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Hamlet (1996)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  25 December 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 29,510 users  
Reviews: 221 user | 83 critic

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



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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Riz Abbasi ...
Attendant to Claudius
David Blair ...
Attendant to Claudius
Michael Bryant ...
Peter Bygott ...
Attendant to Claudius
Charles Daish ...
Stage Manager
Reece Dinsdale ...


Hamlet, son of the king of Denmark, is summoned home for his father's funeral and his mother's wedding to his uncle. In a supernatural episode, he discovers that his uncle, whom he hates anyway, murdered his father. In an incredibly convoluted plot--the most complicated and most interesting in all literature--he manages to (impossible to put this in exact order) feign (or perhaps not to feign) madness, murder the "prime minister," love and then unlove an innocent whom he drives to madness, plot and then unplot against the uncle, direct a play within a play, successfully conspire against the lives of two well-meaning friends, and finally take his revenge on the uncle, but only at the cost of almost every life on stage, including his own and his mother's. Written by John Brosseau <brossj5683@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violent images and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 December 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William Shakespeare's Hamlet  »

Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$148,321 (USA) (27 December 1996)


ITL 1,526,158,000 (Italy) (6 June 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Part of the movie was shot at Blenheim Palace, which is owned by the Duke Of Marlborough. He had a very small role in the movie as Fortinbras' General. See more »


When Hamlet and Polonius are walking down a hallway discussing Hamlet's sanity, in one shot Hamlet is holding a skull mask, and in the next it's gone. See more »


Hamlet: I myself am indifferent honest, yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me.
See more »


Version of Hamlet (1964) See more »


In Pace
Performed by Plácido Domingo
Text researched and adapted by Russell Jackson
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Brilliant version
5 February 2005 | by See all my reviews

I must say that, looking at Hamlet from the perspective of a student, Brannagh's version of Hamlet is by far the best. His dedication to stay true to the original text should be applauded. It helps the play come to life on screen, and makes it easier for people holding the text while watching, as we did while studying it, to follow and analyze the text.

One of the things I have heard criticized many times is the casting of major Hollywood names in the play. I find that this helps viewers recognize the characters easier, as opposed to having actors that all look and sound the same that aid in the confusion normally associated with Shakespeare.

Also, his flashbacks help to clear up many ambiguities in the text. Such as how far the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia really went and why Fortinbras just happened to be at the castle at the end. All in all, not only does this version contain some brilliant performances by actors both familiar and not familiar with Shakespeare. It is presented in a way that one does not have to be an English Literature Ph.D to understand and enjoy it.

74 of 87 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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