Adaptations The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays  

Ranker Film
1.4k votes 309 voters 8.3k views 29 items

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.

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The Lion King is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
The Lion King Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons, Matthew Broderick Hamlet The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical epic film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd animated feature in the Walt Disney ...more

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10 Things I Hate About You is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
10 Things I Hate About You Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gabrielle Union, Heath Ledger The Taming of the Shrew 10 Things I Hate About You is a 1999 American teen romantic comedy-drama film. It is directed by Gil Junger and stars Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The romantic comedy ...more

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West Side Story is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
West Side Story Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, John Astin Romeo and Juliet West Side Story is a 1961 American romantic musical drama film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn ...more

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She's the Man is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
She's the Man Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, Jessica Lucas Twelfth Night She's the Man is a 2006 American romantic comedy film directed by Andy Fickman, inspired by William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night. The film stars Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, ...more

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Tromeo & Juliet is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Tromeo & Juliet Ian Fraser Kilmister, Debbie Rochon, Charis Michelsen 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 ...more

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Ran is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Ran Tatsuya Nakadai, Susumu Terajima, Jinpachi Nezu King Lear Ran is a 1985 Japanese-French jidaigeki epic film directed and co-written by Akira Kurosawa. The film stars Tatsuya Nakadai as Hidetora Ichimonji, an aging Sengoku-era warlord who decides to ...more

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Gnomeo & Juliet is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Gnomeo & Juliet Ozzy Osbourne, Emily Blunt, Hulk Hogan Romeo and Juliet Gnomeo & Juliet is a 2011 British-American-Canadian 3D computer-animated romantic comedy family film based on William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. The film was directed by Kelly ...more

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Coriolanus is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Coriolanus Jessica Chastain, Gerard Butler, Ralph Fiennes Coriolanus Coriolanus is a 2011 British film adaptation of William Shakespeare's tragedy Coriolanus, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes in his directorial debut.

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Kiss Me Kate is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Kiss Me Kate Ann Miller, Keenan Wynn, Kathryn Grayson The Taming of the Shrew Kiss Me Kate is the 1953 MGM film adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name. Inspired by The Taming of the Shrew, it tells the tale of musical theater actors, Fred Graham and Lilli ...more

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O is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
O Julia Stiles, Martin Sheen, Josh Hartnett Othello O is a 2001 American drama film, and a loose modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's Othello. The film's intended release date was April 1999, but due to the Columbine High School massacre, ...more

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Strange Brew is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Strange Brew Max von Sydow, Rick Moranis, Mel Blanc Hamlet Strange Brew is a 1983 Canadian comedy film starring the popular SCTV characters Bob and Doug McKenzie, portrayed by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis, who also served as co-directors. Co-stars ...more

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Love's Labour's Lost is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Love's Labour's Lost Alicia Silverstone, Kenneth Branagh, Emily Mortimer Love's Labour's Lost Love's Labour's Lost is a 2000 adaptation of the comic play of the same name by William Shakespeare, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. It was the first feature film to be made of this ...more

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Romeo Must Die is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Romeo Must Die Grace Park, Aaliyah, DMX Romeo and Juliet Romeo Must Die is a 2000 American martial arts action film directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak in his directorial debut, and also fight choreography by Corey Yuen, and starring Jet Li and Aaliyah. ...more

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Forbidden Planet is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Forbidden Planet Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis, Walter Pidgeon The Tempest Forbidden Planet is a 1956 American science fiction film from MGM, produced by Nicholas Nayfack, directed by Fred M. Wilcox and starring Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren ...more

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My Own Private Idaho is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
My Own Private Idaho Keanu Reeves, Jim Caviezel, River Phoenix Henry IV, Part 1 My Own Private Idaho is a 1991 American independent drama film written and directed by Gus Van Sant, loosely based on Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V, and starring ...more

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Chicken Rice War is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Chicken Rice War Kevin Murphy, Tanya Chua, Pierre Png 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 ...more

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Big Business is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Big Business Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, Seth Green The Comedy of Errors Big Business is a 1988 American comedy film farce starring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin. The movie revolves around two sets of identical female twins who were mismatched at birth, with one ...more

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The Bad Sleep Well is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
The Bad Sleep Well Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Chishū Ryū 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 ...more

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Scotland, PA is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Scotland, PA Christopher Walken, Amy Smart, Andy Dick 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

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Basilisk: The Serpent King is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Basilisk: The Serpent King Yancy Butler Richard III

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Let the Devil Wear Black is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Let the Devil Wear Black Mary-Louise Parker, Jacqueline Bissett, Norman Reedus Hamlet Let the Devil Wear Black is a 1999 thriller film directed by Stacy Title.

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The Sea Prince and the Fire Ch... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
The Sea Prince and the Fire Child Keiko Han, Tōru Furuya, Kenji Utsumi 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, ...more

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Deliver Us from Eva is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Deliver Us from Eva Gabrielle Union, LL Cool J, Meagan Good The Taming of the Shrew Deliver Us from Eva is a 2003 American romantic comedy film starring LL Cool J and Gabrielle Union, revolving around LL's character Ray being paid to date a troublesome young lady named Eva. To ...more

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King of Texas is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
King of Texas Patrick Stewart, Lauren Holly, Marcia Gay Harden King Lear King of Texas is a 2002 drama western film written by Stephen Harrigan and directed by Uli Edel.

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A Thousand Acres is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
A Thousand Acres Michelle Pfeiffer, Michelle Williams, Jessica Lange 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 ...more

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Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a ... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss Phil Nibbelink, Chip Albers, Michael Toland Romeo and Juliet Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss is a 2006 American animated romantic fantasy film loosely following the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. The film is about two star-crossed ...more

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Love Is All There Is is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Love Is All There Is Angelina Jolie, Joy Behar, Connie Stevens Romeo and Juliet Love Is All There Is is a 1996 romantic comedy film directed by Joseph Bologna and Renée Taylor, who also both star in the movie.

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Men of Respect is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
Men of Respect Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Rod Steiger MacBeth Men of Respect is a 1990 crime drama film, an adaptation of William Shakespeare's play Macbeth. It stars John Turturro as Mike Battaglia, a Mafia hitman who climbs his way to the top by killing ...more

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My Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
My Kingdom Richard Harris, Lynn Redgrave, Paul McGann Richard III My Kingdom is a 2001 British crime film directed by Don Boyd and starring Richard Harris, Lynn Redgrave and Jimi Mistry. It premiered at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival but failed ...more