The 450 Essential Shakespeare Adaptations

by LaurenceBranagh | created - 11 Jan 2016 | updated - 26 Dec 2016 | Public

(No, I haven't seen them all)

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1. The Taming of the Shrew (1929)

63 min | Comedy, Romance

In sixteenth century Padua, Hortensio loves Bianca, the youngest daughter of Baptista. But Baptista will not allow the two to get married until his eldest daughter, the extremely headstrong... See full summary »

Director: Sam Taylor | Stars: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Edwin Maxwell, Joseph Cawthorn

Votes: 477 | Gross: $1.10M

2. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)

Approved | 133 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Theseus, Duke of Athens, is going to marry Hyppolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Demetrius is engaged with Hermia, but Hermia loves Lysander. Helena loves Demetrius. Oberon and Titania, of the ... See full summary »

Directors: William Dieterle, Max Reinhardt | Stars: James Cagney, Dick Powell, Ian Hunter, Verree Teasdale

Votes: 2,921

3. Romeo and Juliet (1936)

Passed | 125 min | Drama, Romance

Young love is poisoned by a generations long feud between two noble families.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, John Barrymore, Edna May Oliver

Votes: 1,593

4. As You Like It (1936)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Comedy, Romance

A Duke usurps his brother's land and power, banishing him and his entourage into the forest of Arden. The banished Duke's daughter, Rosalind, remains with her cousin Celia. She has fallen ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Czinner | Stars: Elisabeth Bergner, Laurence Olivier, Sophie Stewart, Henry Ainley

Votes: 618

5. Henry V (1944)

Not Rated | 137 min | Biography, Drama, History

In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Robert Newton, Leslie Banks, Felix Aylmer

Votes: 5,320

6. Hamlet (1948)

Not Rated | 154 min | Drama

Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former King.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, John Laurie, Esmond Knight

Votes: 14,113

7. Macbeth (1948)

Passed | 92 min | Drama, History, War

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanette Nolan, Dan O'Herlihy, Roddy McDowall

Votes: 5,825

8. Othello (1951)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, History, Romance

The Moorish General Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his Lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality, it is all part of the scheme of a bitter Ensign named Iago.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Micheál MacLiammóir, Robert Coote, Suzanne Cloutier

Votes: 6,933

9. Julius Caesar (1953)

Not Rated | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar, but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Louis Calhern, Marlon Brando, James Mason, John Gielgud

Votes: 9,607

10. Romeo and Juliet (1954)

Not Rated | 138 min | Drama, Romance

In Shakespeare's classic play, the Montagues and Capulets, two families of Renaissance Italy, have hated each other for years, but the son of one family and the daughter of the other fall desperately in love and secretly marry.

Director: Renato Castellani | Stars: Laurence Harvey, Susan Shentall, Flora Robson, Norman Wooland

Votes: 445

11. Richard III (1955)

Not Rated | 161 min | Biography, Drama, History

Shakespeare's powerful tale of the wicked deformed King and his conquests, both on the battlefield and in the boudoir.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Cedric Hardwicke, Nicholas Hannen, Ralph Richardson

Votes: 3,798

12. Othello (1965)

Unrated | 165 min | Drama

A General's marriage is destroyed when a vengeful Lieutenant convinces him that his new wife has been unfaithful.

Director: Stuart Burge | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Frank Finlay, Robert Lang, Anthony Nicholls

Votes: 1,269

13. Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy, Drama, History

The career of Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff as a roistering companion to young Prince Hal, circa 1400 to 1413.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford, John Gielgud

Votes: 6,970 | Gross: $0.12M

14. The Taming of the Shrew (1967)

Approved | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Brutish, fortune-hunting scoundrel Petruchio (Richard Burton) tames his wealthy, shrewish wife, Katharina (Dame Elizabeth Taylor).

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Cyril Cusack, Michael Hordern

Votes: 6,802 | Gross: $8.00M

15. Romeo and Juliet (1968)

PG | 138 min | Drama, Romance

When two young members of feuding families meet, forbidden love ensues.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Leonard Whiting, Olivia Hussey, John McEnery, Milo O'Shea

Votes: 27,704 | Gross: $38.90M

16. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968)

Not Rated | 124 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

The adventures of four young lovers, a group of amateur actors and their interactions with fairies come to light in a moonlit forest.

