All member reviews for Hamlet (1996)

Common Sense Media says

Shakespeare's great tragedy -- all of it.

Users say

(out of 11 reviews)
age 14+
Review this title!
Teen, 13 years old Written byShakespeareFan December 19, 2008

A must-see movie.

Kenneth Branagh embodiment of Hamlet's character is the best you will ever see. Truly Amazing.
Teen, 16 years old Written bywho3697cares November 8, 2009
Do yourself a favor and watch Laurence Olivier's version instead.
Parent Written byLDMommaofthree May 14, 2013

Not for children of any age. Nudity!

I let my children watch this movie because the review on this site said there was no nudity. TRAGIC! There was nudity. And, it came without any warning. No child should watch this movie. It is only an adult movie. Although the filming is beautiful, and the movie extremely well done, Hamlet is seen in the memory of Ophellia as laying together nakid. This happens a couple of times and near the beginning when the brother is giving her counsel. As well, in a scene after the King ghost comes, there is a woman in the room dressed like a prostitute. At this point, I turned off the movie. My hope from the review on this site was that I would be able to anticipate a love scene, it should have been said that it is a flash in her memory. I am very grieved my children saw the beginning of this movie. Had I been able to anticipate it and fast forward, I wouldn't have minded, but this was so upsetting!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written byNapoleon15 April 15, 2013


Kenneth Branagh decided to adapt the whole, unabridged text. The result, a 3.5 hour masterpiece with a star studied cast. There is not one actor that does a bad job. Things to look out for: It's Hamlet, there is sword fighting, a suicide, a rather graphic assassination. Kate Winslet, who plays Ophelia gyrates on the floor when she goes mad, and there is a short flashback to a sex scene in which the side of breasts can be seen. Otherwise a fantastic and never dull work of art.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 15 year old Written byTsion January 29, 2011


This version of Shakespeare's classic is truly marvelous to behold. Kenneth Branagh adapts every line of Shakespeare's HAMLET into a grand and engaging four-hour spectacle filled with drama and instantly recognizable stars. It really is a lovely film, and I as a parent would be thrilled if my kid were mature and intelligent enough to express interest in it. The movie has some heavy thematic material, including insanity and murder, but nothing is ever shown graphically. Some people are stabbed with swords on-screen, but it is very quick and never graphic. We briefly see a pool of blood surrounding a dead man's body, but it won't be disturbing for anyone but young kids. There is no profane language or drug use. Sex is extremely minor. It is suggested through flashbacks that Hamlet and Ophelia had sex, but nothing graphic is ever shown. We see them kissing in bed (and see their bare legs and his chest) in momentary cuts that are literally less than a second long. All in all, this is an amazing movie that embodies everything most recent movies lack: intelligence, maturity, inspiring messages, and plot-driven emotion.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bynduns February 5, 2010

Best adaptation to date

The problem I have with most Shakespear-based films is that they either remove scenes/dialogue or try to modernize it. This, however, is the closest we will EVER get to the original play, which is very impressive. Granted, that also makes this one incredibly long, but you can tell they really tried their hardest with this one. It is kinda odd seeing Robin Williams in this, but nonetheless, this is the best version of the film to expose high-school students to as it got everything right.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

One of the finest films ever made.

We watch it every New Year's. Hamlet always teaches new lessons. My boys loved it! Transcendent. luminous. Change your plans and see it tonight!
Adult Written bybranagh April 9, 2008
Adult Written byhamlet April 9, 2008

The GREATEST Screen Version Of William Shakespeare's Tragedy.

Of course, most people have their own favourite film versions of "Hamlet," William Shakespeare's classic tragedy about love, murder, revenge and family loyalty, that was first performed at the Globe Theater in 1603. Classic tragedy, right up there with "Romeo & Juliet," "Richard III," "Othello," "Julius Caesar," "Macbeth" and "King Lear." Personally, Kenneth Branagh's 4 hour version of the play is the greatest, next to Sir Laurence Olivier's 2/1/2 hour film version, produced in 1948. The all-star cast is terrific (featuring Academy Award winners Julie Christie, Charlton Heston, Sir John Gielgud, Jack Lemmon, Richard Attenborough and Robin Williams, among others; Gielgud, Derek Jacobi and Kenneth Branagh have each played Hamlet over 300 times on stage). The costumes (as per the opulent 19th-century setting) and sets are visually lush. There is nothing bad about this production. It's clear that Branagh spared no expense to make this movie. At $18 million, it was worth every penny. As far as letting children see this film, I would highly recommend it for ages 10 and above, due to the mature subject matter (death, lost love, revenge, etc), the archaic English, some non-explicit, but suggesstive, love scenes between Ophelia (Kate Winslet) and Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh) and the 4 hour running time. The film has recieved a PG-13 rating from the MPAA for violent images and some sexuality, but I rate it PG for some violence.
Teen, 13 years old Written byDman April 9, 2008

One of the best films of all time

Parent of a 12 year old Written bycrankylibrarian January 3, 2014

Branagh's greatest film of Shakespeare's greatest play

You might want to screen this as a 2-parter, (the movie was originally shown with an intermission). A few unexpected touches: the ghost scene resembles a horror movie, Ophelia and Hamlet get in on, Polonius dallies with a prostitute, and the final duel turns into a bloody battle. Branagh is of course wonderful, and he has cast several former Hamlets in supporting roles, including the superb Derek Jacobi as Claudius. Great work all round from Julie Christie, Billy Crystal, Richard Briers and Michale Maloney, but the Jacobi/Branagh scenes stand out. Kate Winslet makes an especially touching and vulnerable Ophelia.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex