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Hamlet (1990)

PG | | Drama | 18 January 1991 (USA)
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans revenge.

Director:

Franco Zeffirelli

Writers:

William Shakespeare (play), Christopher De Vore (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Gibson ... Hamlet
Glenn Close ... Gertrude
Alan Bates ... Claudius
Paul Scofield ... The Ghost
Ian Holm ... Polonius
Helena Bonham Carter ... Ophelia
Stephen Dillane ... Horatio
Nathaniel Parker ... Laertes
Sean Murray Sean Murray ... Guildenstern
Michael Maloney ... Rosencrantz
Trevor Peacock ... The Gravedigger
John McEnery ... Osric
Richard Warwick ... Bernardo
Christien Anholt ... Marcellus
Dave Duffy ... Francisco
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Storyline

Hamlet returns to Denmark when his father, the King, dies. His mother Gertrude has already married Hamlet's uncle Claudius, the new King. They urge Hamlet to marry his beloved Ophelia. But soon the ghost of Hamlet's father appears and tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius and Gertrude. Hamlet must choose between passive acquiescence and the need for a vengeance which might lead to tragedy. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The extraordinary adaptation of Shakespeare's classic tale of vengeance and tragedy.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 January 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hamlet See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$116,975, 25 December 1990

Gross USA:

$20,710,451

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,710,451
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

About Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be" monologue, many critics have complained for decades about the line: "Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, end them?" The complaint is that Hamlet is mixing metaphors: Fortune (Fate) does not actually shoot arrows at people, and you can't use your swords against the sea. The assumption seems to be that Shakespeare was too tired, or too lazy, to fit metaphorical causes with metaphorical effects. Shakespeare (and therefore Hamlet) were too smart to be that sloppy in their speech. Hamlet is complaining that these forces (fate and the ocean) are precisely too abstract, too formless, too monstrous, and too inhuman for a human to use weapons against - arrows against a vague idea such as Fortune, or swords and knives against an ocean. You can't fight on those levels. Hamlet was grieving, but he was never stupid. See more »

Goofs

During the "confrontation" between Hamlet and Ophelia, the shadow of a camera can be seen on the floor behind Ophelia as Hamlet begins to circle her.. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Claudius: Hamlet! Think of us as of a father. For let the world take note: you are the most immediate to our throne. And with no less nobility of love than that which dearest father bears his son do I impart toward you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

One American print, which as of January 2016 appears on Paramount's Vault Channel on YouTube, features no credits overlaid during the first two minutes of the film as seen on most prints (aside from the title) and the same goes for the end titles, which leaves only a black screen with music, followed by the Paramount logo. It is unknown how or why there are essentially no credits at all on this print; it is most likely an accident that the distributor was unaware of. See more »

Connections

Version of Hamlet (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Not as good as Branagh's, but still enjoyable
29 June 2000 | by Spanner-9See all my reviews

Mel Gibson and Franco Zeffirelli's adaptation of Hamlet has filled some of the gaps left by Shakespeare. This version of the classic story is thoroughly watchable. Gibson is perfect as Hamlet the Prince of Denmark, and he is well supported by Glenn Close (Gertrude), Alan Bates (Claudius), Ian Holm (Polonius) and Helena Bonham Carter (Ophelia). However, after already seeing Kenneth Branagh's 4-hour long version, I was left a little let down. Although this version was only 2 hours 20 minutes approximately, it was more boring in parts than Branagh's was. And no one can beat Kate Winslet as Ophelia, though Bonham Carter performed the lunatic scenes extremely well.

The acting, as is aboveforementioned, is the highlight of this version. You can see the emotions boiling over on Gibson's face, and Close gives Gertrude's nature a remarkable realism as both a worried mother and a lustful lover. Bates is the best Claudius I have ever seen, and Holm displays in Polonius what makes him such a great actor.

This Hamlet has an extremely good set design that complements the mood of each scene perfectly. The castle has a great look to it, both inside and outside.

The costumes, particularly those worn by Close, are excellent. They really highlight the mood and temprament of her character perfectly. On top of this, all of the costumes worn by the players (actors in Hamlet's play) in colour and shape symbolise the message that Hamlet was trying to get across.

Technically, this film is very well put together. The shots are each able to complement the action in that shot. Sound effects, especially in the ghost apparitions, as well as the lighting and juxtapositioning, set the moody feel of the film.

Of course, one cannot escape comparing this to Branagh's masterpiece, though in its own right is is a great version of Shakespeare's play that, through its star power and easier-to-follow storyline, should attract the younger audiences that saw Baz Lurmann's 'Romeo + Juliet', '10 Things I Hate About You' and will possibly see the upcoming 'O'. ***1/2 out of *****.


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