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Hamlet (1996)

PG-13 | | Drama | 25 December 1996 (USA)
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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his father murdered and his mother remarrying the murderer, his uncle. Meanwhile, war is brewing.

Director:

Kenneth Branagh

Writers:

William Shakespeare (play), Kenneth Branagh (screenplay)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Riz Abbasi Riz Abbasi ... Attendant to Claudius
Richard Attenborough ... English Ambassador
David Blair ... Attendant to Claudius
Brian Blessed ... Ghost of Hamlet's Father
Kenneth Branagh ... Hamlet
Richard Briers ... Polonius
Michael Bryant ... Priest
Peter Bygott Peter Bygott ... Attendant to Claudius
Julie Christie ... Gertrude
Billy Crystal ... First Gravedigger
Charles Daish Charles Daish ... Stage Manager
Judi Dench ... Hecuba
Gérard Depardieu ... Reynaldo
Reece Dinsdale ... Guildenstern
Ken Dodd ... Yorick
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Storyline

Hamlet (Sir Kenneth Branagh), son of the King of Denmark (Brian Blessed), is summoned home for his father's funeral and his mother Gertrude's (Julie Christie's) wedding to his uncle Claudius (Sir Derek Jacobi). In a supernatural episode, he discovers that his uncle, who he hates anyway, murdered his father. In an incredibly convoluted plot, the most complicated and most interesting in all literature, he manages to (impossible to put this in exact order) feign (or perhaps not to feign) madness, murder the "Prime Minister", love and then unlove an innocent who he drives to madness, plot and then unplot against the uncle, direct a play within a play, successfully conspire against the lives of two well-meaning friends, and finally take his revenge on the uncle, but only at the cost of almost every life on-stage, including his own and his mother's. Written by John Brosseau <brossj5683@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violent images and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

William Shakespeare's Hamlet See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$148,321, 29 December 1996

Gross USA:

$4,414,535
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Digital (35 mm prints)| SDDS (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer and director Sir Kenneth Branagh's decision to shoot in 65mm was largely inspired by a film format seminar conducted by visual consultant Rob Hummel. Hummel convinced him to use the format because of high-resolution and certain shots could only be achieved in 65mm. Also, Branagh once said that the intention was to give a sweeping feel to the play, hearkening back to the 1960s epics like Lawrence of Arabia (1962). See more »

Goofs

In the very long shot along the length of the throne room, the cameras are visible in the mirrors. See more »

Quotes

Polonius: How dost my good lord Hamlet?
[Turns a corner and is shocked by a mask-wearing Hamlet]
Hamlet: Well. God a' mercy.
Polonius: [Astonished at Hamlet's peculiar behavior] Do you know me my lord?
Hamlet: Excellent well. You are a fishmonger.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Two versions should have been theatrically released at the same time: a complete 242-minutes director's cut shown only in selected venues (large key cities) and a shorter, wide-release version that ran about two-and-a-half hours. After some critical backlash, Castle Rock decided to release the complete 4 hours everywhere in the US and use the shorter version for some overseas territories. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Mighty Boosh: Bollo (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

In Youth When I Did Love
(uncredited)
Written by William Shakespeare
Performed by Billy Crystal
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
One of Branagh's best
22 September 2004 | by espenshade55See all my reviews

Olivier, Kosentsev, Richardson, Coranado, Zefferelli, and Almerayeda have all directed Hamlet but Branagh's the only one who got it right.

This is the only film of "Hamlet" that contains the full four hours of William Shakespeare's masterpiece and gives a unique feel to the whole story.

Not many directors could pull this off without boring their audience but Branagh's skillful use of bravora film style and stunt casting allows people to see the importance of the scenes that are usually cut out.

Examples of this include Gerarde Depardue as Ranyaldo whos entire purpose in the film was to simply say "yes my lord" as Polonius asks him to spy on Leartes. This also included Billy Crystal as the grave digger, Robin Williams as Osric, Jack Lemmon as Marcellous, and Charlton Heston as the actor.

Branagh's performance of the Act 4 scene 4 soliloquy (Which again is usually cut out) is nothing short of c cinematic marvel as the camera slowly pulls back as the intensity grows. It is a scene that literally made me want to jump out of my chair and start applauding.

Branagh is the only film maker that understood the importance of every scene in this film and knew how to convey that importance to the general audience.

This is a must see for everyone who enjoy's good story telling, brilliant acting,and incredible direction. All of these part of William Shakespeares greatest triumph.


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