The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays

List Rules
Film adaptations of Shakespearean plays, set in the modern day.

List of the best modernized versions of Shakespeare plays. There are movies out there based on the plays of William Shakespeare that came out centuries after the plays were first published. After all, they did not exactly have cameras in the days Romeo & Juliet was first performed, let alone the technology that enabled Tromeo & Juliet to be the epic movie it is today.

The most popular example of a Shakespeare modernization is 10 Things I Hate About You. The 1999 teenage rom-com is a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, starring Heath Ledger. But even widely known, classic movie masterpieces, like West Side Story and The Lion King, are merely modern day renditions of Shakespeare's writing. Ralph Fiennes's Coriolanus and Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho are examples of today's celebrities doing their take on the most classic of classics: the centuries-old theater pieces of William Shakespeare. That is why we see Hamlet set in today's Manhattan, just as we see Macbeth take place in a fast food joint in Scotland, Pennsylvania.

Vote up your favorite modern day version of one of Shakespeare's classics, or vote down the films you thought didn't quite translate to today's world.
list ordered by
  • Hamlet

    This Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), the heir of his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones). Simba's wicked uncle, Scar (Jeremy Irons), ...more
  • The Taming of the Shrew

    Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) is beautiful, smart and quite abrasive to most of her fellow teens, meaning that she doesn't attract many boys. Unfortunately for her younger sister, Bianca (Larisa ...more
  • Romeo and Juliet

    A musical in which a modern day Romeo and Juliet are involved in New York street gangs. On the harsh streets of the upper west side, two gangs battle for control of the turf. The situation becomes ...more
  • Romeo and Juliet

    In Stratford-Upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare, Miss Capulet and Mr. Montague feud over whose garden is the better. Garden gnomes that decorate each neighbor's flower beds continue the ...more
  • King Lear

    At the age of seventy, after years of consolidating his empire, the Great Lord Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai) decides to abdicate and divide his domain amongst his three sons. Taro (Akira ...more
  • Twelfth Night

    Viola Johnson (Amanda Bynes) is in a real jam. Complications threaten her scheme to pose as her twin brother, Sebastian, and take his place at a new boarding school. She falls in love with her ...more
  • The Taming of the Shrew

    Divorced Broadway stars Fred Graham (Howard Keel) and Lilli Vanessi (Kathryn Grayson) agree to star in a musical adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" alongside rising young ...more
  • Love's Labour's Lost

    Kenneth Branagh continues to make sterling adaptations of classic William Shakespeare plays with this romantic musical-comedy. "Love's Labour's Lost" takes place in 1939, when the King of Navarre and ...more
  • Hamlet

    In their quest for free beer, bumbling Canadian brothers Bob (Rick Moranis) and Doug McKenzie (Dave Thomas) wind up working at the Elsinore Brewery. The hapless lads uncover a sinister mind-control ...more
  • Coriolanus

    Caius Martius, aka Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes), is an arrogant and fearsome general who has built a career on protecting Rome from its enemies. Pushed by his ambitious mother (Vanessa Redgrave) to ...more
  • The Tempest

    In this sci-fi classic, a spacecraft travels to the distant planet Altair IV to discover the fate of a group of scientists sent there decades earlier. When Commander John J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen) ...more
  • O


    Moving the classic tale of "Othello" onto the basketball courts of a high school, the story focuses on a young black man named Odin (Mekhi Phifer) who is convinced by a conniving best friend, Hugo ...more
  • Henry IV, Part 1

    In this loose adaptation of Shakespeare's "Henry IV," Mike Waters (River Phoenix) is a gay hustler afflicted with narcolepsy. Scott Favor (Keanu Reeves) is the rebellious son of a mayor. Together, ...more
  • Macbeth

    Scotland, PA is a 2001 film directed and written by William Morrissette. It is a modernized version of William Shakespeare's Macbeth. The film stars James LeGros, Maura Tierney, and Christopher ...more
  • Romeo and Juliet

    Two families, bound by tradition, are locked in a brutal war. Asian and African American gangs are vying for control of Oakland's waterfront. But when the first casualty is the Asian warlord's son, ...more
  • MacBeth

    Shakespeare's "Macbeth" gets transplanted to the world of organized crime in this bloody thriller. Mike Battaglia (John Turturro) is an ambitious Mafioso who will do whatever it takes to make it to ...more
  • Hamlet

    The Bad Sleep Well is a 1960 film directed by the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. It was the first film to be produced under Kurosawa's own independent production company. It was entered into the ...more
  • Romeo and Juliet?

    Tromeo and Juliet is a 1996 independent transgressive comedy film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet from Troma Entertainment. The film was directed by Lloyd Kaufman from a screenplay ...more
  • Romeo and Juliet
    Chicken Rice War is a Singaporean film released in 2000 by Raintree Pictures. It is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in a Singaporean setting, where fierce competition between rival Chicken Rice ...more
  • The Comedy of Errors

    Two sets of twins born in the small town of Jupiter Hollow are mixed up by a confused nurse. The parents -- one set poor local farmers, the other wealthy socialites just passing through -- are none ...more
  • King Lear

    A Thousand Acres is an American motion picture drama directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, and starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jason Robards. It is an adaptation of the ...more
  • King Lear

    In this loose adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear," land baron John Lear (Patrick Stewart) decides to divide his estate among his three daughters, with the caveat that each will prove her ...more
  • Hamlet

    In this modern reformulation of "Hamlet," Jack (Jonathan Penner), a graduate student, suspects foul play after the death of his beloved father. When he learns that his beautiful mother, Helen ...more
  • The Taming of the Shrew

    Eva has been in charge of her younger sisters ever since their parents died, many years ago. Eva's uncanny ability to interfere in her sisters' affairs has not endeared her to their spouses and ...more
  • Romeo and Juliet

    The Sea Prince and the Fire Child is a 1981 Japanese/Australian/New Zealand anime film by Sanrio, based on the story by Shintaro Tsuji. It is said to be a loose retelling of Romeo and Juliet, itself ...more