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3.3 15
Director: Franco Zeffirelli

Cast: Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates


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Franco Zeffirelli directs his third Shakespeare adaptation (after Romeo and Juliet and Otello) with this film version of the tragedy Hamlet. The titular prince of Denmark (Mel Gibson), returns home to his family's castle of Elsinore after years of attending school in Germany to find out his father has died and his uncle Claudius (Alan Bates) is


Franco Zeffirelli directs his third Shakespeare adaptation (after Romeo and Juliet and Otello) with this film version of the tragedy Hamlet. The titular prince of Denmark (Mel Gibson), returns home to his family's castle of Elsinore after years of attending school in Germany to find out his father has died and his uncle Claudius (Alan Bates) is the new king. To make matters worse, Claudius has married Hamlet's mother, Queen Gertrude (Glenn Close), whom he has unusually strong feelings for. Hamlet is visited by his father's ghost (Paul Scofield), who asks him to seek revenge for his murder. In order to find out who the real killer is, Hamlet stages a theatrical scene resembling his father's death. Claudius is upset by the production and leaves to arrange for Hamlet's murder. In the ensuing confusion, Hamlet accidentally kills Polonious (Ian Holm) instead of Claudius; Hamlet's lover, Ophelia (Helena Bonham Carter), goes mad and commits suicide; and eventually Hamlet and Claudius both meet their fate.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Frequent Shakespeare interpreter Franco Zeffirelli gives Hamlet a go with this gritty and unglamorous version, starring Hollywood actors like Mel Gibson and Glenn Close. Gibson may have struck some viewers as quite the wrong choice, destined to be overmatched, but he displays surprising subtlety and range, not to mention wearing the cropped hair and scraggly beard to good effect. The actor's playful flickers of madness (his calling card in the Lethal Weapon movies) translate quite well to the scenes in which Hamlet gleefully toys with those he's trying to confuse. Close and Helena Bonham Carter are effective in the smaller roles of his female tormentors, with Carter offering a particularly touching breakdown scene. Ian Holm is also a scatterbrained standout as Polonius. As he has done in his other adaptations of the Bard, Zeffirelli (the first to filmmaker to cast actual teenagers as Romeo and Juliet in 1968) aims for accuracy in his production design, forgoing the anachronisms some directors use to amplify themes. Hence, the dank Danish castle feels like the genuine article, purposely lacking in grandeur. But the director continues to betray Shakespeare in familiar ways, too; not only does he truncate the text, but he even commits the cardinal sin of blending several scenes, which is usually avoided. It's decisions like this that rob the film of some depth and emotional resonance, not to mention scholarly respect. In fact, this Hamlet was likely an important motivator for Kenneth Branagh in his decision to film an elaborately unabridged, four-hour version of the play six years later.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
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 Guildenstern
Michael Maloney Rosencrantz
Trevor Peacock The Gravedigger
John McEnery Osric
Richard Warwick Bernardo
Christien Anholt Marcellus
Dave Duffy Francisco
Vernon Dobtcheff Reynaldo
Pete Postlethwaite Player King
Christopher Fairbank Player Queen
Joyce Nettles Actor
Sarah Phillips Player
Ned Mendez Player
Roy York Player
Marjorie Bell The Player
Justin Case The Player
Roger Low Player
Pamela Sinclair Player
Roy Evans Player

Technical Credits
Franco Zeffirelli Director,Screenwriter
Vincenzo Cerami Art Director
Bruce Davey Producer
Christopher de Vore Screenwriter
Dante Ferretti Production Designer
Michael Lamont Art Director
Dyson Lovell Producer
Richard Marden Editor
Maurizio Millenotti Costumes/Costume Designer
James Morahan Art Director
Ennio Morricone Score Composer
Francesca Lo Schiavo Set Decoration/Design
Alan Tomkins Art Director
David Watkin Cinematographer


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Hamlet 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this version of Hamlet, it has just the right elements to help those who don't read a lot of Shakespeare (like some people in my family) to appreciate the bard. The entire movie is well cast and Franco Zeffirelli again delivers a Shakespeare movie, the kind of which has not been seen since his Romeo and Juliet.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best version of Hamlet. Mel Gibson proves he is more than an action hero with this performance...a must see!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is really an unforgettable Hamlet! It draws you in and even in Shakespearian language makes it easy to understand. Some very funny moments interact in crucial and significant scenes. Mel Gibson and Glenn Close were outstanding. Actually, the whole cast was. I highly recommend this movie. You will watch it over and over again. The whole family will enjoy this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this version of Hamlet! After waiting 14 years to have a copy, I'm so excited that it's finally being released on DVD. Mel Gibson is wonderful - his handling of the dialogue is never forced or overly dramatic, as many actors seem to have a problem with when performing Shakespeare's plays. Glenn Close and Helena Bonham Carter also give much more depth to their characters than one normally finds when reading the play; the combined performances make this version a very strong, human, and emotional one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hamlet in its original is excessively long and verbose. While the soliloquies are classic, the rest is a ponderous mess. This interpretation thankfully removes most of Shakespeare's detritus from the original play, keeping the best of his writing, the best of the characters, and the best of the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is an excellent portrayal of Shakespeare's book Hamlet. Mel Gibson and others performance is amazing. The only problem that I had was the old English vocabulary, but is more comprehendable in the movie than the book. I reccomend this movie before you read the book. It clears up some misconseptions. by the way...mel is very cute in this movie and really looks like he is 20ish :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is true that the movie does exclude a lot of what is in the original play. However, it was appropriate for the audience of this day and age. The storyline was kept and there were no drastic changes. The modifications only made the movie more entertaining. The acting was suberb and very believable. Mel Gibson's delivery of the famous 'To be or not to be' monologue was marvelous. I feel this movie deserves a lot of credit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though many point out this movie was not entirely true in form to the original, I still found it to be a very entertaining and enjoyable film. Mel Gibson gives a very convincing performance which draws you into the character of Hamlet and his dialemmas. I would suggest it to anyone who wouldn't be offended by liberties taken which aren't completely true to the original play.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was horrible it skiped through half the play and was so americanized that it lacked any signifigant beauty whatsoever
Guest More than 1 year ago
In pre release interviewes, Glenn Close states: 'Gertrude must have been a very strong woman... and I wanted to play her that way'. Enough said.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is a sad disappointment. It is unfortunate that no one ever taught Mel Gibson how to act,(instead of just standing around and looking pretty). It is very evident that HE DOESN'T HAVE A CLUE WHAT HE IS SAYING! He spouts all the lines with the same voice and the same face, it is almost laughable. Everything that Hamlet said had a meaning, he wasn't just talking to hear himself! Also, the whole Oedipus thing with Glenn Close was weird and misplaced; a little too Freudian for me. If you want to see a quality version see the Kenneth Branagh one, it is longer, but MUCH better. The only redeeming value this movie has is Helena Bonham Carter's performance as Ophelia. She is a wonderful actress and made the best of being in a movie with those less talented than she is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This play's really NOT the thing to catch the conscience of the king... And what happened to Ophelia? This American Dane does not have the power of the Bard...