Plays The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations  

Ranker Film
1.8k votes 253 voters 7.1k views 35 items

List Rules Movies based on or adapted from the plays of William Shakespeare using the original text - no modernized versions.

List of the best Shakespeare film adaptations. There is no single human being in the history of entertainment who has spawned more adaptations than William Shakespeare. This list compiles the absolute greatest big screen adaptations of original Shakespeare works. His plays now live on in these major motion pictures, and are ranked by on this list by the community in order of excellence.

Romeo and Juliet began as a tragic play that may have first been published as early as the 1590s. 400 years later, in the 1990s, Baz Luhrmann came adapted the Shakespearean story for his film, Romeo + Juliet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the title roles. Kenneth Branagh has also made more movie adaptations of William Shakespeare plays than just about anyone else between Hamlet, Henry V, and Much Ado About Nothing. The famous Shakespeare drama "Othello" has also been transformed into numerous film adaptations, most notably Tim Blake Nelson's O.

Vote up your favorite Shakespearean adaptation below or add the Shakespeare-based films and movies you love that aren't already on the list.

list ordered by

1
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Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Laurence Olivier, Michael York, Olivia Hussey Romeo and Juliet is a 1968 British-Italian romance film based on the tragic play of the same name by William Shakespeare. The film was directed and co-written by Franco Zeffirelli, and stars ...more

2
74 30
Much Ado About Nothing is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Kate Beckinsale, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves Much Ado About Nothing is a 1993 British/American romantic comedy film based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name. It was adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh who ...more

3
77 41
Hamlet is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Kate Winslet, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal Hamlet is a 1996 Shakespearean tragedy film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars in the titular role as Prince ...more

4
85 49
Romeo + Juliet is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Claire Danes, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harold Perrineau Romeo + Juliet is a 1996 American romantic drama film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It was directed by Baz Luhrmann. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in ...more

5
45 22
A Midsummer Night's Dream is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Michelle Pfeiffer, Christian Bale, Sophie Marceau A Midsummer Night's Dream is a 1999 romantic comedy fantasy film based on the play A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. It was directed by Michael Hoffman. The ensemble cast ...more

6
50 27
Henry V is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Christian Bale, Emma Thompson, Judi Dench Henry V is a 1989 British drama film adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name about King Henry V of England. The film stars ...more

7
38 22
Hamlet is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Christopher Lee, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons Hamlet is a 1948 British film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, adapted and directed by and starring Sir Laurence Olivier. Hamlet was Olivier's second film as director, and also ...more

8
35 22
Richard III is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Robert Downey Jr., Ian McKellen, Annette Bening Richard III is a 1995 drama film adapted from William Shakespeare's play of the same name, starring Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Robert Downey Jr., Nigel Hawthorne, Kristin Scott ...more

9
30 18
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Marlon Brando, Deborah Kerr, John Gielgud Julius Caesar is a 1953 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film adaptation of the play by Shakespeare, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who also wrote the uncredited screenplay, and produced by John Houseman. ...more

10
33 21
Henry V is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Laurence Olivier, Robert Newton, Leslie Banks Henry V is a 1944 British Technicolor film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same name. The on-screen title is The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought ...more

11
32 23
Othello is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Laurence Fishburne, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Sheen Othello is a 1995 film based on William Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name. It was directed by Oliver Parker and stars Laurence Fishburne as Othello, Irène Jacob as Desdemona, and ...more

12
29 20
The Taming of the Shrew is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Michael York The Taming of the Shrew is a 1967 film based on the play of the same name by William Shakespeare about a courtship between two strong-willed people. The film was directed by Franco Zeffirelli ...more

13
36 30
Richard III is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Stanley Baker Richard III is a 1955 British Technicolor film adaptation of William Shakespeare's historical play of the same name, also incorporating elements from his Henry VI, Part 3. It was directed and ...more

14
33 27
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Orson Welles, Roddy McDowall, Alan Napier Macbeth is a 1948 American film adaptation by Orson Welles of William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth.