Director: Peter Hall | Stars: Derek Godfrey, Barbara Jefford, Nicholas Selby, Hugh Sullivan

Votes: 610

17. Hamlet (1969)

G | 117 min | Drama

Nicol Williamson takes the lead role in this star-studded 1969 version of William Shakespeare's tragedy. Prince Hamlet (Williamson) mourns his father's death and his mother's (Judy ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Richardson | Stars: Nicol Williamson, Judy Parfitt, Anthony Hopkins, Marianne Faithfull

Votes: 674

18. Julius Caesar (1970)

G | 117 min | Drama, History, War

The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar, but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.

Director: Stuart Burge | Stars: Charlton Heston, Jason Robards, John Gielgud, Richard Johnson

Votes: 1,402

19. King Lear (1971)

GP | 137 min | Drama

The Shakespeare tragedy that gave us the expression "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." King Lear has not one but two ungrateful children, and it's ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Brook | Stars: Paul Scofield, Irene Worth, Cyril Cusack, Susan Engel

Votes: 706

20. Macbeth (1971)

R | 140 min | Biography, Drama, History

A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, Martin Shaw, Terence Bayler

Votes: 11,717

21. Antony and Cleopatra (1972)

Not Rated | 160 min | Drama, History

After the murder of her lover Caesar, Egypt's queen Cleopatra needs a new ally. She seduces his probable successor Mark Antony. This develops into real love and slowly leads to a war with the other possible successor: Octavius.

Director: Charlton Heston | Stars: Charlton Heston, Hildegard Neil, Eric Porter, John Castle

Votes: 701

22. The Tempest (1979)

R | 95 min | Drama, Fantasy

Banished to a forsaken island, the Right Duke of Milan and Sorcerer Prospero gets the chance to take his revenge on the King of Naples with the assistance of his airy spirit-servant, Ariel.

Director: Derek Jarman | Stars: Peter Bull, David Meyer, Neil Cunningham, Heathcote Williams

Votes: 895

23. Henry V (1989)

PG-13 | 137 min | Action, Biography, Drama

83 Metascore

In the midst of the Hundred Years War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Simon Shepherd, James Larkin

Votes: 26,823 | Gross: $10.16M

24. Hamlet (1990)

PG | 135 min | Drama

53 Metascore

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans revenge.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield

Votes: 20,325 | Gross: $20.71M

25. Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

PG-13 | 111 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Young lovers Hero and Claudio, soon to wed, conspire to get verbal sparring partners and confirmed singles Benedick and Beatrice to wed as well.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves, Kate Beckinsale

Votes: 42,845 | Gross: $22.55M

26. Richard III (1995)

R | 110 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, War

The classic Shakespearean play about a murderously scheming King staged in an alternative fascist England setting.

Director: Richard Loncraine | Stars: Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Christopher Bowen, Edward Jewesbury

Votes: 13,014 | Gross: $2.60M

27. Othello (1995)

R | 123 min | Drama, Romance

The Moorish General Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his Lieutenant Michael Cassio, when in reality, it is all part of the scheme of a bitter Ensign named Iago.

Director: Oliver Parker | Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Kenneth Branagh, Irène Jacob, Nathaniel Parker

Votes: 8,650 | Gross: $2.11M

28. Twelfth Night or What You Will (1996)

PG | 134 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Shakespeare's comedy of gender confusion, in which a girl disguises herself as a man to be near the count she adores, only to be pursued by the woman he loves.

Director: Trevor Nunn | Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Richard E. Grant, Imogen Stubbs, Steven Mackintosh

Votes: 5,378 | Gross: $0.55M

29. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

PG-13 | 120 min | Drama, Romance

60 Metascore

Shakespeare's famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue.

Director: Baz Luhrmann | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo, Harold Perrineau

Votes: 198,371 | Gross: $46.35M

30. Hamlet (1996)

PG-13 | 242 min | Drama

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his father murdered and his mother remarrying the murderer, his uncle. Meanwhile, war is brewing.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Julie Christie, Derek Jacobi, Kate Winslet

Votes: 34,498 | Gross: $4.41M

31. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)

PG-13 | 116 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

61 Metascore

Lovers' lives are complicated by city law, feuding faerie royalty, and... love.

Director: Michael Hoffman | Stars: Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci

Votes: 23,477 | Gross: $16.07M

32. Titus (1999)

R | 162 min | Drama, History, Thriller

57 Metascore

Titus returns victorious from war, only to plant the seeds of future turmoil for himself and his family.

