Hamlet - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hamlet Reviews

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July 1, 2014
I realized I never read Hamlet, nor knew really how it ended (despite seeing a Simpsons spoof).

It is argueably the most sought after role for any actor, and no doubt Olivier does a fantastic job. My favorite thing is that Olivier makes the characters seem relatable yet still stay true to the greatest playwright who ever lived.
June 3, 2014
An amazing film with great visuals, and brilliant performances. Truly worthy of its Best Picture win (and the only Shakespearian adaption to win the coveted award, unless you count Shakespeare in Love and West Side Story). This is how you do an adaption.
½ February 6, 2014
The truly notable parts of this were the cinematography and music. The sword fight was also excellent, but it didn't seem many of the actors had as good a grasp as they could have on their characters, excluding Olivier himself.
½ December 14, 2013
With appropriately gothic and at times moody direction by the films star and director Laurence Olivier, overall this remains the best adaptation of Hamlet to date. Perhaps the posturing of characters may seem a bit too stagey at times, and pacing occasionally as melancholy as the dialogue itself, but more often than not the effective movement of the camera through the cavernous arches of the castles structure lends the stage of Hamlet a graceful yet intimidating openness Supporting actors are also quite wonderfully produced, with the shockingly young Peter Cushing, and ethereal and tender Jean Simmons as Ophelia (superior to the Mel Gibsons 1990 alternate Helena Bonham Carter). The final swordplay battle at the end is especially exciting and intense to watch, demonstrating ferociously balletic swordplay by the two talented leads, and filmed at constantly evolving angles. For me it was the finale that was the highlight in assume that ran a bit too long for comfort but again it is still a benchmark in Shakespearean film history and a worthy watch for cinephiles, fans of Olivier and Shakespeare
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2013
Before Kenneth Branaugh believed that he was the be all and end all of Shakespearean film, we have Olivier actually being the be all and end all of Shakespearean film. It is a condensed version of the play yes but it takes nothing away from the angst ridden Dane as portrayed by a master.
October 3, 2013
Hamlet is a solid adaptation of a timeless tragedy with excellent visuals, great ending, strong acting, wonderful art direction and the ghost scene is creepy, especially for the time, and it is visually astounding, but it does not get the classic status owing to a lot of scenes that slow the pace of the film significantly with overabundance of long monologues and dialogues and bloated running time. It had the potential to be superb, but it kinda ended up being disappointing. Its Best Picture win is certainly understandable, but that does not make it fair nonetheless, especially given that the nominations list that year included a great little film called 'The Red Shoes' and an indisputable classic that is, of course, 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre'.
½ September 17, 2013
Laurence Olivier had an old archaic idea of Hamlet. I guess it's just one of the odd adaptations of Hamlet... but still, it's very well directed. Laurence Olivier has too many "Look at me, I'm Great" parts :)
½ August 4, 2013
Brilliant, but Olivier is not the best Hamlet of his generation.
July 23, 2013
best Shakespeare movie yet
½ July 12, 2013
lever ikke helt op til ophavet..
July 8, 2013
Lawrence Olivier's spell-binding performance helps to gravitate this adaptation as sublime and moving as the play itself.
July 7, 2013
I found no interest whatsoever from this film.
July 1, 2013
Laurence Olivier is excellent. The best spokesman of William Shakespeare.
½ April 21, 2013
The next best picture winner is Hamlet. Nuff said.

Plot:Well I'm pretty sure just about all of you who are reading this review know the actual story. But for those of you know don't, Hamlet is a prince in Denmark who has just lost his father. His mother marries his uncle and become king of Denmark. But then Hamlet comes across the ghost of his father who claims that he was actually murdered by his uncle so he can become king, so the ghost tells Hamlet to avenge him. Troubled by this news, Hamlet thinks about whether or not what the ghost said is true and that he should kill his uncle to avenge his father's death.

Honestly to me, this was just Hamlet. I'm not saying that it's bad or anything, but it wasn't something you'd already know if you know the story almost scene by scene. But I'm in no way saying that this movie is bad. It does give out some very good performances. They do a fairly good job in actually express how they are feeling with whatever is actually happening. I guess I didn't really expect that from this film because my brother had told me that he wasn't all that entertained when he saw this film a couple years ago or so. And I will also add that I ended up particularly enjoying the last half an hour or so of the film. The sword fighting was actually really well done, the last scene with Ophelia really showed how she goes mad, and I liked the symbolism with the last moment they had with Claudius. I thought it was a really nice touch. So with all of that said, it was better then I thought it would be. But that doesn't mean I was completely entertained. It was still Hamlet, a story that just about everyone knows. It gave us the story almost completely the way it was written - they completely left out the characters Fortinbras, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, which I was personally surprised about the last two and found that to be another down - so while it did things better then I thought they would, it wasn't much for me personally.

