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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1980)

Hamlet suspects his uncle has murdered his father to claim the throne of Denmark and the hand of Hamlet's mother, but the prince cannot decide whether or not he should take vengeance.

Director:

Rodney Bennett

Writer:

William Shakespeare (play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Jacobi ... Hamlet
Claire Bloom ... Gertrude
Patrick Stewart ... Claudius
Eric Porter ... Polonius
Lalla Ward ... Ophelia
David Robb ... Laertes
Patrick Allen ... Ghost of Hamlet's Father
Robert Swann Robert Swann ... Horatio
Jonathan Hyde ... Rosencrantz
Geoffrey Bateman Geoffrey Bateman ... Guildenstern
Emrys James Emrys James ... First Player (King)
Jason Kemp Jason Kemp ... Second Player (Queen)
Geoffrey Beevers Geoffrey Beevers ... Third Player (Lucianus)
Bill Homewood ... Player in the mime, King
Peter Richard Peter Richard ... Player in the mime, Queen
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Storyline

Hamlet comes home from university to find his uncle married to his mother, and his father's ghost haunting the battlements and scaring the watch. Then his father's ghost directs him to seek revenge. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 May 1980 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Hamlet See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lalla Ward was teased by Sir Patrick Stewart because, at the time she made this movie, she was appearing in Doctor Who (1963). Stewart told her he wouldn't be caught dead doing science fiction. Within a few years, however, he appeared in David Lynch's Dune (1984), in Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce (1985), as Captain Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), and as Professor X in the X-Men film franchise. See more »

Alternate Versions

The version shown on PBS omitted the scene in which Hamlet "baits" Polonius ("Do you know me, my lord?" "Excellent well. You are a fishmonger", etc.). It cut straight from Polonius and Claudius considering how to prove that Hamlet is mad to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's greeting Hamlet at the castle. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Best portrayal of Hamlet, bar none
11 April 2001 | by flowergirl1066See all my reviews

This production of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is by far the best that I have seen. Although it may not have the production value of some of the more recent adaptations, it does have the most important element: Sir Derek Jacobi as Hamlet.

Jacobi's portrayal of the disturbed Prince is multi-layered and riveting. His displays of emotion swing from hatred to sorrow, love to vengefulness and everywhere else on the map, but without seeming forced or over-the-top. In fact, some of the more powerful sequences occur when he underplays them, with stillness, soft speech and thoughtful expression. As to whether or not he interprets Hamlet as mad or sane...well, you should decide for yourselves; I changed my mind more than once. At one point it seems he has thought himself sane and merely playing at madness, but suspects that he is actually mad after all...a revelation to himself, captured beautifully. Having performed the part of Hamlet on stage more times than any other actor in history, Jacobi's affinity for the role then comes as little surprise.

As for the production itself, it is presented as a kind of "filmed-copy" of the stage play, with little special effects or fancy camera work, minimal sets and no musical accompaniment to speak of. This production relies on the acting prowess of the cast, and the words of Shakespeare, to evoke the emotion and interest of its audience. And it works. The other players are top-notch as well, particularly Patrick Stewart's "Claudius" and Claire Bloom's "Gertrude." Together the cast present a seamless ensemble.

The last (but far from least) element that makes this production stand out is the play itself. Here it is presented in its entirety, a rarity on film. But, oddly enough, I never noticed the time. I was too busy getting caught up in the story. I suspect that you will, too.


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