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Actors Who Have Played Hamlet

Updated September 6, 2019 164.6k views27 items

Hamlet is one of William Shakespeare's most notable tragedies. Many famous actors have portrayed the complicated title character. Several actors have even directed the productions of Hamlet in which they starred. One Academy Award winning actor passed out on stage during a production of the famous play. This list of actors who have played Hamlet is loosely ranked by fame and popularity. 

Shakespeare's Hamlet is a tragedy, was written sometime between 1599 and 1602 and centers on the title character Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark. Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play, dramatizing Prince Hamlet's revenge on his uncle Claudius, who murdered Hamlet's father. The play follows Hamlet's descent into madness and is one of Shakespeare's most performed plays, even to this day.

Many famous actors have played Hamlet, but who is the most famous? Mel Gibson tops our list. Gibson played Hamlet in Franco Zeffirelli's 1990 film. Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis played Hamlet at the National Theatre in London in 1989. An exhausted Day-Lewis collapsed during the pivotal scene where the ghost of Hamlet's father first appears. Day-Lewis later claimed to see the ghost of his own dead father during the incident. He has not returned to the stage since that fateful performance.

Which legendary actor do you think portrayed Hamlet the best? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
  • Mel Gibson played Hamlet in Franco Zeffirelli's 1990 film.

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  • Keanu Reeves played Hamlet at the Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg in 1995.

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  • Jude Law played Hamlet at Donmar West End Theatre and on Broadway in New York.

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  • Christopher Walken played Hamlet at the American Shakespeare Theater in 1982.

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