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Macbeth (1971)

The Tragedy of Macbeth (original title)
A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writers:

Roman Polanski (screenplay by), William Shakespeare (play) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jon Finch ... Macbeth
Francesca Annis ... Lady Macbeth
Martin Shaw ... Banquo
Terence Bayler ... Macduff
John Stride ... Ross
Nicholas Selby ... Duncan
Stephan Chase ... Malcolm
Paul Shelley Paul Shelley ... Donalbain
Maisie MacFarquhar Maisie MacFarquhar ... First Witch
Elsie Taylor Elsie Taylor ... Second Witch
Noelle Rimmington Noelle Rimmington ... Third Witch
Noel Davis Noel Davis ... Seyton
Sydney Bromley ... Porter
Richard Pearson ... Doctor
Patricia Mason Patricia Mason ... Gentlewoman
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Storyline

Roman Polanski's version of Shakespeare's tragedy about a Scottish lord who murders the king and ascends the throne. His wife then begins hallucinating as a result of her guilt complex and the dead king's son conspires to attack Macbeth and expose him for the murderer he is. Written by Jason Ihle <jrihl@conncoll.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1971 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Macbeth See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | 3 Channel Stereo (magnetic prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Martin Shaw also read for the role of Macbeth. See more »

Goofs

Whenever characters ride their horses, the film foleys in the sound of horse hooves running on cobblestones or some other hard unyielding surface. This sound appears even when it doesn't make sense, like at the start of the film when the horses are running across wet sand on a beach. See more »

Quotes

Three Witches: Fair is foul and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air.
See more »

Connections

Version of Macbeth (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stirring and violent retelling of a classic Shakespeare story
8 February 2006 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

"The Tragedy of Macbeth" (simply abbreviated "Macbeth" on most video covers) is a violent retelling of Shakespeare's classic story. Macbeth (Jon Finch), the Scottish Thane of Glamis, conspires with his wife Lady Macbeth (and three strange witches) to kill the widely-respected King Duncan. After committing the awful deed, Macbeth begins hallucinating, hearing strange omens of death and haunting words; his wife similarly becomes worried with Macbeth's bloodlust, and Duncan's son convinces himself that Macbeth was involved in some way with the killing.

"Macbeth" is a true tragedy, and chances are you already know a great deal about it as it seems to be a high school requirement that it be read by all students. The remarkable thing about Roman Polanski's movie is that it is not only a painfully accurate retelling of William Shakespeare's story, but doesn't flinch when it comes to violence.

According to IMDb's trivia section (and I can't honestly say how reliable this information is, mind you), Polanski included very violent scenes (such as Duncan's death, which is NOT detailed in the original text) because the movie was filmed around the same time period of Sharon Tate's brutal murder, and it was Polanski's way of venting stress and anger. One must imagine what happens to Duncan in this film is what Polanski wanted to do to the Manson family members (and you certainly can't blame him).

As such, knowing the circumstances of what brought about the violence, it is more forgivable and certainly maintains a haunting element - some kind of historical relic, just in knowing that it was filmed during such a terrible time in Polanski's life.

The movie as a whole is wonderful. As I mentioned above, its accuracy (in comparison to Shakespeare's text) is spot-on -- entire scenes of dialogue are taken directly from the source, and even the strong violence lends the film a more realistic nature.

Overall, it's an epic and (sadly) somewhat forgotten Shakespeare epic. If you enjoyed "Hamlet" or "Romeo and Juliet" (the '60s version) you'll certainly find this engaging, and - at times - rather shocking, too.


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