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Shakespeare was the man when it came to writing compelling stories and characters that we truly care about. Over the years, there have been many screenwriters and directors that have adapted his plays into movies for the general public. In fact, some of the best or most popular movies are Shakespeare movie adaptations.

While some of the Shakespeare movie adaptations only allude to the plays that they’re based on and choose to focus on particular elements of the plays, others, like Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, very closely resembles the original material. Either way, The Bard’s plays make for pretty great films.

So, in celebration of Much Ado About Nothing‘s wider release this weekend, here’s a list of the top 10 best Shakespeare movie adaptations (so far).

10. ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (1993)

Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare Movie Adaptation
As you’ll see as you keep perusing our list, the 90s were a great time for Shakespeare movie adaptations. About 20 years before Joss Whedon premiered his modern, black and white version of the comedy, critics and film-goers endlessly praised actor/director Kenneth Branagh (director of Thor) for his movie. Even though it’s not as flashy as Whedon’s, you’ll definitely want to check out this version. You’ll love seeing Keanu Reeves play the villain and Robert Sean Leonard (Dr. Wilson from House!) play the lovesick Claudio.

9. ‘Othello’ (1995)

Othello Shakespeare Movie Adaptation
Laurence Fishburne plays a very tortured Othello in this adaptation of the famous play. His fits of madness are intense, not to mention gripping. Kenneth Branagh is in this film as well, playing the heinous villain Iago (no, not the red bird from Aladdin). The first half of the movie may drag a bit and you may get a little annoyed with all of the uproar over a handkerchief, but you really need to watch it all the way through to the end.

8. ‘Warm Bodies’ (2013)

Warm Bodies Shakespeare Movie Adaptation
Ok, so Warm Bodies is one of the looser adaptations, but it’s still a great movie. The two come from dueling “families” so to speak and fall in love against all odds. Most of the characters have names and roles similar to characters in Romeo and Juliet (R, Julie, M, etc.) and there’s even a balcony scene. We especially like this film because it turns the whole teenage romance idea on its head and has a good time poking fun at it. Some people take the Romeo and Juliet-type romance too seriously, so this movie was like a breath of fresh air.

7. ’10 Things I Hate About You’ (1999)

10 Things I Hate About You Shakespeare Movie Adaptation
Not many people are aware that this smash hit is a Shakespeare movie adaptation, but that’s probably because the play it adapts, The Taming of the Shrew, is not one of The Bard’s more popular titles. Like Warm Bodies and She’s the Man (which you’ll see later on this list), he references the play through character names and places but isn’t completely married to the play’s plot. Above all though, Heath Ledger plays such a charming leading man that there was no way this movie wasn’t going to make this list.

6. ‘Romeo + Juliet’ (1996)

Romeo + Juliet Shakespeare Movie Adaptation
Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet is so aesthetically beautiful that it sometimes takes our breath away. While we’re still kind of iffy about Luhrmann’s decision to set the classic story in modern day Verona Beach and give the characters guns instead of swords, there’s no denying that this is one of the most iconic Shakespeare movie adaptations that has ever been made. Shakespeare students and fans, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio lovers, will be watching and re-watching this movie for years to come.

On Page 2: Which Shakespeare movie adaptation took our #1 spot? (Hint: It’s definitely a Hypable reader-favorite!)

Pages: 1 2

  • matthewhpg

    Not technically a movie, but Much Ado About Nothing with David Tennant and Catherine Tate at Wyndham’s Theatre.

    • Laura Palmer ≈

      I went to see that and I loved it ridiculous amounts. It was amazing!

    • Eric

      I’d love to have seen that!

      • https://twitter.com/JassyPugh Jasmine P

        You can via Digital Theatre. Its like netflix for British Theatre. You can rent the play and watch it. It is AWESOME

  • sidechain

    What about the modern version of MacBeth? That was interesting.