15
25 19
A Midsummer Night's Dream is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Diana Rigg A Midsummer Night's Dream is a 1968 film of William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Peter Hall. It was the first live-action color film version of the play, unless one ...more

16
31 26
Titus is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Jonathan Rhys Meyers Titus is a 1999 Italian-American-British fantasy thriller film adaptation of Shakespeare's revenge tragedy Titus Andronicus, about the downfall of a Roman general. Starring Anthony Hopkins and ...more

17
27 22
Twelfth Night: Or What You Wil... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Kingsley, Kyra Sedgwick Twelfth Night or What You Will is a 1996 British film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play, directed by Trevor Nunn and featuring an all-star cast. The adaptation is given a northern Central ...more

18
25 22
Much Ado About Nothing is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Nathan Fillion, Amy Acker, Clark Gregg Much Ado About Nothing is a 2012 American romantic comedy film adapted for the screen, produced, and directed by Joss Whedon, from William Shakespeare's play of the same name. The film stars Amy ...more

19
28 28
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Francesca Annis, Keith Chegwin, Jon Finch Macbeth is a 1971 British-American film adaptation of William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth. Directed by Roman Polanski, it retells the story of the Highland lord who becomes King of Scotland ...more

20
19 19
Coriolanus is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Jessica Chastain, Gerard Butler, Ralph Fiennes Coriolanus is a 2011 British film adaptation of William Shakespeare's tragedy Coriolanus, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes in his directorial debut.

21
17 20
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Charlton Heston, Christopher Lee, Diana Rigg Julius Caesar is a 1970 British independent film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play, directed by Stuart Burge from a screenplay by Robert Furnival. The film stars Charlton Heston, Jason ...more

22
18 22
Othello is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Hilton Edwards Othello is a 1952 drama film based on the Shakespearean play, made by Mercury Productions Inc. and Les Films Marceau and distributed by United Artists when released in the United States in 1955. ...more

23
12 16
As You Like It is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Bryce Dallas Howard, Kevin Kline, Alfred Molina As You Like It is a 2006 film adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, based on the play of the same name by William Shakespeare. It stars Bryce Dallas Howard as Rosalind, David ...more

24
15 21
Love's Labour's Lost is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Alicia Silverstone, Kenneth Branagh, Emily Mortimer 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

25
16 24
The Tempest is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina The Tempest is a 2010 American film based on the play of the same name by William Shakespeare, featuring Helen Mirren in the principal role of Prospera. The film is directed by Julie Taymor and ...more

26
11 19
Taming of the Shrew is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Dorothy Jordan The Taming of the Shrew is the first sound film adaptation of the Shakespearean play of the same name. The movie was directed by Sam Taylor, adapted by Taylor from William Shakespeare's play, ...more

27
9 17
Hamlet is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Innokenty Smoktunovsky, Anastasiya Vertinskaya, Vadim Medvedev Hamlet is a 1964 film adaptation in Russian of William Shakespeare's play of the same title, based on a translation by Boris Pasternak. It was directed by Grigori Kozintsev and Iosif Shapiro, ...more

28
14 24
O is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Julia Stiles, Martin Sheen, Josh Hartnett 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

29
14 26
Hamlet is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Bill Murray, Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles Hamlet is a 2000 American film written and directed by Michael Almereyda, set in contemporary New York City, and based on the Shakespeare play of the same name. Ethan Hawke plays Hamlet as a ...more

30
7 17
King Lear is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Donatas Banionis, Juozas Budraitis, Regimantas Adomaitis King Lear is a 1971 Soviet film directed by Grigori Kozintsev, based on William Shakespeare's play King Lear. The Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich composed the score.

31
7 18
Scotland, PA is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Christopher Walken, Amy Smart, Andy Dick 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

32
7 18
Henry IV is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni, Leopoldo Trieste Henry IV is a 1984 Italian drama film directed by Marco Bellocchio. It is based on the Luigi Pirandello play of the same name and has music by Ástor Piazzolla. It was entered into the ...more

33
6 17
The Comedy of Errors is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Roger Daltrey, Wendy Hiller, David Kelly The Comedy of Errors is a 1983 comedy TV movie written by William Shakespeare and directed by James Cellan Jones.

34
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Ranker Video
Helen Mirren, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson Cymbeline is a 1982 comedy drama film directed by Elijah Moshinsky.

35
2 18
Twelfth Night is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations
Vadim Medvedev, Mikhail Yanshin, Georgiy Vitsin Twelfth Night is a 1955 Soviet comedy film by Lenfilm based on Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, or What You Will. Script by Yan Frid. USA release date: March 3, 1956.