Hamlet (1996)

Movie review by Randy White, Common Sense Media
Hamlet (1996) Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 14+

Shakespeare's great tragedy -- all of it.

PG-13 1996 266 minutes

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 14+

Based on 4 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 12+

The Best Version Everyone Needs To Watch

It's the only good film adaption of Hamlet I've ever watched. It's the truest, most beautifully portrayed, and wonderfully acted version, and it ruined all other versions of Hamlet for me because it was so perfect. Just a warning on the note of sex; there's a scene where Hamlet and Ophelia are obviously getting it on, but you don't see any nudity. The scene is repeated twice; once near the beginning and once near the end. It's fairly easy to skip or explain but if you let your kids watch it they might be twelve or older. If you skip, kids well under twelve can watch and enjoy this. I watched it when I was eight and loved it. Violence is fine, everything else is fine. It's beautiful, funny, and sad. I love it.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
age 15+

Very faithful Hamlet

This is the most faithful adaptation of Shakespeare's play currently available. Branagh takes very few interpretive risks with the text, unlike Gibson, Jacobi, and Tennant, but while this does not make for an exciting re-reading of the play, it does provide a fantastic "baseline" to evaluate other productions. One heads-up: If you are a teacher intending to show this to a class, please be aware that there is some brief nudity in Act IV (the second half of the movie) in a very brief flashback scene in which Hamlet and Ophelia are shown naked on a bed kissing. You do not see frontal nudity, rear ends, or genitalia. More problematic is that during Ophelia's mad scene, when she is referring to "Young men will do't if they come to it," she thrusts her hips into Claudius and then lies on the floor raising and lowering her hips in a manner suggestive of intercourse. Although I personally do not find this offensive as a viewer, I have to be sensitive to the values of my community, and I strongly advise teachers who want to show this to preview this film and make sure that it's acceptable for your school, students, and district. It's an excellent production.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Movie Details

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