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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

During the promotion work for " Diamonds are Forever ", Sean Connery told journalists that he had written a Macbeth screenplay, but was waiting to see how Polanski's version fared, before he went ahead with his. 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

Macbeth: LIAR AND SLAVE!
See more »

Connections

Version of Istana berdarah (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

What bloody man is that?
17 June 2003 | by demondrinkSee all my reviews

I have seen two versions of Macbeth. The other, apart from this, stars Jason Connery and Helen Baxendale and is quite staggering in its total crapness. Almost every scene is screwed up. Polanski, however, gets nearly everything right. The poetry is stripped from the text, leaving a dark, treacherous world in its wake. The surrealist scenes involving the witches stand out in particular. Polanski had the actresses walking on glass in the opening scene, so that they would not make footprints in the sand. Macbeth's second audience with the witches is like a weird trip to the afterlife and back again. Above all, the symbolism of blood stands out again and again, whether it be the setting sun that makes creepy shadows of Birnam Wood as it floats towards Dunsinane, or the brutal scenes of battle and murder.

Macbeth is a difficult tragic hero to empathise with. He's just such a nasty piece of work. But seeing his nimble footwork as he toys with Young Siward before killing him, and his vainglorious final battle with Macduff, I felt a sneaking admiration for him, particularly in comparison with some of the other slimy lords in the kingdom, who were happy enough to support Macbeth in his treachery until they saw which way the wind was blowing.

This is a great version of Macbeth. Jon Finch makes a great title character, demonstrating both warrior prowess and pale-skinned fear with equal skill. Francesca Annis is absolutely tremendous as Lady Macbeth, exuding a potent sexuality and a lethal machiavellian streak. Even Keith Chegwin does his part. The only slight fly in the ointment is Terence `I'm Brian and so's my wife' Bayler, who is such a ham as Macduff that several key scenes come across as bad farce. But this is small beer. If you're a Shakespeare fan, this film is essential viewing. If you're not, watch it anyway.


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