The 10 best movies inspired by Hamlet, according to Rotten Tomatoes

William Shakespeare classics Romeo and Juliet are the best stories to receive the cinematic treatment, but it is the powerful tragedy that is hard to shed light on village. Shakespeare’s specific themes of revenge, love, and betrayal, as well as elegant and passionate dialogue, define Hamlet’s epic story. “To be or not to be” is Hamlet’s iconic line uttered by such esteemed actors as Kenneth Branagh and Laurence Olivier over the years. The lyrics may sound simple, but there is a deep meaning behind them as they convey Hamlet’s inner thoughts as he comes to terms with his father’s death.


Adapting Shakespeare’s tragedy to the screen requires sensitivity, not only to the Renaissance backdrop but to the rhetoric and vernacular that motivate Hamlet in pursuit of his arduous journey. Visual interpretation and study of characters may vary between filmmakers with some opting for a modern approach or an altered framework that enhances supporting characters to central ones. However, the best adaptations according to Rotten Tomatoes manage to capture the true essence of Hamlet’s fearsome and vengeful spirit, backed by standout performances and first-rate production.

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10/10 Village (2000) 58%

Stream on Crackle, Hoopla, Pluto TV

Ethan Hawke as Hamlet

Michael Merida village is one of the more modern take on the iconic play, changing the slow pace and dreary atmosphere. Rather than a period setting, it takes place in the millennium with contemporary fashion, crowded streets, and busy lifestyles.

Related: 10 Surprising Actors You Didn’t Know Were In Shakespeare Movies

Unfortunately, the modern atmosphere has deviated too far from the play’s original feel, making parts of Hamlet’s main narrative seem awkward and mishandled. Al-Merida takes a similar approach to that of Baz Luhrmann Romeo + JulietFusing a modern world with polished prose and language, the performances feel forced and unnatural juxtaposed with a sinister Hamlet by Ethan Hawke that is more withdrawn than melancholic.

9/10 Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead (1990) – 61%

Stream on Roku Channel, Hoopla, Tubi TV, Kanopy, Pluto TV and Freevee

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern look at the fan spinning in a dead Rosencrantz & Guildenstern

Although most adaptations focus on the main hero, Hamlet, some movies love him Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead It gave the side characters time to shine. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are actually two minor characters in the original Hamlet and were once his childhood friends – only for that friendship to be tarnished when Hamlet kills them. Unlike the more serious and melodramatic versions of Hamlet, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead It is, in fact, a tragicomedy that satirizes distressed characters.

Although the film supports the Friends’ primary mission to find out what Hamlet is doing, it ramps up the antics with these characters as they utter subtle jokes to give the play a whimsical atmosphere. While her quirky tone provides fun, her comedic approach to a story about tragic revenge could also be hurtful to many people who know her. village The story by heart. However, Gary Oldman and Tim Roth, who play Hamlet’s titular friends, have a heartwarming chemistry that enlivens the frivolous side characters.

8/10 Ophelia (2019) 62%

Stream on Netflix

Daisy Ridley as Ophelia

look over village Adaptations follow the titular tragic hero, Ophelia The focus shifts to Hamlet’s titular lover. Like a lot village duplicates on screen Ophelia It keeps the basic Hamlet story, but does so from its point of view.

Since most adaptations of Hamlet look at the hero’s quest for revenge, Ophelia She dives deeper into her romance and heartbreak with Hamlet, providing a basis for how their relationship initially blossomed. Although the story gets complicated in its attempts to elevate a minor character, it’s still a refreshing experience that gives the play’s supporting character her own voice. Furthermore, Daisy Ridley elevates Ophelia’s characterization with intelligence, independence, and determination, improving upon the original’s more vulnerable type.

7/10 Hamlet (1990) 76%

Rent on request

Hamlet 1990 poster

Franco Zeffirelli’s Hamlet is more in tune with a more nuanced setting and dialogue than the original play. However, rather than the Renaissance style, it is more medieval.

Related: 10 Shakespeare Movies for Beginners

Compared to other depictions, Mel Gibson portrays a melancholy, erratic, and bitter Hamlet, bringing his characterization closer to the play’s version. The drama and energy deviate slightly from the play’s acting, but they also heighten Hamlet’s subtle and complex portrayals. Unfortunately, the story lacks depth in Hamlet’s revenge journey, seeing as if the overarching narrative becomes an afterthought due to the performance of the cast, especially Gibson, being the lead.

6/10 Haider (2014) 88%

Stream on Netflix

Haider is sad in Haider

Like many of Shakespeare’s greatest stories, Hamlet’s Village has also been adapted for many international markets. Bollywood film is one of the best non-English adaptations of Hamlet, Haider.

