6.7/10
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101 user 38 critic

Hamlet (1990)

PG | | Drama | 18 January 1991 (USA)
Trailer
1:42 | Trailer
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 (based on the play by), Christopher De Vore (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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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 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play uses the words "honest" and "honesty" many times, because the drama carries the themes of both honorableness and truthfulness/deceit. When Hamlet asks Ophelia if she is honest, that word, in Shakespeare's time, first meant honorable, and secondly meant truthful. He was asking if she was good. When he asks her if she is fair, he doesn't ask whether she considers herself impartial and principled, but whether she considers herself beautiful. Of course, Hamlet uses puns all the time, so the audience should anticipate all possible meanings of his words. 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.
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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

Featured in Violence and the Censors (1995) See more »

User Reviews

A genius adaptation
16 April 1999 | by CitizenKaneSee all my reviews

Zeferelli, although cut some seemingly vital parts to the play, made it his own, and created a beautiful tribute to Shakespeare. I am sure if the Bard had a camera, he would have filmed and wrote the screenplay somewhat the same.

Mel Gibson has portrayed Hamlet in the most true-to-human nature as anyone ever has. His brooding and depressing personality is realistic. Gibson doesn't allow the madness to overcome him. He is passionate, powerful and the epitome of the son who has gone through hell over his father's death and incestuous marriage of his mother. His performance brings tears to my eyes.

Glenn Close is amazing; her motherly attitude and sincerity toward Hamlet is so much that one sometimes cannot feel anger towards her. Close gives life to Gertrude that no one has been able to before or after. She is a real character, with traits both despicable and kind.

The other performances are astounding, especially when it comes to Helena Bonham-Carter's moment of lunacy in Ophelia. Her reaction to her father's death is so convincing and terribly sad that I cry at merely seeing her.

The interpretation of the story is a perfect one that required surely a great amount of thought and reading of the very play. Zeferelli interprets it so well, that it flows like real life. Every aspect comes together to form a very real event.

Zeferelli is a master filmmaker, and I highly suggest this film to anyone who has ever marveled at the human spirit portrayed through film, and literature as well.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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