Director: Julie Taymor | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Osheen Jones, Dario D'Ambrosi

Votes: 19,009 | Gross: $1.92M

33. Hamlet (2000)

R | 112 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

70 Metascore

Modern-day New York City adaptation of Shakespeare's immortal story about Hamlet's plight to avenge his father's murder.

Director: Michael Almereyda | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Kyle MacLachlan, Diane Venora, Sam Shepard

Votes: 8,811 | Gross: $1.57M

34. Love's Labour's Lost (2000)

PG | 93 min | Romance, Comedy, Musical

35 Metascore

An update of the classic Shakespeare story, Director Sir Kenneth Branagh shot this movie like a classic 1930s musical. This movie tells the story of four best friends who swear off love.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Alessandro Nivola, Alicia Silverstone, Natascha McElhone, Kenneth Branagh

Votes: 4,210 | Gross: $0.28M

35. The Merchant of Venice (2004)

R | 131 min | Drama, Romance

63 Metascore

In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.

Director: Michael Radford | Stars: Al Pacino, Joseph Fiennes, Lynn Collins, Jeremy Irons

Votes: 33,369 | Gross: $3.77M

36. As You Like It (2006)

PG | 127 min | Drama, Comedy, Romance

A daughter of the powerful Duke must show her courage and inventiveness to be with the man she loves.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Takuya Shimada, Brian Blessed, Richard Clifford, Bryce Dallas Howard

Votes: 2,889

37. The Tempest (I) (2010)

PG-13 | 110 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

43 Metascore

Shakespeare's epic play is translated from page to screen, with the gender of the main character, Prospero, changed from male to female.

Director: Julie Taymor | Stars: Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Djimon Hounsou, Russell Brand

Votes: 7,149 | Gross: $0.28M

38. Coriolanus (2011)

R | 123 min | Drama, Thriller, War

79 Metascore

A banished hero of Rome allies with a sworn enemy to take his revenge on the city.

Director: Ralph Fiennes | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Brian Cox, Lubna Azabal

Votes: 29,893 | Gross: $0.76M

39. Much Ado About Nothing (I) (2012)

PG-13 | 109 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

78 Metascore

A modern retelling of Shakespeare's classic comedy about two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a way with words.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese

Votes: 15,540 | Gross: $4.33M

40. Romeo & Juliet (II) (2013)

PG-13 | 113 min | Drama, Romance

41 Metascore

Romeo and Juliet secretly wed despite the sworn contempt their families hold for each other. It is not long, however, before a chain of fateful events changes the lives of both families forever.

Director: Carlo Carlei | Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Damian Lewis, Laura Morante

Votes: 10,418 | Gross: $1.16M

41. Cymbeline (2014)

R | 98 min | Drama

54 Metascore

A gritty story of a take-no-prisoners war between dirty cops and an outlaw biker gang. A drug kingpin is driven to desperate measures.

Director: Michael Almereyda | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich, John Leguizamo

Votes: 3,429

42. Macbeth (2015)

R | 113 min | Drama, History, War

71 Metascore

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

Director: Justin Kurzel | Stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jack Madigan, Frank Madigan

Votes: 49,757 | Gross: $1.11M

43. Romeo & Juliet (1978 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 168 min | Drama, Romance

Two teenagers fall in love, but their feuding families and fate itself cause the relationship to end in tragedy.

Director: Alvin Rakoff | Stars: Patrick Ryecart, Rebecca Saire, Celia Johnson, Michael Hordern

Votes: 367

44. Richard II (1978 TV Movie)

158 min | Biography, Drama, History

The incompetent King Richard II is deposed by Henry Bolingbroke and undergoes a crisis of identity once he is no longer King.

Director: David Giles | Stars: Derek Jacobi, John Gielgud, Jon Finch, Wendy Hiller

Votes: 247

45. As You Like It (1978 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 151 min | Comedy

After the overthrowing of Duke Senior by his tyrannical brother, Senior's daughter Rosalind disguises herself as a man and sets out to find her banished father while also counseling her clumsy suitor Orlando in the art of wooing.

Director: Basil Coleman | Stars: Helen Mirren, Brian Stirner, Richard Pasco, Angharad Rees

Votes: 270

46. Julius Caesar (1979 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 161 min | Drama, History

The assassination of the would be ruler of Rome at the hands of Brutus and company has tragic consequences for Brutus and the republic.

Director: Herbert Wise | Stars: Richard Pasco, Charles Gray, Keith Michell, David Collings

Votes: 191

47. Measure for Measure (1979 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 145 min | Drama

7.6