Director Kenneth Branagh returns to Shakespeare following his ground-breaking HENRY V and whimsical production of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. This classic tale tells the story of Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh), the prince of Denmark, a man suffering from grief at the death of his father, the king. His mother (Julie Christie) has quickly married Claudius (Derek Jacobi), Hamlet's uncle, who now reigns as the new king. Late one night Hamlet is visited by his father's ghost, who comes to tell him that Claudius poisoned him in his garden to win the crown, and that Hamlet, as his son, must now avenge his death. The prince's course of action sets the wheels of this great tragedy in motion, as the corruption of the Danish court begins to engulf everyone around it, including, finally, Hamlet himself. Branagh has assembled a stellar cast (including Kate Winslet, Billy Crystal, and Robin Williams) for this titanic enterprise, which presents HAMLET in its four hour entirety. Shot in 70-millimeter film, Branagh's HAMLET takes on the epic sweep associated with the films of Cecil B. DeMille or David Lean. By restoring Shakespeare's tragedy to its full length, Branagh has created a film of striking size and scope.
Tim Harvey - Production Designer
Kenneth Branagh - British Director-Actor
David Barron - Producer
Jack Lemmon - American Actor, SOME LIKE IT HOT
John Uhler Lemmon III - American Actor, SOME LIKE IT HOT
Rosemary Harris - British actress, SPIDER-MAN (2001)
Derek Jacobi - Shakespearian actor best known for "I, Claudius"
Sir Derek Jacobi - Shakespearian actor best known for "I, Claudius"
Robin Williams - American actor/comedian
Ray D. Tutto - American actor/comedian
Marty Fromage - American actor/comedian
Julie Christie - British actress, DR. ZHIVAGO, HEAVEN CAN WAIT
Billy Crystal - American actor/director, CITY SLICKERS (1991)
Charlton Heston - Oscar-winning American actor, BEN HUR (1959)
Charles Carter - Oscar-winning American actor, BEN HUR (1959)
Charlton Easton - Oscar-winning American actor, BEN HUR (1959)
Neil Farrell - Editor
Alex Thomson - Director Of Photography, EXCALIBUR (1981)
William Shakespeare - Sixteenth century English playwright/poet
John Gielgud - British Actor/Author, ARTHUR (1981)
Sir John Gielgud - British Actor/Author, ARTHUR (1981)
Arthur John Gielgud - British Actor/Author, ARTHUR (1981)
Kate Winslet - Osca-winning British actress, THE READER, TITANIC (1997), ET
HAMLET is director Kenneth Branagh's full-text adaptation of Shakespeare's timeless tragedy. After his father's death, Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh), the prince of Denmark, must avenge him, while the kingdom crumbles in dissent. A grand production in keeping with the Bard's original masterpiece, the film features a diverse international cast within a visually stunning framework.
Limited theatrical release: December 25, 1996. Wide theatrical release: January 24, 1997. Shot at Shepperton Studios, England, and on location at Blenheim Palace. Derek Jacobi (Claudius) had previously played the role of Hamlet in a BBC production of the play. He also played another character named Claudius in the epic I, CLAUDIUS. Other filmed versions of HAMLET include the 1990 version (directed by Franco Zeffirelli and starring Mel Gibson) and the 2000 version (directed by Michael Almereyda and starring Ethan Hawke).
"...A full-bodied, clear-headed, resplendently staged rendition of HAMLET that rewards the time required to experience it..." - 12/09/1996 Variety
"...It's like an Elizabethan version of THE SHINING....Kate Winslet does marvelous work..." - 01/24/1997 Entertainment Weekly, p.35-6
"...Handsome and compelling....Branagh brings the Bard's greatest tragedy passionately alive on screen....He has done it with remarkable clarity and meaning..." - 12/25/1996 Los Angeles Times, p.F20
"...We enjoy Branagh's visual showmanship: In all of his films, he reveals his joy in theatrical gestures....Kate Winslet is touchingly vulnerable..." - 01/24/1997 Chicago Sun-Times, p.31
3 stars out of 5 -- "The fencing finale is still a stunner..." - 10/01/2007 Total Film, p.136
"[A]n absolute delight for Shakespearian loyalists....Branagh uses the entire play..." - 08/17/2010 Premiere