6.7/10
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96 user 38 critic

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:

Amlet 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

Mel Gibson's only previous Shakespeare experience was playing Juliet in an all male production of "Romeo and Juliet" in Australia. By contrast, Sir Alan Bates (who played Claudius) had played Hamlet in London in 1970 and Paul Scofield (who played the Ghost) had played the part in 1948 and 1955, and is considered one of the greatest twentieth century interpreters of the role. See more »

Goofs

During Ophelia's lament, she reaches out with one arm to anyone who will help. In the next shot, the opposite arm is outstretched. 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 The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Zefferelli Had to Be Cruel to be Kind
19 June 2000 | by tedgSee all my reviews

I have to admit I really like this film. Zefferelli is an unappreciated master: he knows how to stage a crowd (essential to his Romeo and Juliet), and move people; how to frame and light a sequence so it flows. He has a fine sense of color and its movement. Moreover, this Hamlet has the very best set, and also to my mind the best Gertrude.

What he has done is focus on the story. He's chopped and dropped and rearranged to create a story that makes sense. It moves and moves well from beginning to end. But.

But the problem is that Shakespeare's play is not at all about the story. That's just the skeleton on which some life altering metaphoric structure is built. Now all gone. You'll need Branagh for that, but his story doesn't flow effortlessly as this does.

Result: If you want Hamlet, seek him elsewhere. If you want a similar, masterful piece of filmwork, look here. The language is fittingly conversational not stentorian, so that the players can manage it. Just as well.

Ophelia is very pretty, and in her greatly reduced role does well. Her start-double take-astonishment-puzzlement after the play within the play is a moment which will last in your mind. This is an actress to watch.

Trivia: The incidental Osric here is the wonderful Mercutio in Zefferelli's much earlier Romeo and Juliet around whom the whole play revolves. The First Player (incidental in this version) is the excellent Friar in the other (macho thug MTV) Romeo + Juliet around whom that whole version revolves. Curious.


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