Polanski is quite possibly the definitive film version of Shakespeare's play, which is very complicated to even contemplate transcribing to screen. The cinematography is excellent, as is the script. It is true that there are a lot of disturbing scenes, chiefly Lady Macbeth's nude sleepwalker scene and King Duncan's death. Roman Polanski should be commended for how much he managed to get into the film, and he somehow made it all effective. Any scene with the three witches, the murder of Macduff's family, plus the part when Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost was very well done.(I saw an amateur production of this, and not only was it disappointing, but that particular scene was the worst aspect of it) The performances were brilliant, Jon Finch(who did start off uncomfortable) is great on the whole as the treacherous thane-turned-king, and Francessca Annis was nigh-on-perfect as Lady Macbeth. And Martin Shaw was excellent as Banquo. From the suitably eerie opening scene, to the superb climax, this is a near-perfect adaptation, there were just some bits that were really disturbing to watch, that deserves more recognition. 9/10 Bethany Cox


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