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745 Ratings


The Tragedy of Macbeth

Directed by Roman Polanski
United States, United Kingdom, 1971


A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord siezes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.

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Macbeth Directed by Roman Polanski

Awards & Festivals

National Board of Review

1972 | 2 wins including: Best Film

BAFTA Awards

1973 | Winner: Best Costume Design

1973 | Nominee: Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music

The key, strangely enough for this supernatural and highly stylised tale, is the realism, the ability to create a convincing (and extremely dark) world in which these events take place. The result is an experience in which Shakespeare’s poetic language and Polanski’s grounded imagery create a tension that propels the familiar narrative forward, producing continuous sequences in which the oft-quoted language is given a fresh perspective.
September 14, 2016
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Francesca Annis’s Lady Macbeth—another doomed woman for Polanski’s roster—and the titular bastard himself (Jon Finch, whose physical performance is rare for Shakespeare) are second fiddle to the creeping mood, upheld by unnverving strings and nightmarish chimeras. That it is all shot with enormous beauty makes the experience all the more unsettling. Thick as the film is with fog and filthy air, you can almost taste the corrupt power couple’s ambition like a cauldron-born potion.
January 20, 2016
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[Polanski’s] take on the Scottish play is bloody, grimy, and reeks of all manner of bodily effusion. If it could smell, it would smell bad. It’s all the more impressive that Polanski’s Macbeth is equally redolent with atmosphere and troubled emotions: guilt, paranoia, bloodthirst. It’s among the earthiest of movie Macbeths.
January 13, 2016
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