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Buy Shakespeare Films Online

Updated on November 2, 2013

Looking for a modern way to appreciate Shakespeare's plays? You've come to the right place. Below you'll find an expansive list of Shakespeare movies for sale online.

Willliam Shakespeare... we all study his plays in high school. Stumbling along the antiquated words and intricate plots, we are given a feast of beautiful words and are only able to swallow a mouthful. Over time, we (hopefully) grow to appreciate and love the poetry of the Bard of Avon. The work of Shakespeare has been the foundation of so much of English literature for hundreds of years. But back in those Elizabethan days, the plays of Shakespeare were performed live on the stage. Even today, these plays are often performed, but alas, love of the stage has greatly diminished with the advent of the moving picture... the movie. This new art form has opened up a new opportunity of enjoying Shakespeare in the comfort of our own homes. There have been a multitude of Shakespeare movies over the last century. Check out this list of the ones I've seen, and put on one of these great DVDs to really enjoy the beauty of Shakespeare.

Romeo and Juliet (1968)

Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays. It tells the tragic story of two young lovers who struggle to be together despite their feuding families. The 1968 movie version is classic to Shakespeare lovers. The lead roles were given to Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, both teenagers at the time, making the movie more like the original play. The music is also of note, containing beautiful melodies composed by Nino Rota. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards and won two.

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

The 1996 movie version of Romeo and Juliet is made from a very original standpoint, although the original text is still intact. Old Verona is turned into Verona Beach; swords are turned into guns. This movie was an effort to bring an old story back to life in a modern film that appeals to youth. Although I believe this version crossed some bounds in interpreting the story, yet I appreciate the originality of it. This version stars Leonardo DiCaprio (the year before he made Titanic) and Claire Danes. 

Hamlet (1948)

A list of Shakespeare movies wouldn't be complete without mention of Sir Laurence Olivier's portrayal of Hamlet. With Jean Simmons as Ophelia by his side, Olivier played one of his most memorable roles. Olivier also directed this Shakespeare movie, which won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor.

Hamlet (1990)

The 1990 film version of Hamlet cast as lead actor Mel Gibson, a surprising choice considering that Gibson isn't quite known for Shakespearean play acting. However, he pulls off an all-right version of the slightly insane hero. The best part of this movie, in my opinion, is Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Ophelia. Glenn Close and Ian Holm also star in this version.

Hamlet (1996)

Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet is by far my favorite version. In fact, it is my favorite Shakespeare movie of all time. Kenneth Branagh, director, is superb as Hamlet blowing every other performance that I have seen out of the water. He is joined by a stellar cast, including Kate Winslet (whose Ophelia is utterly convincing), Julie Christie (who is perfect as Queen Gertrude), Derek Jacobi (whose little eyes shine forth King Claudius's inner wickedness), and many more. The complete text of the original play is spoken, making this an epic film. The sets, costumes, and acting all combine to make a beautiful movie experience. The music is outstanding as well, composed by the very talented Patrick Doyle.

Henry V (1989)

Henry V is another film by Kenneth Branagh, the Shakespearean voice of our time. Here, Branagh directs as well as acts in the leading role. The storyline is harder to follow than, say, Romeo and Juliet as it is based on historical battles. The acting does not suffer however. The cast is almost completely male, with a short presence by Emma Thompson. Henry V is well loved, if only for its very famous "St. Crispin's Day Speech."

Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Much Ado About Nothing is a Shakespearean comedy that details the often funny, sometimes tragic ups and downs of several romances. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars as Benedick. Emma Thompson plays his opposite in Beatrice. Other notable actors include Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Kate Beckinsale, and Robert Sean Leonard. The music (by Patrick Doyle) is fun and uplifting. 

As You Like It (2006)

As You Like It (need I mention Branagh again?) is a beautiful new version of the play. Kenneth Branagh directed this highly imaginative film which is set in old Japan, where English traders used to reside. The text and plot remain intact however, and somehow the unique setting seems to add to the story. 

Julius Caesar (1953)

This 1953 movie is a classic. Marlon Brando steals the show playing Mark Antony. Louis Calhern (as Julius Caesar) and Deborah Kerr (as Portia) also star. Julius Caesar is often quoted: "Et tu, Brute?" The fatal last days of Caesar are immortalized in this Shakespeare movie.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)

A Midsummer Night's Dream is beautiful story for a long and sultry summer's evening. It tells the tale of love and lovers who become horribly confused with the help of mischievous fairies. This movie version is told with the extra dimension of a late-1800s setting. Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci, Christian Bale, and more provide a well-rounded cast. Italian opera music throughout provides a gorgeous soundtrack.


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    • Rose West profile image

      Rose West 7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Kuranes, I should definitely check those ones out!

    • profile image

      Kuranes 7 years ago

      Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor did a film of Taming of the Shrew (sorry, don't know the year). Also, back in the 1980s, BBC did ALL of the Shakespeare plays, including obscure ones that nobody sees, like "Cymbeline." Check them out. They tend to be veddy shakespahearean in diction, and quality varies, but some are quite good.

    • Rose West profile image

      Rose West 7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for coming by, Mandie! Of course, can't forget Judi Dench :)

    • profile image

      Mandie 7 years ago

      Great hub! May is all about Shakespeare to me. Another one of the highlights for me is Dame Judi Dench in Henry V.

    • Rose West profile image

      Rose West 7 years ago from Michigan

      Hi Jane, I've never seen a movie of the Taming of the Shrew (except for Kiss Me Kate, and that does not count)... I'll have to try to find that sometime!

    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 7 years ago from Oregon

      Sounds like I need to start finding some of these! I recently saw a BBC version of Taming of the Shrew, which was really well done and emphasized the truly Biblical roles of man and wife. I was surprised when the feast at the end included a beautiful choral arrangement of Psalm 148 sung by the actors and actresses.

      This is a great list, and I know I'll be coming back to reference it!


    • Rose West profile image

      Rose West 7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks, Quill, for coming by!

    • profile image

      "Quill" 7 years ago

      Great Hub and one needs to love the true meanings of the great writing.