General Are Shakespeare's Plays Still Relevant?

Published on July 18th, 2018 | by Jelena D

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Shakespearean Films

I love reading the plays, my favorite is Hamlet. Watching the films isn’t bad either. Here is a list of films that were Shakespearean inspired.

As You Like It (1936)

Laurence Olivier and Elisabeth Bergner starred in this Shakespeare comedy. Rosalind (Bergner) and her lover (Olivier) fight the brutal tactics of her Uncle Frederick.

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Laurence Olivier gave one of his finest performances as the tortured Prince of Denmark. It was dark and moody which gave a good setting. The film won four Oscars.

Henry V (1989)

Kenneth Branagh made his directorial debut and he also played the lead. A great adaption, the acting was also very impressive. A grittier version at times than most and it’s worth the watch. Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi and Emma Thompson also starred in this epic film.

Henry V (1944)

Laurence Olivier once again showed his love of Shakespeare in this film about the King Henry V and his trials with France. A colorful battle was a patriotic metaphor for England’s survival in WWII.

Othello (1922)

A silent German Expressionist film about the noble Moor who’s jealously ruins his love all because of the lies from Iago.

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

This is a tale of a modern day Romeo and Juliet. Instead of swords there are guns and the families are business empire rivals which I just say a crime families. It takes place in the 1990s but the cast talks in Shakespearean Bard. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes give a pretty good performance the star crossed lovers.

Romeo and Juliet (1968)

One of my favorite adaptions of the play and it was nominated for four Academy Awards. Olivia Hussey, Leonard Whiting and Michael York starred in this tale of tragedy. I find that the art direction and acting was better than any version. Franco Zeffirelli directed this picture by the way.

Hamlet (2000)

Ethan Hawke starred in this modern day version of Hamlet that takes place in New York. Instead of a battle for a Kingdom it was a battle about the corrupt world. It’s a stylish and sleek film.

Richard III (1956)

Richard III is the third Shakespeare adaptation for Laurence Oliver. Here he plays the wicked, corrupted King Richard III. I personally think that Shakespeare listened to Tudor Propaganda while he created his character anyway it’s not a bad picture though.

Ran (1985)

Ran is Akira Kurosawa’s version of King Lear. Instead of daughters in the original, he changed it to sons. It’s always a must see for fans of Japanese Cinema.

Hamlet (1990)

Yet another film version of this dark Denmark tale this time Mel Gibson starred as Hamlet. Surprisingly he did well as the Prince of Denmark. His mother was played by Glenn Close who gave an excellent performance. Not a bad picture to watch.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935)

A fun film created by German theater director Max Reinhardt. An enchanted film about love, rejection, fairies, and comedy. It starred James Cagney, Dick Powell, Olivia de Havilland, and Mickey Rooney. After you watch all the depressing Hamlets and Romeo and Juliet are you might want to watch this one to laugh again.

Taming of the Shrew (1967)

Another film from Franco Zeffirelli this time it’s a comic look at male-female relationships. What better to star in a film about that than Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor?

Richard III (1995)

The setting is the 1930s, where fascism is eerily there and Ian McKellen is the star. An all star class also starred with him. A picture that you have to watch for its art direction and smart plot. It was nominated for two Oscars.

So that’s just a taste of Shakespearean films out there.

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