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Hamlet (1990)

PG | | Drama | 18 January 1991 (USA)
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans revenge.

Director:

Franco Zeffirelli

Writers:

William Shakespeare (play), Christopher De Vore (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Gibson ... Hamlet
Glenn Close ... Gertrude
Alan Bates ... Claudius
Paul Scofield ... The Ghost
Ian Holm ... Polonius
Helena Bonham Carter ... Ophelia
Stephen Dillane ... Horatio
Nathaniel Parker ... Laertes
Sean Murray Sean Murray ... Guildenstern
Michael Maloney ... Rosencrantz
Trevor Peacock ... The Gravedigger
John McEnery ... Osric
Richard Warwick ... Bernardo
Christien Anholt ... Marcellus
Dave Duffy ... Francisco
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Storyline

Hamlet returns to Denmark when his father, the King, dies. His mother Gertrude has already married Hamlet's uncle Claudius, the new King. They urge Hamlet to marry his beloved Ophelia. But soon the ghost of Hamlet's father appears and tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius and Gertrude. Hamlet must choose between passive acquiescence and the need for a vengeance which might lead to tragedy. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The extraordinary adaptation of Shakespeare's classic tale of vengeance and tragedy.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 January 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hamlet See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$116,975, 25 December 1990

Gross USA:

$20,710,451

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,710,451
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

About Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be" monologue, many critics have complained for decades about the line: "Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, end them?" The complaint is that Hamlet is mixing metaphors: Fortune (Fate) does not actually shoot arrows at people, and you can't use your swords against the sea. The assumption seems to be that Shakespeare was too tired, or too lazy, to fit metaphorical causes with metaphorical effects. Shakespeare (and therefore Hamlet) were too smart to be that sloppy in their speech. Hamlet is complaining that these forces (fate and the ocean) are precisely too abstract, too formless, too monstrous, and too inhuman for a human to use weapons against - arrows against a vague idea such as Fortune, or swords and knives against an ocean. You can't fight on those levels. Hamlet was grieving, but he was never stupid. See more »

Goofs

Elsinore in Denmark is a very flat, not at like the hilly landscape portrayed in the film. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Claudius: Hamlet! Think of us as of a father. For let the world take note: you are the most immediate to our throne. And with no less nobility of love than that which dearest father bears his son do I impart toward you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

One American print, which as of January 2016 appears on Paramount's Vault Channel on YouTube, features no credits overlaid during the first two minutes of the film as seen on most prints (aside from the title) and the same goes for the end titles, which leaves only a black screen with music, followed by the Paramount logo. It is unknown how or why there are essentially no credits at all on this print; it is most likely an accident that the distributor was unaware of. See more »

Connections

Version of Hamlet (1953) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Mel Gibson's Hamlet
1 March 2014 | by Red-125See all my reviews

Hamlet (1990) stars Mel Gibson. The film was directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Mel Gibson ranks at the top of my list of unlikeable Hollywood stars. However, as as reviewer, I have to give him credit for doing a creditable job in the demanding role of Hamlet. Film Hamlets don't have to be skilled Shakespearean actors. The ability to murmur a soliloquy that can be heard in the back row of an auditorium isn't required in the movies. The director can order numerous takes until one turns out well. He can use close-ups--as Zeffirelli does--to make sure we understand the actor's emotions. I don't think Gibson would have managed the role onstage, but on the screen he carries it off.

Glenn Close, as Gertrude, is excellent. This is especially evident in the bedroom ("closet") scene. She really does portray Gertrude's mixture of fear and shame in a convincing manner.

However, in my opinion, acting honors go to Helena Bonham Carter as Ophelia. Bonham Carter's Ophelia is shy and innocent. She is flattered and frightened by Hamlet's professions of love, and she is crushed by his violent rejection. Most impressive is her portrayal of the mad scenes. She acts these so well that you actually are convinced that you are watching a young woman who has had a descent into mental illness.

I've watched several Hamlets as part of a Shakespeare on film honors course. Each movie has it's strengths and weaknesses. This Hamlet deserves to be seen. Zeffirelli Is a brilliant director, Mel Gibson is a satisfactory Hamlet, and Helena Bonham Carter is the perfect Ophelia.

I watched this movie on DVD, but it would do better in a theater. It's worth watching it in whatever format is available.


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