    • Rosalie David


  • Musician

    Hamlet with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart isn’t on this list? WHAT?! That’s one of the best Hamlet adaptations, ever, and it also counts as a film because it was released as a movie post-theater run.
    My personal favorite, however, may be the strange but enthralling As You Like It with Bryce Dallas Howard, set in the forests of Japan around the time of the European and American attempts to colonize Japan. Alfred Molina makes the best Touchstone there is. It also isn’t on this list.

    Of the movies on the list, though, She’s the Man is one of my favorites for entertainment value; I love Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, too, because Iain Glen was a fabulous Hamlet.

    • Carilyn

      Well, Tennant’s Hamlet wasn’t technically produced as a film in theaters. It was only adapted to television. And there may be other reasons, but I haven’t seen the whole things, so I couldn’t say

      • Musician

        That’s true. But that’s the only reason I can think of–I watched it and it was fabulous.

  • elskokan


  • dlskin

    I wish my high school teacher had this list when she was teaching us about Shakespeare, maybe I would have cared/paid attention! Haha

  • Ao

    I love 10 things I hate about you!

    • Samma

      One of my favorites ever. That cast is incredible and it’s just perfect.

  • Sarah Tipton

    The best part of Romeo + Juliet is Harold Perrineau as a cross-dressing Mercutio. It. Is. The. Best.

    • Jason P

      There were not many things about the Baz Luhrmann Romeo+Juliet that I liked, but I do agree regarding Harold Perrineau. One of the other things I liked about it was the soundtrack.

  • Jason P

    There are 3 film adaptation that, imho, should be on this list. They are:

    1. Branagh’s version of Hamlet – this is one of my all time favorite movies. The 70mm photoogrphy made for a gorgeous picture, the acting was top notch and I love that they decided to film the entire play.
    2. Titus – Directed by Julie Taymor and starring Anthony Hopkins as Titus Andronicus and Jessica Lange as Tamora, Queen of the Goths, who just blew my mind…when she utters the phrase ““cruel, irreligious piety” it sends chills up my spine. I also liked Harry Lennix as Aaron the Moor.
    3. Richard III directed by Richard Loncraine and adapted by Loncraine and Ian McKellan. I love the updating of the setting to 30′s Brittan and Ian McKellan was superb!

    • S

      Definitely agree with you on Branagh’s Hamlet…It is, quite simply, AMAZING.

    • Stagegirl12

      Titus Andronicus in any way is amazing and horrifying.

      • Rosalie David

        I would lean more toward horrifying, I still haven’t recovered from that play…

  • Andy Garcia

    Oh my god, this is a coincidence. I had just realized that She’s The man was a Shakespeare adaption last night!

  • luna97381

    She’s the man definitely saved me on my English final this year ;) hahahaha there was reading comp on Twelfth Night and when everyone was let out we were all so thankful to Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum

  • Noelle Braaten

    Top three are my fave adaptations of Shakespeare!

    LOVE She’s the Man :) “And when I close my eyes, I see you for who you truly are, which is UUUG-LAY”

  • Jimmy Rose

    With all due respect, Danielle, I think your inclusion of “Warm Bodies” and “The Lion King” on this list is a little off, especially when you did not include other true adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, some of which have already been listed in other comments below. The inclusion of similar themes and motifs does not make something an adaptation of other source material. “Star Wars: A New Hope” freely adapts pieces of Kurosawa’s movie “Ran,” but no one calls it an adaptation. On another note, “The Taming of the Shrew” is a frequently produced comedy and is very popular among virtually every Shakespearean festival or troupe in the U.S. This is great idea for an article, and many of your suggestions are good ones to include. I would add to this list:
    “O” (2001) An adaptation of “Othello” starring Josh Hartnett, Julia Stiles, and Mekhi Phipher
    “Prospero’s Books” (1991) An adaptation of “The Tempest” starring Sir. John Gielgud
    “A MIdsummer Night’s Dream” (1999) An adaptation of the play starring Kevin Klein, MIchelle Pfeiffer, and Christian Bale.

