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

1960: Michael Hayes

1978: David Giles

1982: William Woodman

2001: John Farrell

2012: Rupert Goold

2013: Gregory Doran


2013: Shakespeare Uncovered (Season 1, Ep. 3)

Richard II
2001: John Farrell

Starring Matte Osian as Richard, this received almost no exposure. After viewing it, I can see why. It seems to be mindlessly pursuing the trend in modern-dress Shakespeare histories marked most notably by the Ian McKellan version of Richard III, but it is made with almost unknown actors, and with a budget that just may have topped ten dollars. It seems to be set in the wild enclave of a Latin American guerrila: everyone is dressed in fatigues and berets, and machine guns are everywhere in evidence. The score seems to have been knocked together over a weekend on a MIDI keyboard, and resembles nothing so much as a very weak imitation of the score from the game “Myst”. The sets seem to be disused bunkers somewhere...but it’s not clear than any of it matters. What’s more, either the DVD transfer was very sloppily done, or the original was shot on an inexpensive digital video camera: for something made in 2001, the image quality is surprisingly low. The latest iPhone could run circles around it.

From my point of view, the most important ingredient in any Shakespeare production is the performances themselves, and unfortunately these are on beyond lackluster. At least some of the actors seem to be confused by the words, which they occasionally mispronounce (cf. “lowering hate” in the first section — which should rhyme with “souring” rather than with the opposite of “raising”). Even when not completely butchering the language, they seem to be spitting out words rather than expressing the ideas those words were intended to convey. John of Gaunt’s speech is cut almost completely, and the rest of the text is mercilessly butchered as well. Pared back to barely an hour and a half, it erodes the text further by giving over lengthy sections to gunfights lacking dialogue altogether. One gets the sense that the makers were really rather bored with Shakespeare, and wanted to convey their indifference to the viewer. If that was their intention, they succeeded: the end product seems too long by about an hour and a half.

There are a few terrific visual moments — as when the exiles are passing down a long road with a huge looming moon overhead, but ultimately that’s just about clever cinematography, not about Shakespeare. It could have appeared in almost any movie with roughly the same content.

Worth seeing chiefly if you are a completist and want to see all the examples, or if it would be a great deal of trouble to avoid. Otherwise don’t bother.

Aumerle: Ellen Zachos

Bolingbroke: Barry Smith

Bushy: Daniel Maher

Gardener : Doug Kerzner

Gaunt’s Nurse: Beth Goldman

Gaunt: Frank O’Donnell

Green: Craig Alan Edwards

Herald, Beekeeper: Dai Kornberg

Isabel : Kadina de Elejalde

Mowbray: Tom Turbiville

Northumberland: Robert F. McCafferty

Queen’s Guard: Deb Snyder

Richard: Matte Osian

Ross: Neil Tadkin

Scroop: Lisa Beth Kovetz

The Keeper: William Martin

Willoughby: Gary Brenner

York: David W. Frank