Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
Scholars Online Educational Resources


All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
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
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
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

Available versions

1972: Charlton Heston

1974: John Scoffield

1981: Jonathan Miller

1984: Lawrence Carra

2015: Jonathan Munby

2017: Robin Lough


Macbeth, 1954: George Schaefer (extras)

2015: Shakespeare Uncovered, Season 2, Episode 5

Antony and Cleopatra
1984: Lawrence Carra

This is the first of a collection of nine plays given by the title “The Plays of William Shakespeare”. All in all, it seems an overly ambitious title for a collection of only nine. Whether the makers originally projected more, however, their avowed aim was two-fold: to stage the plays “as originally seen in the sixteenth century”, and to render them accessible to students without strange accents (whatever those might be). How a play written in about 1608 might have been seen in the sixteenth century at all is a question I leave to heads wiser than my own. Otherwise, they are produced with good actors — with a preference for those with some Hollywood recognition — but with a minimum of supporting material.

The present film is a case in point. It is filled with well-known Hollywood names, from both television and motion pictures. Antony is played by Timothy Dalton, a one-time James Bond and a player in a vast array of films; Cleopatra is Lynn Redgrave, who brings to the role a more appealing vulnerability than most others who have essayed the role. Because Cleopatra is probably the most critical to the core of the play, her performance sets the tone for the rest. The whole production seems to have been a bit Star [Trek] struck: Charmian is none other than Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), while Pompey is Walter Koenig (Chekhov).

The whole company does a better-than-adequate job within the bounds of the modest production constraints. The delivery is lively, the script is not cut brutally, and the whole is eminently watchable. The only member of the cast who seemed really out of her depth was Kim Miyori, playing Iras: her delivery struck me as particularly wooden, as if (a common failure among modern actors taking on Shakespeare) she didn’t really understand what she was saying much of the time. Walter Koenig’s middle American accent (no Russian overtones here) also sounded a mite flat when surrounded by the mellifluous British stage diction of the bulk of the cast. He is clearly not as comfortable with Shakespearean diction as many of the others, but he does understand what he’s saying, and expresses it forcefully and with a fair amount of nuance.

All that being the case, I can certainly commend this to anyone’s attention. I don’t think anyone is going to find it magnificently revelatory: there are more nuanced performances of virtually all these roles elsewhere. Yet the whole is harmonious and worthwhile. I can certainly recommend it — without remarkable enthusiasm, but recommend it nevertheless.

I still don’t think they’re going to be able to reproduce the play as it was performed in the sixteenth century.

Agrippa: Tom Rosqui

Alexas: Anthony Holland

Charmian: Nichelle Nichols

Cleopatra: Lynn Redgrave

Dolabella: John Devlin

Enobarbus: Barrie Ingham

Eros: Brian Kerwin

Euphronius: Dan Mason

Extra: Randall Brady

Iras: Kim Miyori

Lepidus: Earl Boen

Maecenas: Earl Robinson

Marc Antony: Timothy Dalton

Mardian: James Avery

Menas: Ted Sorel

Messenger: Joseph R. Sicari

Octavia: Sharon Barr

Octavius Caesar: Anthony Geary

Pompey: Walter Koenig

Proculeius: Henry Sutton

Rustic: Jack Gwillim

Seleucus: Ralph Drischell

Silius: Claude Woolman

Soldier: Alex Wright

Soldier: Grey O’Neil

Soldier: Michael Keys Hall

Soldier: Paul Bowman

Soldier: Tom Everett

Soothsayer: John Carradine

Thidias: Alvah Stanley

Ventidius: Michael Billington