BBC Shakespeare: Hamlet 1980 TV-14 CC

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(20) IMDb 8.1/10

Hamlet returns home to Denmark when his father, the King, dies. His mother has remarried Hamlet's uncle. The ghost of Hamlet's father appears and tells Hamlet that he was murdered. Hamlet must choose between passive assent and retribution.

Starring:
Derek Jacobi, Claire Bloom
Runtime:
3 hours 35 minutes

BBC Shakespeare: Hamlet

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Rodney Bennett
Starring Derek Jacobi, Claire Bloom
Supporting actors Patrick Stewart, Eric Porter, Lalla Ward, David Robb, Patrick Allen, Robert Swann, Jonathan Hyde, Geoffrey Bateman, Emrys James, Jason Kemp, Geoffrey Beevers, Bill Homewood, Peter Richard, Terence McGinity, Peter Burroughs, Stuart Fell, Ian Charleson, Tim Wylton
Studio BBC
MPAA rating TV-14
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 7-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Too bad about this particular Ophelia, though.
Paul Alex Prince III
The one and only quality you need to have in advance is a keen interest in Shakespeare and his most famous tragedy.
Alexander Arsov
Branagh performs admirably, while Jacobi performs superbly.
Drektath

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Drektath on February 17, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I own the complete the collection of BBC Shakespearean productions (imported), of which this is a part. I have seen a number of other productions of Hamlet (both on film and on stage). None match this one.

The closest that any other comes is Kenneth Branagh's production. Branagh is to be lauded for including the full text. His version also includes excellent production values. As for Branagh's portrayal of Hamlet himself, I can only give it 4 stars rather than the 5 that I would give to Jacobi's. Branagh does a fine job, but any portrayal of Hamlet must grapple with the emotional subtext of the role. Branagh performs admirably, while Jacobi performs superbly.

A comparison of theatre performances would not really benefit many (and I am too young to have seen productions featuring some of the great British actors in their prime). As far as notable screen performances go, I would rank them as such: Jacobi>Branagh>Kline>Gibson>Olivier. Yes, I know, 'tis blasphemy to rank Olivier at the bottom of that pile, but I just feel that Olivier's performance in the film is extremely stilted and overly choreographed. It very well may be that Olivier was remarkable as Hamlet on stage, but sadly, I have never seen any such performance.

Jacobi brings emotion and believability to a role that, in the wrong hands or if improperly directed, can seem wooden or artificially forced. This is a Hamlet that you can relate to.

Bottom line: to any fan of Hamlet, this would be highly recommended. I'd even go so far as to say that it has the potential to snare a few who are not Shakespeare fans. Production values are adequate (although nowhere near the Branagh production or even the Gibson production). All that being said, if production values and spectacle are what you crave, you're probably not browsing Shakespearean films anyway.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl on February 22, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Most strikingly, the actor playing Hamlet does a PHENOMENAL job! Most of the others as well, but Hamlet's character really makes this version of the play great. The only lagging point was the famous role of Ophelia--the actress had a hard time seeming believably distraught which is a HUGE aspect of the play.
Other than that, everything was on point, and again, I must commend the lead actor for holding the audience to his every Shakespearian word--a true talent that is necessary for this type of work!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eurobaby on February 20, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I've always had a bit of a disability regarding Shakespeare - a sort of dyslexia. For some reason Jacobi's portrayal of this character, Hamlet, was like an Annie Sullivan to my blindness. A beautiful and enlightening portrayal, well acted from each and every performer and directed to perfection. Old 'Willy' himself would have stood in ovation to see his work so supremely brought to life. This is Shakespeare without pain, but pleasure instead.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Arsov on April 29, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Hamlet (1980)
TV, BBC, The Dramatic Works of Williams Shakespeare

Derek Jacobi - Hamlet
Patrick Stewart - Claudius
Claire Bloom - Gertrude
Lalla Ward - Ophelia
Eric Porter - Polonius
David Robb - Laertes

Directed by Rodney Bennet.
Colour. 223 min.

I may be wrong but I do think that the Histrionic School tends to misrepresent Hamlet's character. Burton, Branagh, Kline and Jacobi are the most distinguished members of this school I have seen on the screen so far. (I have yet to see David Tennant's Dane, but judging from excerpts he may well be a student in the same educational facility.) Vastly different as these four great actors are, they share the same passion for consistent overacting of every line that can possibly be hammed up, thus reducing Hamlet from the introverted, disillusioned and spineless thinker suggested by the text, and supported by the Melancholic School, to an angry, frustrated and violent teenager whose main occupation is to take in others by putting an antic disposition.

Since there are no such things as representation and misrepresentation but only thinking that makes them so, the Hammy Hamlet is not necessarily a bad thing. It is just another way of interpretation, quite different than the Brooding Hamlet but equally valid. In fact, keeping in mind that there are certain confrontations in the play (most notably the Closet scene and the Nunnery Scene) where aggression in indispensable, this separation of schools is something of an oversimplification. Virtually every interpretation of Hamlet must contain both ''schools''. That said, I still think the division is a sensible one - especially if not taken too seriously.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By klyn on September 4, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I had just returned from Denmark where I had visited Elsinore Castle. My interest was heightened because I had always thought of this story as Shakespeares own creation not knowing it was a real legend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Hagan on July 15, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This is my second favorite filmed version of Hamlet after Branagh's high budget masterpiece. Jacobi is brilliant in this production as is Sir Patrick Stewart! If you consider yourself a fan of Hamlet and have not seen this film by all means spend the 2 bucks and rent it on Amazon or better yet purchase it. You will not be disappointed or sorry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pen Name on December 19, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I had to read Hamlet for school. Thanks to this video I now have a better understanding of Hamlet:The Prince of Denmark
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