Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
Scholars Online Educational Resources

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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

1909: Charles Kent, J. Stuart Blackton

1935: William Dieterle, Max Reinhardt

1968: Peter Hall

1981: Elijah Moshinsky

1982: Joseph Papp, Emile Ardolino

1996: Adrian Noble

1999: Michael Hoffman

2010: Bo Bergstrom

2014: Dominic Dromgoole

2014: Julie Taymor


Adaptations

1992: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Animated)

2005: ShakespeaRe-Told: A Midsummer Night’s Dream


Related

2015: Shakespeare Uncovered, Season 2, Episode 4


A Midsummer Night’s Dream
1981: Elijah Moshinsky

This is a true standout in the BBC Shakespeare collection, and, to my own (admittedly conservative) taste, the best version of this play overall. It features the best production values of any of the BBC productions (though they were all very low-budget productions from a Hollywood perspective), and its use of music and art direction are occasionally inspired. Momentary vignettes emerge from the film evoking Italian Renaissance paintings.

The fairies — Oberon and Titania in particular — are breathtaking. Peter McEnery’s Oberon is powerful and arresting: he has an august yet wild presence that makes him a bit scary and nearly perfect for the role. Helen Mirren, never particularly pretty but impossible to look away from, brings her electric screen presence and immaculate diction to the part of Titania — menacing too, but lyrical, and not without a certain warmth.

The other characters are equally well-cast: Nigel Davenport’s syrup-voiced Theseus has more gravity and presence than any of the others listed here; Brian Glover as Bottom is possibly not as inspired as Kevin Kline (1999, Michael Hoffman) or Desmond Barrit (1996, Adrian Noble). The interaction of the four fickle lovers is treated as pure slapstick, but really doesn’t suffer from the handling.

Regrettably, currently available DVDs were made from aging masters that had not been well cared-for, and so there are occasional slight dropouts throughout the series, and the color balance in almost all of them is rather faded.


Bottom: Brian Glover

Cobweb: Massimo Mezzofanti

Demetrius: Nicky Henson

Egeus: Geoffrey Lumsden

Fairy: Alexandra Segal

Fairy: Lee Macdonald

Fairy: Louise Mason

Fairy: Tania Bennett

Flute: John Fowler

Helena: Cherith Mellor

Hermia: Pippa Guard

Hippolyta: Estelle Kohler

Lysander: Robert Lindsay

Moth: Dominic Martelli

Mustardseed: Timothy Cross

Oberon: Peter McEnery

Peaseblossom: Bruce Savage

Philostrate: Hugh Quarshie

Puck: Phil Daniels

Quince: Geoffrey Palmer

Snout: Nat Jackley

Snug: Ray Mort

Starveling: Don Estelle

Theseus: Nigel Davenport

Titania: Helen Mirren