    • xoxoKellyLee

      I completely agree with this. I’ve never heard The Lion King being referred to as an adaptation of a Shakespeare play. I really like Shakespeare and O and A Midsummer Night’s Dream should definitely have been added to this list. I haven’t seen Warm Bodies, so I can’t really pass judgement on it, but it is TECHNICALLY an adaptation. In my opinion, West Side Story should have taken the #1 spot.

      • cat

        its a adaptation of Hamlet

    • Rosalie David

      I liked that both of these movies were included. Shakespeare has been the inspiration for many stories and I think it’s important to point out that both Warm Bodies and Lion King had roots in Shakespeare. Obviously A Midsummer Night’s Dream was inspired by Shakespeare. I actually would have liked for this list to be more about movies that were inspired by Shakespeare and not just a movie version of the play. Don’t get me wrong, those movies are great my favorite being Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet, but these other movies that were inspired by Shakespeare are great too.

      • Marine

        A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written by Shakespeare.

        • Rosalie David

          Yes, I never said it wasn’t. I said it was obviously inspired by Shakespeare because it was written by him I just didn’t spell it out. That was my point. You, as in most people, don’t need to state that a MIdsummer Night’s Dream is a work of Shakespeare because (hopefully) we all know that. Whereas Lion King and Warm Bodies aren’t direct copies of the plays, but insired by them.

          • Marine

            Sorry, I didn’t realize you meant the Midsummer Night’s Dream movie, I thought you meant the story!

    • Marine

      I agree! Shakespeare’s plays are all adaptations of other stories as well, so it’s a bit rich to say that The Lion King is adapted from Hamlet, when the themes from Hamlet were there before the play and will remain afterwards. Also, the title of this article is movie adaptations, it should focus on movies that are consciously and outwardly based on Shakespeare’s plays, not similarly themed.

    • Daughter of Eve

      And if Lion King must be included, there should be a mention of the fact that Lion King 2 is inspired by Romeo and Juliet sans the double suicide.

  • Carilyn

    My question is, for everyone who has drawn comparison between The Lion King and Hamlet, why has no one ever done the same for Pocohontas and Romeo and Juliet? We have:

    -two warring groups
    -star crossed lovers, one from each group
    -The wise, Friar Lawrence-like Grandmother Willow
    -The Benvolio-like Thomas, the one who doesn’t like violence
    -The Nurse-like Nakoma, friend and confidant of the female lead
    -The Tybalt-like Kocoum, who even dies in a similar way to Tybalt in that he’s killed by someone from the other group attacking someone from the other group first, and the male lead is punished for his death
    Really, the difference is Pocahontas has a whole lot more spirit and will than Juliet so that she was able to bring about a peace rather than just die for love, there’s more talk about what caused the prejudice between the groups, and they tried to apply a historical angle, which may or may not have been a good idea, YMMV.

    • Stagegirl12

      I think that there is not as much comparison because Pocahontas is loosely based (and I mean VERY loosely) on real people and events while The Lion King is completely fiction.

    • Musician

      Huh. You’re right. I never noticed that…
      Except there’s a sequel, and “Romeo” (John Smith) is traded in for an arguably better model. Which Romeo should have been in Shakespeare’s play.

  • Lee

    No ” The Tempest” either? I loved that film and its cast and art direction.=)

  • lorepottter

    10 things i hate about you….when i got the movie, it was summer, i watch it every day.. i bought the soundtrack, i have the movie in vhs and dvd, sadly i cant found it in bluray

  • popoK

    I would personally switch West Side Story to #1. I have to agree with some of the other comments in that I don’t think you can really add movies like “Warm Bodies” and “Lion King” and not add some of the other more ‘obscure’ adaptions (some of which were far greater than Warm Bodies).

  • Clare

    We were watching The lion king (El Rey Lion) in Spanish class and i was like, Hmmm…The little bird is a bumbling little assistant like Polonius.

    With the uncle and the dead father and the 2 side kicks and the WHASDHADGOISGBT?
    So basically I flipped out.

