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The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays

Updated June 14, 2019 2.8k votes 368 voters 10.6k views29 items

List RulesFilm 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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  • 1
    Tromeo & Juliet is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    117
    46

    Tromeo & Juliet

    Ian Fraser Kilmister, Debbie Rochon

    Released1997

    Directed byJames Gunn, Lloyd Kaufman

    Romeo and Juliet?

  • 2
    The Lion King is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    145
    84

    The Lion King

    Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons

    Released1994

    Directed byRob Minkoff, Roger Allers

    Hamlet

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  • 3
    Gnomeo & Juliet is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    49
    35

    Gnomeo & Juliet

    Ozzy Osbourne, Emily Blunt

    Released2011

    Directed byKelly Asbury

    Romeo and Juliet

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  • 4
    O is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    74
    83

    O

    Julia Stiles, Martin Sheen

    Released2001

    Directed byTim Blake Nelson

    Othello

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  • 5
    10 Things I Hate About You is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    86
    105

    10 Things I Hate About You

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gabrielle Union

    Released1999

    Directed byGil Junger

    The Taming of the Shrew

  • 6
    Love's Labour's Lost is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    51
    59

    Love's Labour's Lost

    Alicia Silverstone, Kenneth Branagh

    Released2000

    Directed byKenneth Branagh

    Love's Labour's Lost

  • 7
    Forbidden Planet is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    47
    57

    Forbidden Planet

    Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis

    Released1956

    Directed byFred M. Wilcox

    The Tempest

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  • 8
    West Side Story is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    75
    97

    West Side Story

    Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno

    Released1961

    Directed byJerome Robbins, Robert Wise

    Romeo and Juliet

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  • 9
    Romeo Must Die is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    47
    62

    Romeo Must Die

    Grace Park, Aaliyah

    Released2000

    Directed byAndrzej Bartkowiak

    Romeo and Juliet

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  • 10
    My Own Private Idaho is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    39
    62

    My Own Private Idaho

    Keanu Reeves, Jim Caviezel

    Released1991

    Directed byGus Van Sant

    Henry IV, Part 1

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  • 11
    Scotland, PA is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    28
    46

    Scotland, PA

    Christopher Walken, Amy Smart

    Released2001

    Directed byBilly Morrissette

    Macbeth

  • 12
    The Bad Sleep Well is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    29
    53

    The Bad Sleep Well

    Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura

    Released1960

    Directed byAkira Kurosawa

    Hamlet

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  • 13
    Big Business is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    21
    42

    Big Business

    Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin

    Released1988

    Directed byJim Abrahams

    The Comedy of Errors

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  • 14
    Chicken Rice War is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    20
    42

    Chicken Rice War

    Kevin Murphy, Tanya Chua

    Released2000

    Directed byChee Kong Cheah

    Romeo and Juliet
  • 15
    King of Texas is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    15
    36

    King of Texas

    Patrick Stewart, Lauren Holly

    Released2002

    Directed byUli Edel

    King Lear

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  • 16
    The Sea Prince and the Fire Ch is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    14
    40

    The Sea Prince and the Fire Child

    Keiko Han, Tōru Furuya

    Released1981

    Directed byMasami Hata

    Romeo and Juliet

  • 17
    She's the Man is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    54
    111

    She's the Man

    Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum

    Released2006

    Directed byAndy Fickman

    Twelfth Night

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  • 18
    Love Is All There Is is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    12
    38

    Love Is All There Is

    Angelina Jolie, Joy Behar

    Released1996

    Directed byJoseph Bologna, Renée Taylor

    Romeo and Juliet

  • 19
    Basilisk: The Serpent King is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    16
    45

    Basilisk: The Serpent King

    Yancy Butler

    Released2006

    Directed byStephen Furst

    Richard III

  • 20
    Kiss Me Kate is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    28
    68

    Kiss Me Kate

    Ann Miller, Keenan Wynn

    Released1953

    Directed byGeorge Sidney

    The Taming of the Shrew

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  • 21
    Strange Brew is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    18
    50

    Strange Brew

    Max von Sydow, Rick Moranis

    Released1983

    Directed byRick Moranis, Dave Thomas

    Hamlet

  • 22
    Ran is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    32
    76

    Ran

    Tatsuya Nakadai, Susumu Terajima

    Released1985

    Directed byAkira Kurosawa

    King Lear

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  • 23
    Coriolanus is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    24
    70

    Coriolanus

    Jessica Chastain, Gerard Butler

    Released2011

    Directed byRalph Fiennes

    Coriolanus

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  • 24
    Let the Devil Wear Black is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    17
    53

    Let the Devil Wear Black

    Mary-Louise Parker, Jacqueline Bissett

    Released1999

    Directed byStacy Title

    Hamlet

  • 25
    Deliver Us from Eva is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Modern Versions of Shakespeare Plays
    15
    51

    Deliver Us from Eva

    Gabrielle Union, LL Cool J

    Released2003

    Directed byGary Hardwick

    The Taming of the Shrew

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