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BBC Shakespeare Tragedies DVD Giftbox

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jul 22, 2002)
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$68.99 & FREE Shipping. Details Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Shakespeare is rightly considered the world's greatest playwright for the soaring beauty of his language, for his profound insight into human nature, for the truths he dramatized and for the realism of the characters he created. He was, and remains, a superb entertainer.

These BBC and Time-Life film productions feature some of Britain's most distinguished theatrical talent (Anthony Hopkins, Sir John Gielgud, Patrick Stewart, Derek Jacobi, Claire Bloom and more), these DVD's now are the number-one choice for continuing personal enjoyment.

This special Drama DVD Giftbox Set contains 5 of Shakespeare's most popular tragedies:
Romeo and Juliet One of the great love stories of all time and a hit for over 400 years. Full of passion and exquisite language, it expresses love in its infinite variety more than any other work in the English language. Stars Sir John Gielgud, Rebecca Saire, Patrick Ryecart. Running Time: 167 minutes

Hamlet The greatest tragedy ever written maintains all the tension of a murder mystery as it examines the fundamental issues of justice, guilt and death. Hamlet, the most complex of all Shakespeare's characters is considered the greatest challenge for an actor. Derek Jacobi is a superb choice in the rigorous tradition of Shakespearian acting. Stars Derek Jacobi, Patrick Stewart, Eric Porter and Claire Bloom. Running Time: 215 minutes.

Macbeth This savage tragedy is one of Shakespeare's most enduringly popular. Told by a trio of witches that he is fated to become King of Scotland, the warrior Macbeth, aided by his wife, in his quest for power murders his king and assumes the throne. Starring Nicol Williamson and Jane Lapotire. Running Time: 148 minutes

Julius Caesar Breaking all conventional rules of drama, Shakespeare creates neither a clear-cut hero nor a Villain. Instead, this great tragedy presents complicated human beings in agonizing conflict with one another, and themselves. Starring Richard Pasco, Keith Michell and Charles Gray as Caesar. Running Time: 161 minutes

Othello When the evil Iago plants the seeds of doubt in Othello's mind about Desdemona's fidelity, audiences around the world have been held spellbound. Starring Anthony Hopkins as Othello and Bob Hoskins as Iago. Running Time: 203 minutes

The Plays contain subtitles in English that can be turned on or off.


Shakespeare would be amused...by the care, money, time and talent used to produce all 37 of his plays... --TV Guide

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Jan Lapotaire, Derek Jacobi, Patrick Stewart, Sir John Gielgud
  • Directors: Alvin Rakoff, Herbert Wise, Rodney Bennett, Jack Gold, Jonathan Miller
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated:
    General Audience
  • Studio: Ambrose Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2002
  • Run Time: 906 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006FXDE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,507 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "BBC Shakespeare Tragedies DVD Giftbox" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard R. Carlton on October 22, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an update of this review.....This is the BBC series marketed by Ambrose Video that many colleges and libraries have purchased (see ambrosevideo.com). These DVD packages are a very good deal because the original videos are prohibitively expensive (although I broke down and purchased several of the plays that are simply not available on any other media - when was the last theater run you saw of Cymbeline, Henry VIII, or Troilus And Cressida?). The 37 play VHS series is still >$2,500, the DVD series ~$3,000, selected 5 play sets on DVD $150, and individual plays around $100. The series was remarkable in that it actually included all 37 plays in full with a solid set of players (many famous) who worked hard at maintaining as much historical accuracy as possible, but especially with the verbiage.

This set has selected some of the best ones, so it is well worth the expense. The problem is that many of the scenes are less than sparkling....it's very much like watching the filming of the series of plays instead of watching a movie or TV version.....even the Bard himself would have struggled to keep the life in them with no audience. Sometimes the effort for accuracy actually shows in some of the acting. You have to give the various troups credit for sticking to the goals of the series, but realize that it is done with some sacrifices to the thrill and magic at some points.

This set makes a total of 15 of the plays now available at reasonable cost on DVD.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In 1978, the BBC ambitiously set out to produce all of Shakespeare's 37 plays for television. (Alright - so it's 38 ... so they didn't include "The Two Noble Kinsmen," which is cribbed from Chaucer's "Knight's Tale" anyway. But who's counting beans?) With casts featuring the better part of British acting nobility, including some promising (then-)newcomers, the enterprise was completed in two launches with distinct creative approaches and, for all occasional frictions in continuity, remains a one-in-a-kind endeavor: the gold standard every Shakespeare enactment must either meet or fall short of in comparison; for truthfulness to the Bard's intent as much as for stellar acting and production values. Fifteen plays have since been released in sets of five tragedies, comedies and histories: one might've wished for some additions, or more sets overall; but all three compilations are worth their price's every penny.

Laced with murderous schemes, revenge, and the search for justice, love, and peace of mind, Shakespeare's tragedies delve into the human mind's darkest recesses; exploring greed, envy, ambition, guilt, remorse, and pure evil next to compassion, generosity, humility, and innocence, all interwoven in timeless plots unmatched in variety, construction, and richness of characters. Interpretation is substantially left to the actors: Despite Hamlet's litany of directions to the Players appearing in that tragedy's "play-within-the-play" - directions representing Shakespeare's own grievances, including his irritation with comedian Will Kempe's tendency for spotlight-seeking beyond his scenes' actual confines (therefore, "let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them. For [some] will ... set on [the uninformed] spectators to laugh ...
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By viewer on January 23, 2005
Format: DVD
Derek Jacobi's Hamlet is the best I've ever seen, bar none. He gets it exactly right. Patrick Stewart's Claudius is likewise the most interesting and convincing performance of this role. Claire Bloom as Gertrude will break your heart. Only Lala Ward's whiny Ophelia is not up to snuff; she tends to grow a little tiresome. I haven't seen the other videos in this set, so I can't vouch for them. If you don't want to gamble on them, you can order the individual Hamlet video from Ambrose Video ([...]
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Format: DVD
these are the best Shakespeare plays made and word for word in entirety.No digests or snippets where the Producer decides what is an important scene from an unimportant(because every scene is important).No forty year old Romeos or thirtyish"spinster" Juliets here.Juliet is 14(or 13?) and looks the part in these Shakespeare plays.The innocence of youth,the music it's all kept in mind to enhance your Shakespearian experience.After I saw the Romeo and Juliet in this set I was hooked and spoiled,other portrayals leave me flat!I get the feeling i'm actually in the theatre and it's 1600 or something.The characters get their full due and are not just there to support the main players.Mercutio,a duelist and Tybalt,another duelist are headed for a clash and you can just feel the tension boiling in this version.Get some peanuts and popcorn,because this fight is going to be better than Ali-Frazier and these 2 guys are playing for keeps.Tybalt comes to Mercutio,"Mercutio thou consortist with Romeo" he says.Mercutio has just been slighted to the point of a murderous rage although Tybalt intended to disrespect Romeo by these words.Now Tybalt has double the problem with both Romeo and Mercutio.Suddenly Romeo is the least of Tybalt's problems.Both of these characters are vital to this play and in this BBC version are given their due. This version is the standard to measure all the other "imitations".
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