  • Hayley

    My hand is up: I knew The Lion King was based on Hamlet before reading this … because it’s probably my favourite movie of all time. I’m not ashamed.

  • AMelks


    I’m very happy that The Lion King is #1. For anyone who thinks it’s not a “real” Shakespeare adaptation, I’d like to tell the story of the time I went to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company comedy troupe perform condensed versions of most of Bill’s work. By the end of the night, Hamlet still hadn’t been done. The actors were talking to each other onstage, saying things like, “Well, we hit all the plays! That’s it! We’re done!” followed by, “But wait, we still have the one where a young prince tries to take revenge on his uncle for murdering his father and marrying his mother!” The response to that was, “But that’s the Lion King!” This was about 6 years ago, and I was surprised it had taken me that long to make the connection.



  • theaterboy1

    I love ’10 Things I Hate About You’ and also ‘As You Like It’ directed by Kenneth Branagh!

  • Alysia Dugan

    All of Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespeare adaptations are great. I’m a big fan of his version of Hamlet – it’s a huge spectacle piece, but the actors are amazing.

  • Laura Jurgensmeyer

    As I kept going through the list and not seeing Lion King, I was like no..this is a terrible article without The Lion King. And then there it was. In the spot it deserves. Yay!

    • Laura Jurgensmeyer

      (It wouldn’t have actually been a terrible article with The Lion King missing, by the way. It would just be missing the best one! SO: GREAT ARTICLE! lol)

      • Danielle Zimmerman

        Thank you so much! I’m so glad I was able to surprise you! =]

  • ChocolateClarinet

    Anyone else remember “Get Over It” with Kirsten Dunst, Ben Foster, Shane West and SISQO?! I loved that movie. (based on Midsummer Night’s Dream)

    • Elly

      that’s my favourite!

    • Joanna Boese

      Let’s not forget Mila Kunis. :)

  • Rebecca Fritch

    i read Warm Bodies and i never even caught that. WOW.

  • Rebecca Fritch

    i knew about that but completely forgot! it made me so happy, lol :)

  • J9

    Kenneth Branaugh’s adaptation of Henry V is also amazing. It doesn’t get nearly enough love as it deserves.

  • Amy

    I swear I must be the only one who does not see the similarities between Hamlet and The Lion King, other than that there is a “mad uncle” character who becomes king. I just on’t see it. Please correct me if I’m wrong, because people keep saying this and just – arg! Honestly, I feel it has more in common with Egyptian mythology (there is even a baboon called Rafiki for gods sake)… but I’m just venting now, I shall digress.

    Other than that, brilliant list D

    • Rosalie David

      There are a lot of similarities, think of Simba as Hamlet and Scar as Claudius (only he doesn’t marry Simba’s mom). Scar kills Mufasa in order to be king just like the play. Simba runs away for a while and meets Timon and Pumba much like Hamlet leaves and meets Rosencratz and Guildenstern. Simba is confused as to what to do until his father’s spirit tells him to go home and regain the throne like Hamlet is confused until his father’s ghost comes and tells him to avenge his death. The only similarity I don’t see is Nala as Ophelia, since Simba neither kills her father and Nala doesn’t go insane and drown.
      Hope this helps

      • Musician

        Since they’re part of the same pride, aren’t Simba and Nala also half-siblings? Huh. Maybe there’s a touch of Greek tragedy in there too (not quite Oedipal, but…).

        • Rosalie David

          You could argue that. But I think its a further stretch than Shakespeare

      • Amy

        Ah, thank you! That does make a bit more sense now :) (I still think the link is a little loose, but now I can defiantly see it – maybe I was confused because of the chronology :S)

        Thank you!

