Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
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All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello
Pericles
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale
Shakespeareana

Available versions

1908: Stuart Blackton

1972: Cedric Messina

1973: John Sichel

1980: Jack Gold

2001: Chris Hunt, Trevor Nunn

2004: Michael Radford

2015: Polly Findlay


The Merchant of Venice
1980: Jack Gold

This is the entry into the BBC Shakespeare series. It is cleanly performed, though I personally found it less than completely arresting. It is, nevertheless, one of the few that is not really focused on wringing the play out for a social or political agenda.

Gemma Jones takes the pivotal role of Portia here; she is at least ten years too old for the role (she was 38 in 1980), and she plays it with a tight, almost repressed, reserve. The result is not bad or unappealing, but it substantially dampens the appeal of the romantic element of the story. Warren Mitchell’s Shylock has less cinematic flair and grandeur than Olivier’s, but at the same time it supports considerably more nuance in the characterization, and I ultimately like it a good deal better.

Viewers of the Indiana Jones or The Lord of the Rings movies may be amused to see a relatively youthful (and much slimmer) John Rhys-Davies in the relatively minor role of Salerio.


Antonio’s Servant: Richard Austin

Antonio: John Franklyn-Robbins

Balthasar: Daniel Mitchell

Bassanio: John Nettles

Gratiano: Kenneth Cranham

Jessica: Leslee Udwin

Launcelot Gobbo: Enn Reitel

Leonardo: Roger Martin

Lorenzo: Richard Morant

Musician: Adrian Harman

Nerissa: Susan Jameson

Old Gobbo: Joe Gladwin

Portia: Gemma Jones

Prince of Morocco: Marc Zuber

Salerio: John Rhys-Davies

Shylock: Warren Mitchell

Solanio: Alan David

Stephano: Shaun Scott

The Duke of Venice: Douglas Wilmer

The Prince of Arragon: Peter Gale

Tubal: Arnold Diamond