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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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Popularity
3,451 ( 82)
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, son of the king of Denmark, is summoned home for his father's funeral and his mother's wedding to his uncle. In a supernatural episode, he discovers that his uncle, whom 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 whom 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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,414,535, 13 April 1997
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

Some pathologists conducted a study determining how long a person lasts before dying after being stabbed directly. A scene from this movie where Hamlet kills Polonius was also viewed as reference to their study. In the end, it was found that a person, after being stabbed directly, can only last long enough to utter four words. This means that Polonius' uttering of the words "O, I am slain" as he dies is medically possible. See more »

Goofs

Spot of blood on Osric's lip when speaking to Hamlet. See more »

Quotes

Hamlet: Whose grave is this sir?
First Gravedigger: Mine sir.
[Resumes singing his ditty]
Hamlet: [Interrupts] I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in't.
First Gravedigger: You lie out on't sir, and therefore it is not yours. For my part I do not lie ins't and yet it is mine.
Hamlet: Thou dost lie in't to be in't, and say 'tis thine. 'Tis for the dead not for the quick, therefore thou liest.
First Gravedigger: 'Tis a quick lie, sir. 'Twill away again from me to you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The shorter, 135 minute version omits the appearances of the English Ambassador (Richard Attenborough), Priam (John Gielgud), Hecuba (Judi Dench), and Reynaldo (Gerard Depardieu). See more »


Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Its virtues outweigh its defects
12 September 2005 | by shrikeangelSee all my reviews

First, what I didn't like. The acting was not really up to the Hamlet standard. Branagh was really over-the-top, doing a lot of yelling mostly. In my opinion, those actors who were not big-name celebrities generally did a better job; though I would except Billy Crystal and Robin Williams. (And Charlton Heston, too, but I wasn't sure if he was playing at being a hack.) A lot of the ambiguities in the play were clearly resolved one way in the flashbacks.

What I think speaks very much in this play's favor is that it is accessible. Shakespeare is hard to understand for the vast majority of people nowadays; many people are not even inclined to try, because of its reputation as Serious Literature and its archaic English. If they see this film they will understand clearly at least one man's interpretation of the play. They will be seeing it more as Shakespeare's audiences saw it: a play with sword fights and battles, and mighty kings and nobles, murder and incest and evil schemes and ghosts--and great art, if one cares to look for it, but in Shakespeare's day most didn't, any more than most people do now. Branagh's overacting, and his forcing of his interpretation of the story on the viewer, may detract from Shakespeare's art somewhat, but it is better that modern audiences get a piece of it, rather than nothing.

I've got to say one more thing though. Some people are complaining that "it's set in the 19th century and that wasn't Shakespeare's time". Well, in Shakespeare's time their costume and scenery was that of their own day for all of their plays. Shakespeare may have SAID it's in the days of ancient Rome or medieval Denmark or whatever, but he didn't dress his characters up like they were, he used the costumes of his own time. For the same reason his plays are full of anachronisms. For example, in King John the English and French have cannons--in Robin Hood's day. In Julius Caesar they talk of chimneys, which wouldn't be invented for another thousand years, and in Henry IV they talk about Machiavelli, who wasn't even born yet then. So I think this objection is silly--you might as well complain that the play isn't in Danish (after all they live in Denmark don't they?).


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