        Also, to the person below me in comments – if you consider Scar a protagonist, then it has all the signs of a Greek Tragedy – what with the hubris, peripeteia, strong links between loyalty to family, the state (the pride) and the gods (in this case morality, but the link is still there, given a modern swing)


  • Joanna Boese

    There is a series of TV movies BBC produced called “Shakespeare RETold”, which unsurprisingly has James MacAvoy as Macbeth, with Richard Armitage (“The Hobbit”) as MacDuff and Toby Kebbell (“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”) as Malcom…and it’s set in a high class restaurant. They also include “Much Ado About Nothing” (Set on a local TV morning show with Billie Piper as Hero, whose nuptials are ruined by a stalker), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Fairies wreak havoc at a resort camp, where two mismatched couples try to end up with the right person), and “The Taming of the Shrew” (A hardnosed politician is arranged to marry a man who doesn’t take life too seriously and tries to get her to lighten up…he even shows up at their wedding drunk and in drag!)


  • Musician

    How was Coriolanus, the recent (relatively) movie with Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler? I didn’t see it, but I know it’s a direct adaptation. It’s got 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty good.
    One movie that is very, very good, and related strongly to a Shakespeare play, is Stage Beauty with Billy Crudup and Claire Danes. It isn’t an adaptation; instead, it is a movie about actors in the time of King Charles who are playing the roles in the play Othello. The plot is completely independent from the play, but there are lots of thematic elements that intertwine the two, and the film invites interpretation of the play.

    And it just occurred to me as well that Shakespeare in Love (SiL) is a similar historical fiction piece that, like Stage Beauty, is not specifically an adaptation. What it does is reinvent the Romeo and Juliet story, parts of Twelfth Night, and the sonnets as referring to a love affair that Shakespeare engaged in as an actor and writer with a woman who joined his acting company posing as a man. It completely reinvents and reinterprets the stories, and some scenes are pulled word-for-word from the plays–like the morning scene in Romeo and Juliet in which Romeo must leave Juliet after their wedding night. This particular film is also written by Tom Stoppard, the author of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which is on this list. SiL is at least as inextricable from its source material as Stoppard’s R&G. SiL is also my favorite of all these Shakespeare remixes.

    • http://www.twitter.com/Zimm102090 Danielle Zimmerman

      I have not seen Coriolanus (or, surprisingly, the other films you mentioned) but I will definitely have to add them to my list! As much as I like Shakespeare adaptations, I enjoy the more skewed pieces. Thanks!

  • Angered Theatre Major

    It is OFFENSIVE that Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet is on the list, while Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet is not. Or the Royal Shakespeare Company’s. Anyone who is a genuine Shakespeare fans knows that Hawke’s Hamlet is an utter piece of crap minus the work of Bill Murray and Liev Schreiber. Whereas I agree with a lot of these rankings, this one I cannot. Branagh’s is a masterpiece in every way, and for it to not even rank on this list over that scum of Shakespeare movies is a slap in the face.

    • Chill Please

      Could you please try to be a little more self-important and try to act a little more pompous. We aren’t yet clear if you are a actual a$$ or just play one in movies. Get over yourself. Branagh’s Hamlet is great, but nothing to pop a blood vessel over just because someone didn’t include it on their list. Calm down.

  • Tara C

    I totally get Lion King at number one, but 10 Things I Hate About You all the way down at 7? …what?

  • Nancy Felix

    Am I the only one who didn’t like Baz L’s Romeo and Juliet? I remember being really excited when it came out (I was a big Leo fan and I’m still a fan of Shakespeare) but when I watched it, it really disappointed me. : (

    • TheTardisTalks

      I HATED it. Watched in high school, and couldn’t stand it. Tried again this year, and it was equally horrible. It just destroys so much of the beauty of the work. Keeping the dialouge while modernizing almost everything else just broke all imersion for me.

    • Nina

      I didn’t like it and could barely finish it. For me till this day the best adaptation of Romeo and Juliet is done by Franco Zeffirelli. It is true to the play and the movie is just gorgeous with beautiful music by Nino Rota. Next in line would be West Side Story but I’d say this one is not a true adaptation, it’s rather based on the play’s idea as are many movies on this list.

