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FutureMemory's avatar

Do you have a favorite film version of a Shakespeare play?

Asked by FutureMemory (23801 points ) May 28th, 2012

I kinda liked the Dicaprio/Danes version of Romeo and Juliet. The soundtrack was awesome, too.

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18 Answers

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

I don’t know that I have a favorite, but Kenneth Branagh’s adaptations of Shakespeare’s works are among the best on film. I also like the 1953 version of Julius Caesar; you can’t go wrong with Gielgud and Shakespeare.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Either David Tennant as Hamlet, or Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V. And then, also, like 20 more.

Danes/DiCaprio? Really? Really? Really?

FutureMemory's avatar

@Aethelflaed It’s all about the soundtrack!!!

ucme's avatar

Not as such, but this is a fine horror movie, for it’s time, which revolves around the bard’s work.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

If we’re going to start talking about soundtracks, and if we interpret “version” to include adaptations as well as verbatim interpretations of Shakespeare on film, then I cast my vote for West Side Story. Definitely a better soundtrack than Luhrmann’s take on Romeo and Juliet.

Sunny2's avatar

The movie of Julius Caesar. I saw it both in black and white and then, in color. It was the first time I was aware of the fact that textures are much more obvious in black and white. You could see the texture of the toga fabric. In color, you could see color, but textures faded. One wasn’t better than the other; it was just different. I thought it was a good version of the play, either way.

SuperMouse's avatar

If it doesn’t have to be an actual version of the play I pick either West Side Story (based on Romeo and Juliet) or My Own Private Idaho (based on Henry IV).

elbanditoroso's avatar

Zefferelli’s version of Romeo and Juliet. Juliet had great long black hair.

Branagh’s version of Much Ado About Nothing

filmfann's avatar

I enjoyed Mel Gibson’s version of Hamlet, and Akira Kirosawa’s “Throne of Blood”, which is a samurai movie based on Macbeth.

marinelife's avatar

A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci, Calista Flockhart and a great rest of cast too.

Also, if you liked Romeo and Juliet, you should see the Zefferelli version. Visually gorgeous.

Trillian's avatar

I loved Much ado about nothing with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. (Apologies to Mr B if I spelled his name incorrectly)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I also quite like the DiCaprio/Danes version of Romeo and Juliet. I have to say many of the performances were inspiring.

I love Richard III with Sir Ian McKellen.

It has been much maligned by critics, but I also love Brannagh’s Hamlet.

MilkyWay's avatar

I quite like the 2004 version of The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino.

wildpotato's avatar

Throne of Blood is my favorite Shakespeare film and my favorite Kurosawa. Toshiro Mifune is so good! The MacBeth story lends itself well to a setting in feudal Japan.

Julie Taymor’s Titus is incredible, and I think it might be Anthony Hopkins’ greatest performance.

linguaphile's avatar

Pick??!! I have to pick…... woe is me…

I love Branagh and Thompson’s “Much Ado about Nothing.” I could watch it over and over and never be bored.

For Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo+Juliet (Danes/DiCaprio)— I love Mercutio’s performance—the actor who portrayed Mercutio was exemplary—more interesting, funny, conflicted and messed up than any of the other Mercutio performances I’ve seen. I, however, preferred Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting’s performance over Danes and DiCaprio’s.

I liked Patrick Stewart’s monologues and delivery in his verision of Macbeth—but it was transferred from stage to screen—it’s not directed for screen, so the movie itself… not so much.

Blueroses's avatar

At the risk of sounding like a theatre snob, I’d venture that even a mediocre live performance tops any budgeted film. (Just saw Hamlet in the park last night). There’s something about the cast having to meet unexpected challenges and deal with them in front of an audience that electrifies the performance and makes it more personal.

Having to choose a film…. I’d say Midsummer Night’s Dream with Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania was gorgeous.
I also loved an old TV production of Comedy of Errors with Roger Daltrey (that Roger Daltrey? Yes!) as the twin Dromios.

edit: How could I forget my favorite “based on” films? The Cutting Edge and 10 Things I Hate About You (both, Taming of the Shrew)

Blueroses's avatar

Damn! Too late for edit. I also forgot my ultimate favorite Shakespeare film (based on), Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. Cleverness overload!

Earthgirl's avatar

I have to pick Franco Zefferelli’s version of Romeo and Juliet. I can pictue scenes from this move years later. They have become part of me. A close second is Much Ado about Nothing with Branaugh and Thompson.

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