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Shakespeare's tragic tale of the rise and fall of ambitious 12th-century Scottish warrior MacBeth has proven irresistible to filmmakers. Orson Welles was so anxious to transfer the play to the screen that he acceded to the demands of his parent studio, Republic pictures, that he shoot his version of MacBeth in 23 days on standing B-western sets. The result may not be the best-ever cinematic MacBeth, but it's certainly one of the most moody and atmospheric. Director Welles naturally casts star Welles in the title role, with his old radio colleague Jeanette Nolan as Lady MacBeth (her… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Only a few of the Bard's best lines are audible. The rest are lost in strained, dialectic gibbering that is only sound, not prose."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"One of the director's most personal creations, it's a courageous experiment with a craggy barbaric splendor all its own."
‑ Elliott Stein, Village Voice
"A fascinating endeavor."
‑ Phil Hall, Film Snobbery
"The movie is so fragmented that no real interpretation of the play ever coagulates. As with all of Welles' films, however, there are a number of memorable moments."
‑ Douglas Pratt, DVDLaser
"It's Orson- over darmatic and bold- the way Macbeth should be"
‑ Emily Blunt, Blunt Review
"Stark, intermittently brilliant."
‑ Steve Daly, Entertainment Weekly
"There is force in this rough, hasty rendering; the sheer speed of the pacing gives it a quality of crushing delirium."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Welles brings his usual first-rate shadows, mist, and deep compositions, but Macbeth is both strangely pat and frequently hammy otherwise."
‑ Gabe Leibowitz, Film and Felt
"The film has a jagged, noir-ish aspect that makes it a powerhouse."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Underbudgeted but frequently brilliant version of the play."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Wonder-Boy Welles has an imaginative way with a camera."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Adventurous film-making that takes risks, and full of imaginative flourishes."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Powerhouse performance from Orson Welles as the troubled Prince."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"A triumph of cinematic imagination over the limited resources of the parsimonious Republic Pictures Studio, which originally butchered the film and released it with a poor soundtrack."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Welles's bulky presence makes the ambitious egomaniac all too credible, but lack of time gives a constricted air with no sense of a world outside."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for Macbeth on Rotten Tomatoes