  • Alice Hermione

    First off I think 10 Things I Hate About You needs to be higher and if we are talking about amazing movie adaptations of Shakespeare you are missing one of the best ones Kenneth Branagh’s version of Hamlet is one of the best ones out there. Yes, it is long but if you are a Hamlet fan totally worth it. Also Disney does not stand by the fact that the Lion King is based off of Hamlet. They call it their own original story, even though it is very similar.

    • 15thC_Odette

      The Lion King is a complete rip off of Kimba the White Lion. The Lion King is Hamlet because a King died and his son is the main character is a stretch.

  • Laura Cain

    Ben Whishaw in Richard III on the BBC was pretty incredible!

  • mr jeeves

    “how many of you knew that The Lion King is technically a Shakespeare movie adaptation before reading this article?”

    “Not many people are aware that this smash hit is a Shakespeare movie adaptation,”

    Maybe I’m being a negative-Norman, but I kind of find some of the writing on this site getting super-patronising…

  • Daughter of Eve

    I absolutely love the play Twelfth Night(or What You Will) and I love She’s the Man because of it and I think the 1996 Trevor Nunn Twelfth Night is simply the best. It’s truer to the play too so High School students can use this version to get to know the play better too.

    It’s got a superb cast including Helena Bonham Carter as Olivia, Ben Kingsley as Feste, Toby Stephens as Duke Orsino, Imelda Staunton as Maria, Richard E. Grant as the bumbling Andrew Aguecheek and the fantastic Nigel Hawthorne as Malvolio.

  • Jessica H-M

    You left out the version of Midsummer Night’s Dream with Kevin Kline and Michelle Pfeifer . . . it was awesome . . .

  • RussellTurner

    um.. TITANIC .. Romeo and Juliet on a ship!

  • ElfMaidenArcherofRivendell

    The only adaptations are 4, 5, 6, 9 & 10… Gee, don’t people realize that many stories have the same themes as Shakespeare? That doesn’t mean they’re adaptations! Who wrote this?!?!?!!?

    How about BBC’S “The Hollow Crown” with Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston.

    Or classics like Sir Laurence Olivier’s and Sir Kenneth Branagh’s adaptations of “Henry V” and “Hamlet”?!?! There’s also Sir Kenneth’s “As You Like It”…

    “ShakespeaRe-Told:Macbeth” with James McAvoy and Richard Armitage is great one, albeit modern.

  • awkwardjenny

    They’re not on here, but Trevor Nunn’s “Twelfth Night” with Ben Kingsley, Imogen Stubbs, and Helena Bonham Carter is the best Shakespearean movie I have ever seen. And probably about a decade ago there was a great Midsummer Night’s Dream made starring Christian Bale, Kevin Kline, Calista Flockhart, and Catwoman herself- Michelle Pfeiffer. If you like your Shakespeare in the original language, these are definitely good ones to check out. There’s also a new version of Romeo and Juliet coming out soon starring Hailey Steinfeld which looks fairly promising! Huzzah!

    • Daughter of Eve

      I absolutely LOVE the Trevor Nunn Twelfth Night, it is by far my favourite ever. And I was pleased with the spin in Richard III and its fabulous cast.

  • bludgershield72

    Major problems with this article:

    1. Excluding Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet
    2. Including Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet
    3. She’s the Man ranked higher than 10 Things I Hate About You.

  • RoslinTullied

    Ooooh Hypable do a top 10 for Jane Austen next! Clueless anyone?!

  • Georgie R

    Have seen a few of these but will definitely check out the others!

  • Kate

    A) I love this article
    B) I did know that the Lion King is an adaption of Hamlet (Lion King II is an adaption of Romeo and Juliet)
    C) I was surprised Shakespeare in Love isn’t on the list (Loosely inspired by Twelfth Night)
    D) I personally think that Taming of the Shrew is one of the most interpreted Shakespeare play (maybe I’m wrong) but Kiss Me Kate, the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton version, Deliver Us from Eva, etc.
    E) I REALLY love this article

  • Jo Garzon

    I love the Hamlet that Kenneth Branagh made in 1996. By far the best adaptation of Hamlet on film.

