The Tragedy of Macbeth 1971 R CC

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Available in HD
(201) IMDb 7.5/10
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A graphically violent version of the classical Shakespearian play about a murderously ambitious couple in debt to witchcraft and prophesies. Polanski's MACBETH is certainly the most inspired in its recreation of the cold barbaric spirit of the play's original setting.

Starring:
Jon Finch, Francesca Annis
Runtime:
2 hours, 21 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama
Director Roman Polanski
Starring Jon Finch, Francesca Annis
Supporting actors Martin Shaw, Terence Bayler, John Stride, Nicholas Selby, Stephan Chase, Paul Shelley, Maisie MacFarquhar, Elsie Taylor, Noelle Rimmington, Noel Davis, Sydney Bromley, Richard Pearson, Patricia Mason, Michael Balfour, Andrew McCulloch, Keith Chegwin, Andrew Laurence, Bernard Archard
Studio Columbia Pictures
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour 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

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 180 people found the following review helpful By Archmaker VINE VOICE on November 7, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Purists beware, Roman Polanski and Kenneth Tynan have cut, rearranged, and shaped Shakespeare's material to make a MOVIE! And what a grand film they created. Flowingly cinematic, with stunning location filming and superb cinematography the many cuts allow for a smooth narration without sacrificing the gut and heart of the play.

There was much controversy when this film debuted, probably due to it being financed and produced by Hugh Hefner and Playboy, and probably because it was unblinkingly bloody upfront (although the blood is in the play, much of it is naturally offstage), and because of nudity in several key scenes (including the witches....all those old nude crones, while factually correct, no doubt upset many). Today, these seem like perfectly reasonable choices. The film is relentless and remorseless, as befits the story. I don't know what part of Polanski's personal tragedy had any part in his work here, but the direction is excellent. Finch and Anis are fine as the murderous Laird and his Lady, as is the rest of the cast.

If you want the play, see the play. If you want a stimulating and fully realized CINEMATIC treatment of Shakespeare's great themes of greed, ambition, murder, guilt and destiny, see this finely produced, directed, and acted work. Well worthwhile.
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2002
Format: DVD
Please ignore the poorly thought out review on this page. Anyone with either a passing interest in Shakespeare or an appreciation of film should seek this out now. Polanski, avoiding the trap so many other filmmakers fall into, makes a film based on Macbeth, not merely recording a performance of the play. He has crafted a breathlessly paced film, making very reasonable cuts in the text in order to bring the film in under 2˝ hours. I have seen much longer versions that had no grasp of the play at all.
Polanski also wisely chose not to use well-known stars for the major roles; instead utilizing some of the best (and youngest) British stage actors of the time. Jon Finch and Francesca Annis perfectly capture the most emotionally wrenched marriage ever, without the moustache twirling that finds its way into Shakespeare film adaptations too often. This film is dark, muddy, and violent; it is not intended for children. I have to assume that the people who complain about the violence in the film have never actually read the play. And I hope, for the sake of their own sanity, they steer clear of Titus Andronicus, Richard III, Julius Caesar, Othello, and if beheadings put a bee in your bonnet, beware Cymbeline!
... This is a raw, passionate telling of one of the great fictional works in the English language, by one of the great filmmakers of our time. But wait for the wide-screen DVD.
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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Kimo Trent on March 26, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Wow! The liberties Polanski has taken with the Bard's classic have really floored me. This is truly a revelation. Our English teacher showed us this after we had completed our studies on the play, and I wasn't expecting a film half as good as this one. The movie has made waves for it's gore, violence, bleakness ( hey, it's a tragedy!), and Lady Macbeth's nude sleepwalking scene, but it's all done by a man who is totally in tune with what Shakespeare was trying to get accross. Although some scenes/lines have been dropped from this adaptation (such as Lady Macbeth telling Macbeth she would bash her baby's brains out if she had given her word to do so, or the rather humorous relay between Macduff and Malcom), and some things have been slightly altered (such as when Macbeth laments that his wife should bring forth men-children only, is now an Aside), but it all fits together so well that it is barely noticable (although I did slightly miss them). Every scene from the play has been brought to beautiful life. Moments like the exchange between Banquo and Macbeth, while Lady Macbeth is drugging Duncan's gaurds, are highly inventive and imaginative. As well, I have never been so entertained by the porter in any adaptation of Macbeth before! I could go on and on, yet I am limited to only 1000 words in this review, which is not enough by any stretch of the imagination to review this fine film. Do yourself a favour and see this movie, those of you who know Macbeth will fall in love with this vivid re-telling of Shakespeares tragedy, and make new fans out of the un-initiated. Oh, I almost forgot, the last scene is one of the most unexpected and suprizing endings I have ever seen, and further solidifies Polanski's brilliance here. Truly one for the ages. A classic.
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By J. T. Nite on September 10, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is violent and brutal, sparing the audience none of the blood that's implied in the play and adding some gratuitous nudity to boot. If you read the play in high school English class, you're in for a shock or seven with this version.
But I think that this is how Shakespeare would have made a movie. He certainly didn't direct his plays the way they're performed today, all mannered diction and high art. He put in plenty of dirty jokes for the groundlings, lots of sensationalist death and destruction. Shakespeare's plays were intended to sell as many tickets as possible; if Lady Macbeth wasn't played by a man back then, he probably would have wanted her sleepwalking nude as she does in this film.
Polanski has done an excellent job of rescuing "Macbeth" from the constrictions of "literature" and making it shake its moneymaker, as it were. If you can handle some gore and nudity, You're in for a heck of a ride.
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