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 Macbeth that can help you study and better understand the play.


  • 1948
  • Director: Orson Welles
  • Not rated

A surreal Macbeth, starring the young Orson Welles in the lead role. Shot entirely on a sound stage, and in black-and-white, Welles' version is considered one of the best artistic renderings of the play on film.

A Performance of Macbeth

  • 1979
  • Director: Philip Casson
  • Not Rated

Produced by the Royal Shakespeare Theatre for Thames Television, this film features incredible performances by Ian McKellan and Judy Dench in the lead roles. They shine in this sparse and darkly beautiful Macbeth.

Scotland, Pa.

  • 2001
  • Director: Billy Morrissette
  • Rating: R

A quirky, darkly comic take on the Scottish play. In this version set in the 1970s, Joe and Pat McBeth grow their small hamburger stand into a vast fast food empire through a plot involving murder and mayhem. But vegetarian police detective Norm Duncan thwarts their scheme. It's pretty goofy stuff, but well worth watching, especially if you already know the original Macbeth storyline.