Shakespeare’s play Macbeth has been done many times on stage, and many times on the silver screen. Read reviews of the very best Macbeth movies below – specifically Roman Polanski’s 1971 Macbeth movie, and Trevor Nunn’s 1978 version of Macbeth on the big screen.
It is surprising that so few films have been made of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, given that the play is such an exciting drama, filled with all the ingredients that would keep an audience on the edge of their seats.
Certainly, when Polanski’s 1971 Macbeth movie came out in 1971 it was a blockbuster. The cinemas filled up with group bookings by schools as teachers crocodiled their students to the local theatre. It met the cinematic expectations of movie-goers of the time, with its extreme and vivid violence, nudity, close-up face to face fighting and special effects. Read full review >>
Nunn’s 1978 Macbeth movie is not cinematic in any way – it’s theatrical, a television version of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage production – but nevertheless a brilliant film.
The actors sit in a large circle and come forward for their performances. Most of the time you are unaware of the circle of actors as the filming is always close-up with the focus on the characters, isolated and lit, with darkness all around them. The language of the play indicates the perpetual darkness, as this is a vision of Hell. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have turned their castle into a hell and when Duncan enters beneath its portals that’s what he is going into. Read full review >>
Joel Coen’s 2021 film “The Tragedy of Macbeth” is a tale of two stories – Shakespeare’s and Coen’s – and the result is a remarkable film. If the point of thousands of directors and actors telling the Macbeth story over the course of four centuries is that there are always new things to see in new productions and that directors and actors have the opportunity to reveal them, this film hits the mark. Read full review >>
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