Parents' Guide to

Hamlet (1948)

By Rich Phippen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Olivier's classic Shakespeare tragedy has themes of revenge.

Movie NR 1948 154 minutes
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The movie was a multiple Oscar and BAFTA winner on its release in 1948 -- the ony Shakespeare adaptation to ever win the Best Film Oscar and the first British movie to win the award. While the use of sets and effects were impressive in the 1940s, by today's standards this version looks and feels more like a stage play. Where it continues to excel is the quality of performance. Olivier remains the yardstick by which all Hamlet performances are measured, and the supporting cast -- including the likes of Peter Cushing and Patrick Troughton -- are on equally good form.

Despite praise for his performance, Olivier's version of Hamlet has been criticized by some. Having cut the play's four-hour running time and omitting two characters -- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern -- Shakespeare purists claim the movie fails to capture the full embodiment of the play. However, with Shakespearean dialogue rattled off at such a rate and a still substantial two hours and 32 minutes running time, this remains a tough watch for youngsters, and perhaps adults too.

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