Director Vishal Bhardwaj has reintroduced several interpretations of Shakespeare’s stories, such as Omkara (Othello) And the acceptable (Macbeth). And just like his previous adaptations, he manages to visualize Hamlet’s story with depth and subtlety, fitting it into the geopolitics of Kashmir that intensify the overall plot. The tone is also more unsettling and action-packed than most village portrayal, but the illustration is complemented by Shahid Kapoor’s eccentric and sinister yet remorseful act as Haider, which was highly praised for its strength and subtlety.

5/10 The Lion King (1994) – 93%

Stream on Disney+

My companion held a Simba after ceremony at The Lion King

While the live 2019 revamp didn’t live up to expectations, the 1994 original did the king lion It is an animation classic to this day. And while the intended audience for this movie is clearly children, the inspiration behind the story comes straight from Shakespeare villageWhich not many people know. It notably includes Hamlet’s plot lines, such as the rivalry between Uncle and Mufasa and Simba’s revenge for his father.

Of course while the original Hamlet play begins with the death of King Hamlet, the king lion The cute father and son visualization bonding between Mufasa and Simba makes the revenge narrative even more powerful. Even Scar, based on King Claudius, has an in-depth villain arc that makes his motives much clearer than his counterpart’s. However, it’s not too dark for a younger audience as there are some charming and fun moments, particularly in Simba’s friendship with Timon and Pumbaa.

4/10 Hamlet (1996) 95%

Stream on Hoopla

Kenneth Branagh stands and watches a celebration in Hamlet (1996)

Kenneth Branagh is considered an expert in adapting Shakespeare’s works, creating films such as Henry VAnd the Much Ado NothingAnd the Othello. But 1996’s Hamlet is not only one of Branagh’s best films, but also one of the best Shakespearean films ever to hit the big screen.

Combined with intense, sharp performances from the cast and superb production design, Branagh’s masterpiece perfectly encapsulates the essence of Hamlet’s story, reflecting every detail from theatricality to subtlety. Although it has a modern setting in a 19th-century castle, the dialogue and story remain original to the play, with its eerie background and complex dynamics. Furthermore, Branagh shows the depths of Hamlet as a character, feeling confused and conflicted yet vengeful and profound when he repeats soliloquy directly from the text.

3/10 Hamlet (1948) – 95%

Stream on HBO Max and the Criterion Channel

Olivier Lawrence as Hamlet

As the 1948 version is the first to tackle Hamlet, Olivier lays the groundwork for the creative aspects of the film, such as the custom costumes, castle setting, and tone. 1948 village Very revolutionary for its time, it delves into the psychology of Hamlet with Olivier’s interpretation.

Related: The 10 best Romeo and Juliet adaptations, ranked by Rotten Tomatoes

Like many others, Olivier commanded the energy and dynamism of Hamlet, knowing when to exude energy, confidence or intensity on screen. Yet, more importantly, Olivier also conveys important themes and messages from Hamlet, analyzes the consequences of the characters and marshals such a heartbreaking story with rich melodrama and an intriguing character study.

2/10 Hamlet (2009) – 100%

Rent on Prime Video & Vudu

David Tennant as Hamlet

One of the few Shakespeare adaptations ever staged but made for film, 2009 village He saw the titular character played before doctor whoDavid Tennant, who flawlessly portrays a fun yet sharp character.

Unlike some failed modern picks, the 2009 film achieves the rare feat of delivering a contemporary setting without compromising the main story and performances. From Patrick Stewart to Penny Downey, the cast nail a breathtaking and sophisticated performance on stage, demonstrating a dynamic that serves the other well. Of course, Tennant is clearly the star of the show with his powerful energy in the room, as Hamlet exudes anguish and vengeance.

1/10 Hamlet (1964) – 100%

Not available for broadcast

Hamlet holding a skull in 1964's Hamlet

Perhaps the best adaptation of Hamlet to date is the Russian version. Like so many other iterations, the 1964 version stays true to the material, including the castle-like landscapes, Renaissance costumes, and theatrical dynamism.

However, compared to Olivier’s version, the 1964 illustration uses an inherent political climate villageGeneral narrative structure. On top of the subtle and understated performances from the Russian cast, the film’s rewarding moments are the technicalities, as its mastery of the setting intensifies to give the story a dark and eerie aura. Although this version lacks the explosive production design seen in other adaptations and the final acts feel rushed, the Russian version takes a whole new level of illuminating Shakespeare’s work.

MORE: 10 Famous Movie Quotes That Are Actually Shakespearean

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