  • Matthew Treacher

    Where’s polanski’s Macbeth? that has to be one of the best adaptions of Shakespeare on screen and also while we’re on the subject of tragedies Laurence olivier’s portrayal of Richard Iii. Can’t understand why they didn’t make the top ten!

  • Zanya

    How in the name of all that’s unholy is Julie Taymor’s “Titus” (with Anthony Hopkins in the lead role) not on this list?

  • Lex

    10 Things should definitely be higher than She’s the Man, and I say this as someone who’s done academic work on Teen movie adaptations of Shakespeare. For one thing, 10 Things brought us Heath Ledger, one of the great actors of his generation who will be remembered as our James Dean, and She’s the Man gave us . . . Amanda Bynes, hot mess of the week.

  • John-a-dreams

    Hamlet 2000 not Hamlet (1996)? Are you actually serious?

  • Ryan

    why isn’t Shakespeare in love on here?!?!

  • Nina

    It’s a pretty big stretch to call Warm Bodies an adaptation of a shakespeare play… and to not even mention that it’s ACTUALLY an adaptation of a book? The book alludes to romeo and juliet in a few places yes, but the similarities are hardly enough to call it an adaptation.

  • connie

    julia stiles stars in 30% of these movies

  • 15thC_Odette

    No love for Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing? I liked Brannagh’s version but I LOVED the Whedon version. And where was any version of Henry V?

  • 10songsblog

    Well this list misses for me because it doesn’t have Julie Tymor’s astonishing ‘Titus’ (my favorite) or Brannuaghs Hamlet and ‘She’s the man’ suckedn AND tanked as a film. “Ran” should also be on here because it is based in large part on “King Lear”.

  • Welles

    HAHAHAHAHAHA what a terrible list :D

  • Rachel

    I did a project on how the lion king is very similar to the history of Sundiata Kieta and it makes more since than hamlet

  • Eric

    Maybe I’m too pretentious- and if that’s the honest case I’m sorry- but I have never ever seen The Lion King as an adaptation, interpretation, or regurgitation of my beloved Hamlet.

    That said, The Lion King is my third favorite Disney 2D film (behind The Great Mouse Detective and Aladdin). But the ties to Hamlet are tenuous at best!

    First, and absolutely foremost, the king is murdered prior to the start of the story. In The Lion King, Mufasa is killed a good ways in.

    Second, the audience is never actually to be made certain Claudius killed the king; it’s to be left to our imaginations- though of course it’s obvious he killed King Hamlet. In the Lion King, Scar expounds on his murder; fucks sake, we actually see it happen!

    Third, when Hamlet learns his uncle killed his father, he plays it coy; he acts nuts to hopefully hear some gossip. In this particular bit of contrast, Ophelia kills herself while Nala bitchslaps Simba for being a douche.

    Timone and Pumba meet Simba only after his exile in The Lion King. In Hamlet, the prince of Denmark never exiles, His two friends Rosencratnz and Guildenstern, are from childhool. Oh they also die. The cat and the pig live.

    And yes, while Simba does finally confront and defeat Scar to reclaim his kingom, in The Lion King, it’s a happy ending.

    But in Hamlet, everyone dies. Hamlet doesn’t battle Claudius in a tradional way; he fights Leartes for the death of Polonius (oh yeah Simba also didn’t murder Zazu. Kind of a bit plot point.) Hamlet died on Leartes’ poinsned sword, but Leartes died likewise; Hamlet’s mom killed herself, Ophelia is dead, and the rival prince forbrantes is named heir to the throne of Denmark.

    Saying the Lion King, great a film as it was, is an adaptation of Hamlet is saying the moon landing is like that time my mate Kevin dipped a cracker in some cambermet.

    Sure, yeah, most Disney films aren’t carbon copies of their source materials, but if Hamlet was really the source for The Lion King, they didn’t even try.