And that's basically my review for Hamlet. It's not a huge thing for me personally since I'm not a die hard fan of the play or anything, but it does have good performances, really enjoyable last half hour, and despite cutting some characters out, it otherwise give you Hamlet plain and simple making it a fairly enjoyable film to see.
Alex DeSmall
Super Reviewer
April 10, 2013
[SPOILERS]

Hamlet is a 1948 British picture and it is one of many film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays. This fine 1948 British's Hamlet is directed by and starred our beloved Sir Laurence Olivier. Well, if you are aware, Olivier is a British actor, director and producer and to have a taste of this gentleman's greatness, he is one of the famous actors of the 20th century. Olivier is easily a classical actor - he played a wide variety of roles on stage and screen and most of them are some major Shakespearean characters, like Hamlet. His contribution for acting, as well as influence on acting for both on stage and screen, has defined him as one of the greatest actors of all time.

Hamlet or, The Tragedy of Hamlet, is a story by William Shakespeare. The story surrounded the kingdom of Denmark and it dramatizes revenge. In fact, primarily, the story Hamlet focuses on the character Hamlet and has an unmatched character development of him in the story. Hamlet is perhaps one the most popular and influential Shakespeare's work.

Olivier's version of Hamlet for the screen could be one of the finest versions of that form, or maybe the best. I am in love with Olivier's method of interpreting this work by setting a gloomy, eerie and isolated atmosphere in the movie. Probably, that form of direction was indirectly referring to Prince Hamlet himself as at times, Hamlet could be 'mad' or violent, and too, he is dark and has a troubled working mind. Further, under his direction, Olivier too has managed to beautifully capture gorgeous looking shots for some of the scenes.

Olivier as Hamlet is wonderful, and his delivery of Shakespearean lines is utterly fantastic - significant clarity in his delivery is very much in evident, and to my belief, that ability makes him a superb actor. Needless to say, his charisma is huge and the physique of Olivier has the 'smell' of an actor who is only suited for a leading role. Olivier is mesmerising. Despite that, Olivier is somewhat ineffective at times. Olivier's performance is great but he hits and misses slightly.

Olivier is well supported by talented supporting players. Eileen Herlie as the Queen is vibrant and believable. The job done by Basil Sydney as King Claudius, Norman Wooland as Horatio, Felix Aylmer as Polonius, Terence Morgan as Laertes and Jean Simmons as Ophelia are all positive.

I have a notion which states that Olivier has a done a decent job. Yes, this picture is flawed, but it is still an effective modification. Laurence Oliver is a great artist, and his Hamlet will always be remembered as one of the greatest film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play.

[4.0/5]
April 7, 2013
Winner Best Picture 1948. Laurence Olivier is a better director than actor here, though he won for Best Actor. I wasn't really feeling his version of the Danish Prince to some other incarnations. However, the camerawork and cinematography is beautifully done. Shakespeare purists will hate that almost half the play has been cut out, but it is understandable why Olivier had to trim it down. It does drag in some spots, but the movie is a good watch if you are able to sit through it.

Grade: B
April 4, 2013
Sir Laurence Olivier's masterful version of the classic.
April 1, 2013
I've not read the book and I'm not a fan of Shakespeare really but I thought it was about time I improved my knowledge so I watched this. It's not too bad, quite a long slog and you have to pay a lot of attention to what's being said to stand a chance of translating it into something meaning ful but the story is interesting enough. At least I've got a few names and phrases for quiz night now.
January 8, 2013
William Shakespeare's tale of tragedy of murder and revenge in the royal halls of medieval Denmark. Claudius, brother to the King, conniving with the Queen, poisons the monarch and seizes the throne, taking the widowed Gertrude for his bride. Hamlet, son of the murdered King, mournful of his father's death and mother's hasty marriage, is confronted by the ghost of the late King who reveals the manner of his murder. Seeking revenge, Hamlet recreates the monstrous deed in a play with the help of some traveling actors to torment the conscience of the evil Claudius. In a visit with his mother, Hamlet expresses his anger and disappointment concerning her swiftly untimed marriage. Thinking a concealed spy in his mother's chamber to be the lurking Claudius, he mistakenly kills the meddling counselor, Polonius, father of Ophelia and Laertes. Claudius, on the pretext that Hamlet will be endangered by his subjects for the murder of Polonius, sends the prince to England.
December 26, 2012
its really good but i prefer the Kenneth Branagh version
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