Macbeth

1948, Drama, 1h 46m

28 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

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critics consensus

This haunting, eccentric Macbeth may be hampered by budget constraints, but Orson Welles delivers both behind and in front of the camera. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In director Welles' retelling of Shakespeare's classic tragedy, Macbeth (Orson Welles), a medieval Scottish general, is told by three witches he will rise to be king. After learning the prophecy, he's pressured by his ambitious wife, Lady Macbeth (Jeanette Nolan), to murder King Duncan (Erskine Sanford) and seize the throne. Macbeth succeeds, but with his new power he becomes increasingly paranoid and bloodthirsty, which ultimately leads to his tragic demise.

Cast & Crew

Jeanette Nolan
Lady Macbeth
Edgar Barrier
Banquo
Alan Napier
A Holy Father
Peggy Webber
Lady Macduff, Witch
Lurene Tuttle
Gentlewoman, The Three
William Alland
Second Murderer
Charles K. Feldman
Executive Producer
Jacques Ibert
Original Music
John L. Russell
Cinematographer
Louis Lindsay
Film Editor
Fred A. Ritter
Art Direction
John McCarthy Jr.
Set Decoration
James Redd
Set Decoration
Adele
Costume Designer
Fred A. Ritter
Costume Designer
Orson Welles
Costume Designer
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Critic Reviews for Macbeth

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (4)

Audience Reviews for Macbeth

  • Oct 21, 2011
    Welles is THE MAN. Seriously; his grim interpretation towards Shakespeare is a fantastically visionary one, plaguing the landscapes of a 12th-century Scotland with macabre settings and asphixiating shadows. Too bad his ambition became momentarily overwhelming, but the technical innovation present here make up for the minor flaws. When you watch a film by Orson Welles, you don't feel it's from the US; when you watch a Welles film of the 40s, it feels significantly ahead of its time. 96/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 17, 2009
    Hor-rors. This may be the worst version I've ever seen. To reiterate, this is my favorite of Shakespeare's plays, so I'm most critical when I watch a production. Worse still for Orson Welles, I was just iPoding the Arkangel recording while I was walking the Great Wall in China last week, so the play's all the more fresh in my mind. <p> It's as if Welles thinks he's always doing <i>Citizen Kane</i> -- don't get me started. You don't have to emote, okay, you have to deliver. The words carry enough drama all by themselves, all right? Yet one more reason why Welles will never make either my favorite actor or my favorite director lists.
    Lanning : Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2008
    Another inspired, original work by one of the true artists in American cinema. Welles makes excellent use of his small budget, producing a film that is both stylish and surprising. He does things with the play that are unusual, and that's part of what makes his piece so exciting to watch. An absorbing visual marvel.
    Mike T Super Reviewer
  • Mar 11, 2008
    Nice sets and mood. One of the best performances I've seen Wells give.
    Morris N Super Reviewer

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