The Best Shakespeare Movie Adaptations

A lot of us encounter Shakespeare in the classroom, going from student to student reading it out loud. It was the most boring part of the entire day for some, and when students didn’t appreciate the masterful storytelling by Shakespeare, they usually got frustrated and uninterested. But you know what wasn’t boring or uninteresting? Seeing a shakespeare play come to life on the big screen. We’re listing some of the best film adaptations from Shakespeare.

1. William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Baz Luhrmann is a director full of bravado and invention. The story is the same, but now takes place in modern day Verona Beach. The families are actually two rival gangs in this colourful adaptation. The characters give their guns the same names as their swords, which was a genius touch.

westsidestory2__1403051747062. West Side Story (1961)

Another Romeo and Juliet adaptation, but this one is a musical. It features two New York rival street gangs, and it quite hilarious at times. All the tunes are exceptionally catchy, and all the dance routines are magnificent;y staged. A must-watch for Shakespeare fans.

3. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

A retelling of The Taming of the Shrew! It didn’t involve Shakespearean language or an overly complicated plot, and remains the best adaptation of the play.

91-lvufbTjL._SL1500_4. Throne of Blood (1957)

An adaptation for Macbeth, Akira Kurosawa takes the Scottish play and brings it to feudal japan. Here is an adaptation that perfectly captures the play’s feeling of doom and torment.

5. Hamlet (1996)

We chose Hamlet from 1996 because it includes every word from the original play. There have been many adaptations, including the version with Mel Gibson, and the Laurence Oliver version which won Best Picture Oscar. However, it is impeccably played by a talented cast, and includes some of the grandest set designs we have seen in a film. It explores not only the physiological depths but also the political depths in the play.


  1. Jessica

    I know it’s not based on a shakespeare play, but I really enjoyed Shakespeare in love. Brilliant.

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