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

1948: Laurence Olivier

1964: Philip Saville

1964: Bill Colleran, John Gielgud

1964: Grigori Kozintsev

1969: Tony Richardson

1976: Celestino Coronada

1980: Rodney Bennett

1990: Kevin Kline

1990: Franco Zeffirelli

1996: Kenneth Branagh

2000: Michael Almereyda

2000: Campbell Scott, Eric Simonson

2002: Peter Brook

2003: Michael Mundell

2007: Alexander Fodor

2009: Simon Bowler

2009: Gregory Doran

2011: Bruce Ramsay

2014: Adam Hall

2015: Sarah Frankcom, Margaret Williams

2015: Dick Douglass, Obie Dean

2016: Jennifer Nicole Stang

2016: Simon Godwin

2016: Antoni Cimolino and Shelagh O’Brien

2018: Federay Holmes, Elle White

2018: Robert Icke, Rhodri Huw, Ilinca Radulian


1992: Natalya Orlova, Dave Edwards (animated)

2004: Hamlet (opera, Ambroise Thomas)

Production drama

2003: Slings and Arrows (Season 1)


1990: Discovering Hamlet

2010: This is Hamlet

2013: Shakespeare Uncovered (Season 1, Ep. 6)


1990: Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead

1994: Royal Deceit

2008: Hamlet 2

2014: Hamlet A.D.D.

2017: Ophelia (short)

2018: Ophelia

2011: Bruce Ramsay

After many years of looking for a copy of this, I eventually found it available on Blu-ray disc.

The play’s scant ninety minutes, and the creator’s avowed intention, should make it clear that this is no standard version of Hamlet, and certainly it is not. It’s a “reimagined” version of the play, in the more extreme sense of that term. It turns thus into a sort of aristocratic soap opera playing out over the course of a single sordid evening in a contemporary setting. Young Hamlet comes home to a moody house, where he moodily finds that all is not well; he winds up having moody sex with Ophelia, shooting Polonius, and finding Ophelia drowned in her mood and in the upstairs bath; all finishes in a kind of armed free-for-all in which all the right people get conveniently gunned down with a revolver in the foyer and in the space of about twenty seconds. When all is said and done, everyone who remains alive is very sad. Mood alone endures.

The language is still mostly Shakespeare’s, and it is not badly delivered, when anything is being said at all. A good deal of the play is taken up with wordless exchanges of one sort or another, and the opening credits are spun out at laborious and pretentious length over the first five minutes or so of its total ninety. The actors in general speak their lines well enough, though to say that they were really playing roles in Hamlet would be something of a stretch; none of them is really playing a role in a real version of Hamlet, though, and it doesn’t come off as a connected phenomenon.

Ramsay (who plays Hamlet and directs) had the play shot, if accounts online are correct, in the space of three days with minimal hand-held equipment. The sets are all in some sort of women’s club, and they do provide the requisite aristocratic setting. Ramsay apparently conceived of the enterprise as a pedagogical tool, to introduce Shakespeare to students with shorter attention spans and an incapacity to think outside contemporary society. If it has been successful, it is perhaps an achievement on the positive scale. As a representation of Hamlet it is woefully insufficient; it reduces a play of ideas and themes and moral problems to a melange of intensely-felt depression, focused on nothing in particular. It is beautifully filmed — which is the more impressive, given the limited resources.

Parents and teachers should take warning for the explicit sex here, but need not trouble themselves about skipping this for that cause — there are plenty of other reasons not to bother with it. There are bits to admire here, but as a path into the actual play Hamlet, not many.

Hamlet: Bruce Ramsay

Ophelia: Lara Gilchrist

Claudius: Peter Wingfield

Gertrude: Gillian Barber

Butler: John Cassini

Polonius: Duncan Fraser

Horatio: Stephen Lobo

King Hamlet: Russell Roberts

Guildenstern: Martin Sims

Rosencrantz: Brent Stait

Laertes: Haig Sutherland

Policeman: Michael Tiernan