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751 Ratings


Directed by Laurence Olivier
United Kingdom, 1948


Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Sir Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet continues to be the most compelling version of Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy.

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Hamlet Directed by Laurence Olivier

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

1948 | 6 wins including: Grand International Award

Academy Awards

1949 | 4 wins including: Best Picture

1949 | 3 nominations including: Best Actress in a Supporting Role

National Board of Review

1948 | Winner: Top Ten Films

BAFTA Awards

1949 | Winner: Best Film from any Source

1949 | Nominee: Best British Film

What are people saying?

  • Ethan's rating of the film Hamlet

    This is an impressive adaptation of Shakespeare's original emo kid. Olivier is brilliant as the titular character and the set design is beautiful and in my opinion, Shakespeare works best in black and white.

  • Stefan Drees's rating of the film Hamlet

    In my opinion this Shakespeare adaption is a great example for using filmic means to underline specific elements of the play. E.g. the camera movements serve as link between different places and close-ups are used to sustain the effects of spoken language and its sound. Also William Walton's score is very good because it intensifies certain moments and increases the meaning of the words.

  • ASHES IN THE HOURGLASS's rating of the film Hamlet

    Beautiful camerawork and splendid atmosphere make this return to the Bard's material worthwhile. I still think that, even despite great films like Ran and Chimes at Midnight, we still don't have a purely cinematic version of Shakespeare. Something that captures his madness and metaphors with images and sound rather than his words. Olivier's adaptation is arguably one of the best attempts at such a potential milestone

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film Hamlet

    Here are a few arguments in favor of this film : Laurence Olivier with blond hair, the ghost of Hamlet's father, the 18th year old Jean Simmons as Ophelia and the production design. Of course, if you're allergic to plays adapted for films, skip this one.

  • Richmond Hill's rating of the film Hamlet

    Despite a sensible trimming of the text to vernacularise dialogue, it’s the verbal slow-down - all clear enunciation and minimal declaiming - that causes one to be distracted during the wordy exposition. That said, it’s a laudable attempt and in it’s most brilliant moments - often those opened out with Dillon’s expressionistic art direction - is quite beguiling. A good score from Walton too.

  • nyyssonen's rating of the film Hamlet

    I was surprised by just how cinematic this version is, but while some shots and voiceovers help elevate it beyond simply a "filmed play", they also obstruct and worsen the delivery of the monologues. By far one of the least funny Hamlet films but also one the most poetic and heartbreaking.

  • Adam Z's rating of the film Hamlet

    Uninspired, dull, simplistic take on Hamlet. There is nothing more flatulent than this film and its inevitable supporters: stuffy, irrelevant academics and, even worse, high school English teachers, who delight in sucking all the joy and spectacle out of Shakespeare, reducing it to idiotic pseudo-Freudian nonsense. And the 'great' Olivier reduces some of the great lines of literature to unbearable nonsense.

  • Howard Fritzson's rating of the film Hamlet

    Pretty terrific. Maybe not as “cinematic” as Welles’ great Shakespearean films but wonderful nonetheless. I wasn’t even bothered by the fact that Hamlet looked older than his mother.

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