7.4/10
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145 user 72 critic

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

When Roman Polanski was casting the film, his co-screenwriter Kenneth Tynan suggested Nicol Williamson for the title role. Tynan was a great admirer of Williamson, but Polanski turned him down because he thought Williamson lacked sex appeal. Williamson later played Macbeth in London and on Broadway and for the B.B.C. 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

Lady Macbeth: Look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under't.
See more »

Connections

Version of Hamlet (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the Best Versions of a Shakespeare Play That I Have Seen
16 June 2008 | by rwint1611See all my reviews

THE PLOT: Through ambition, greed, and the spurring of his wife a man rises to the ranks of King, but leaves murder, destruction, guilt, and a wide array of enemies in his wake.

THE POSITIVE: This is visually stunning from beginning to end. The photography of the Scottish landscape seems almost surreal. Although some may argue that the violence is excessive it is still well done and works in a nice lyrical fashion with the script. The gory special effects are very realistic and top anything that I have seen in any slasher movie especially the decapitation scene. The witches also come off as looking very frightening here. The scene in their coven where you see dozens of fully nude elderly women is grotesquely brilliant. This is one Shakespeare rendition that doesn't have any of the stiff staginess. The characters seem to be having real conversations and their lines are spoken in a much more natural way. Finch is absolutely perfect in the lead. The facial expressions that he show during Macbeth's different phases are fascinating and right on target. This would be a good version to show to teenagers and others who might not ordinarily be into Shakespeare. The action is well mounted and paced so anyone would be able to follow it even if they are not able to completely grasp the language.

THE NEGATIVE: Outside of a relentlessly bleak visual style that may be too much for some there really isn't anything negative about it.

THE LOWDOWN: This is the best film adaptation to Shakespeare's work that I have seen. It is exciting, graphic, realistic, visual, and captivating all at the same time even for those that may not be into Shakespeare.

THE RATING: 8 out of 10.


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