Study Help Film Versions

Adaptations of Shakespeare's plays and other works have been featured in nearly 500 films and/or videos world-wide. That makes Shakespeare the most filmed playwright of all time! Here are the best, and most noteworthy, versions of Hamlet that can help you study and better understand the play.



Produced and Directed by: Laurence Olivier

Not Rated

This early film version won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor awards for Laurence Olivier in the title role.



Director: Franco Zeffirelli

Not Rated

The director takes some license in the telling, adhering less strictly to Shakespeare's original text, but at just 2 hours and 15 minutes, this version provides a short and passionate interpretation of the play.

William Shakespeare's Hamlet


Director: Kenneth Branagh

Rated: PG-13

In this 4+ hour rendering, Kenneth Branagh presents the complete Shakespearean text of the play, and stages the action within a 19th-century setting. This is arguably the definitive film version of Hamlet.



Director: Michael Almereyda

Not Rated

This is Hamlet for the 21st century. In this high-tech contemporary telling, Ethan Hawke stars as the young brooding heir to the Denmark Corporation, out to avenge the murder of his powerful CEO father.

Pop Quiz!

Approximately how much time has passed between the death of King Hamlet and the remarriage of Gertrude to Claudius?


How did Hawthorne show that Hester Prynne was a strong woman in The Scarlet Letter?