7.6/10
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26 user 5 critic

A Performance of Macbeth (1979)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie
Macbeth (Sir Ian McKellen) is a daring member of the Scottish military, who receives a revelation from three menacing sorceresses that he will someday become the King of Scotland. This ... See full summary »

Writers:

Trevor Nunn (conceived for television by), William Shakespeare (play)
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ian McKellen ... Macbeth
Judi Dench ... Lady Macbeth
John Bown John Bown ... Lennox
Susan Dury Susan Dury ... 3rd Witch / Lady Macduff
Judith Harte Judith Harte ... 2nd Witch / Gentlewoman
Greg Hicks ... Donalbain / Seyton
David Howey ... Sergeant / 1st Murderer / Doctor
Griffith Jones ... Duncan
Marie Kean ... 1st Witch
Ian McDiarmid ... The Porter / Ross
Bob Peck ... Macduff
Duncan Preston ... Angus
Roger Rees ... Malcolm
Zak Taylor Zak Taylor ... Fleance / Messenger
Stephen Warner Stephen Warner ... Young Macduff
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Storyline

Macbeth (Sir Ian McKellen) is a daring member of the Scottish military, who receives a revelation from three menacing sorceresses that he will someday become the King of Scotland. This information gives him a thirst for power, and with prompting from his wife, Lady Macbeth (Dame Judi Dench), he kills the current leader in order to take the throne. But he must continue to commit murders to keep his actions a secret, and soon, no one is safe. Written by Polly_Kat

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was filmed on a circular stage. See more »

Connections

Version of Macbeth (1908) See more »

User Reviews

Stunning
24 October 2004 | by partnerfranceSee all my reviews

This is probably "Macbeth" as Shakespeare really saw it produced -- no fancy scenery, no elaborate sets, just stunning actors conveying everything Shakespeare intended to convey by the power of their own speech and actions.

The defining moment for me is the banquet scene, where McKellan manages to go from icily cynical schemer to stark raving maniac on seeing Banquo's ghost, and then back again to schemer and then yet back again to broken, frightened shadow of a man by the end of the scene, without for a moment over-acting and without us, the viewer, even seeing Banquo's ghost.

The only false note I think the production had was Judi Dench -- as others have said here, she is of course a splendid actress and her sleepwalking scene was wonderful. But part of what drives Macbeth in the play is Lady Macbeth's threat to withhold sexual favors and her denigration of his masculinity if Macbeth doesn't act more "like a man" and go through with the murder of Duncan (conveyed in this version by her avoiding Macbeth's attempted kiss in the "milk of human kindness" scene), and frankly in this production Dame Judi lacked the sex appeal that would make this viable.

Still, a bravura performance and certainly the best Macbeth I have seen filmed.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Also Known As:

Macbeth See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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