Hamlet (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes


Hamlet (1996)



Critic Consensus: Kenneth Branagh's sprawling, finely textured adaptation of Shakespeare's masterpiece lives up to its source material, using strong performances and a sharp cinematic focus to create a powerfully resonant film that wastes none of its 246 minutes.

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Movie Info

Kenneth Branagh ("Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," "The Road to El Dorado") writes, directs and stars in this four-time Oscar-nominated classic Shakespeare saga about the melancholy Dane. With an all-star cast, including Oscar-nominee Kate Winslet ("Iris," "Titanic") and Oscar-winner Julie Christie ("Dragonheart," "Dr. Zhivago"), as well as appearances by Charlton Heston, John Gielgud, Jack Lemmon, Gerard Depardieu, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and many others. Branagh received an Oscar nomination for his outstanding screenplay. The Hollywood Reporter says "Branagh has boldly invigorated William Shakespeare's most celebrated play to a towering visual dimension that captures the tumultuous tragedy as no stage or filmic version has... Multiple Oscar nominations seem in order."

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Billy Crystal
as First Gravedigger
Charlton Heston
as Player King
Derek Jacobi
as Claudius
Jack Lemmon
as Marcellus
Rufus Sewell
as Fortinbras
Kate Winslet
as Ophelia
Richard Attenborough
as English Ambassador
Judi Dench
as Hecuba
Timothy Spall
as Rosencrantz
Ken Dodd
as Yorick
Ray Fearon
as Francisco
Rosemary Harris
as Player Queen
John Mills
as Old Norway
Simon Russell Beale
as Second Gravedigger
Thomas Szekeres
as Young Hamlet
Ben Thom
as Player 1
Perdita Weeks
as Player 2
Riz Abassi
as Attendant to Claudius
David Blair
as Attendant to Claudius/Servant
Peter Bygott
as Attendant to Claudius
Charles Daish
as Stage Manager
Angela Douglas
as Attendant to Gertrude
Rob Edwards
as Lucianus
Jimmy Ellis
as Old Fortinbras
Jeffrey Kissoon
as Fortinbras' Captain
Sarah Lam
as Attendant to Gertrude
Jimi Mistry
as Sailor 2
Sian Radinger
as Prologue
Melanie Ramsey
as Prostitute
Don Warrington
as Valtemand
Reece Dinsdale
as Guildenstern
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News & Interviews for Hamlet

Critic Reviews for Hamlet

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (13)

There are many ... instances when you want to run screaming from Elsinore Castle.

September 25, 2002 | Full Review…

With his handsome and compelling Hamlet, Kenneth Branagh brings the Bard's greatest tragedy passionately alive on the screen.

August 15, 2002 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

This Hamlet may not be perfect, but it is perfectly engrossing.

April 12, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A vigorous, four-hour adaptation that's 100 percent Shakespeare and 100 percent cinema.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in a vibrant, full-text, full-hearted film from Shakespeare's most complex tragedy.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4

Branagh's version moved me, entertained me and made me feel for the first time at home in that doomed royal court.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hamlet


Just as a cinematic experience, this film is unparalledled. It takes the story and puts it in a different era, but for the most part keeps the rest of things intact. This is a grand, long, sweeping epic that reaqlly does justice to the Bard and this, his most famous/popular (I'd assume) story. The technical stuff, like the sets, costumes, pageantry, art direction, all of that, is just perfect. This is high art that's also accessible. The camera work and direction are wonderful, and the massive ensemble cast filled with tons of cameos are awesome. Well, Jack Lemmmon (surprisingly) is a bit weak, but the rest are great. This isn't a film I want to watch too often, mostly because it is a lot to undertake, but it is definitely one of those spectacle films that deserves repeated viewings. I don't know what it is, but Branagh and Shakespeare are just a perfect match, and this is exhibit a to prove that.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


Incredible direction coupled with incredible acting equals Kenneth Brannagh's Hamlet. Full review later.

Thomas Bowler
Thomas Bowler

Super Reviewer

Good god, Kenneth Branagh plays Kenneth Branagh in everything he does. It's commendable that he chooses to play Hamlet as an ACTIVE character, rather than a PASSIVE one, but his interpretation is much too knowing, much too methodical for the unsure, questioning, brooding prince. Hamlet is driven by love for his father, mother, and Ophelia, but all I saw was an arrogant, attention-seeking, pretty-boy. Branagh had merely three notes in his performance- screaming fury, hushed seriousness, schticky madness. SOOO schticky and not even funny. Kudos for undertaking this full-length version on film but it's supposed to be film. There was nothing cinematically artistic about the execution - cinematography was lazy and scoring tried to compensate. I do have to admit though, out of Branagh, Gibson, and Hawke, Branagh does the best "I loved Ophelia!" Anguish!!!

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

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