  • Virgil Kane

    Wow, what an awful hipster-doofus selection. No “Ran” or “Throne of Blood” by Kurosawa, nothing by Welles or Olivier, no Richard III w/Ian McClellen etc. And you have the Lion King at #1. God this is bad.

  • Rose

    I would say I really likes the apartment the french movie based on Midsummer night dream. It’s mystic and romantic.
    But my most favorite would always be The Lion King.

  • ConnorF42

    My favorite is the 1953 Julius Caesar. I would love some new Shakespeare adaptations of every play, with amazing actors, in the same format as Julius Caesar. Use the actual lines as the script and act it out for a movie.

  • Kasih Maria

    I wanna watch all of these movies :D

  • Rosa Augusta Rodriguez

    The Lion King was actually an unauthorized adaptation of the Japanese animated series Kimba The White Lion.

  • sepiae

    None of the above, except for Othello. My recommendations would be [the order not meant as a top 10 list]:
    - King Lear by Peter Brook – outstanding! [Paul Scofield as Lear]
    - Macbeth by Roman Polanski [Jon Finch as Macbeth, Francesca Annis as Lady Macbeth]
    - The Tempest by Derek Jarman [Heathcote Williams as Prospero, Toyah Willcox as Miranda]
    - Richard III by Richard Loncraine [Ian McKellen as Richard]
    - The Tempest by Julie Taymor [Helen Mirren as Prospera]
    - Othello by Orson Welles [O.W. as Othello]
    - Chimes at Midnight (Falstaff) by Orson Welles [O.W. as Falstaff]
    - Coriolanus by Ralph Fiennes [R.F. as Coriolanus]
    - Hamlet (Gamlet) by Grigori Kozintsev
    - King Lear by G. Kozintsev
    - Julius Caesar by Joseph L. Mankiewicz [James Mason as Brutus, Marlon Brando as Mark Antony, John Gielgud as Cassius]
    - Titus by Lulie Taymor [Anthony Hopkins as Titus Andronicus]

  • Becca

    I adore Shakespeare in Love!

  • Kyle

    No Ran? K.

  • Jenn

    Gee, how about Shakespeare in Love? It’s a great reference if you majored in English with an emphasis on the man himself. I love all the little “in jokes” in the movie! Granted it’s not a true “adaptation” but it does involve the writing of Romeo & Juliet.

  • Chris

    Why has no one mentioned the Julie Taymor version of the Tempest? Switching Prospero with Prospera was genius and no one pulls it off like Helen Mirren. Djimon Honsou was phenomenal. They way Taymor did Ariel was incredible and the Russell Brand/ Alfred Molina drunken duo was hilarious. I can imagine no one better suited to the part of a drunken idiot than Russell Brand.

  • Acorp

    Although not a movie, the miniseries “The Hollow Crown” is the best adaptation of Shakespeare I’ve seen in my opinion. If you are into Shakespeare, then I definitely recommend you watch it. Ben Whishaw and Tom Hiddleston give absolutely amazing performaces.

  • danielk

    My favorites are Branagh’s Hamlet, Pacino’s Merchant, Zeffereli’s Romeo, Branagh’s Much Ad0, Hoffman’s Midsummer NIght’s Dream, Bernstein/Sondheim/Robbins’ West Side Story and Book’s Leah.

  • T-Byrd

    There’s an Aussie Macbeth kind of along the lines of Rome + Juliet. Sam Worthnigton is in it and it’s WONDERFUL!

  • http://theodorekaplan.tumblr.com/ Clint

    Private Romeo, starring Seth Numrich and Matt Doyle, is a beautiful LGBT rendition of Shakespeare’s work, as is Were the World Mine, starring Tanner Cohen.

  • Kelly Ann

    Not a single mention of Laurence Olivier?? He’s the original Shakespeare-to-film star.

  • Mur John-Paul

    WTF is wrong with this list? Why is Romeo x Juliet not on it?

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