Hamlet (1948)

Although criticized by Shakespeare devotees upon its release because of director, producer, and star Laurence Olivier's decision to excise large portions of the text, his cinematic version of Hamlet is widely considered the best out of… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: May 4, 1948
DVD Release Date: September 19, 2000
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Critic Score: 91% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: A well-executed labor of love from star and director Laurence Olivier, Hamlet not only proved that Shakespeare could be successfully adapted to the big screen, it paved the way for further cinematic interpretations.

Kate Cameron
New York Daily News

Altogether Hamlet is one of the most impressive films ever made and, so far as Shakespeare's work is concerned, it need never be done again on stage nor for the screen, as the Olivier production... may stand for all time as THE Hamlet.

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Variety Staff

This is picture-making at its best, and its showing must be done with the dignity it deserves.

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Witney Seibold

Olivier strikes a balance between Hamlet the brooding indecisive human and Hamlet the funny, mincing stage presence. It's one of the better Hamlet performances you'll ever see.

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TIME Magazine

Sir Laurence Olivier's masterful version of the classic.

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Bosley Crowther
New York Times

The matter is settled; the filmed Hamlet of Laurence Olivier gives absolute proof that these classics are magnificiently suited to the screen.

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MFB Critics
Monthly Film Bulletin

[The film] shows the range of imagination and artistic integrity which belong to all Sir Laurence Olivier's work as producer, actor and film director.

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out

Despite winning several Oscars, Olivier's (condensed) version of Shakespeare's masterpiece makes for frustrating viewing.

Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

Laurence Olivier's famous 1948 interpretation of Shakespeare's play suffers slightly from his pop-Freud approach to the character and from some excessively flashy, wrongheaded camera work.

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Tom Hutchinson
Radio Times

Laurence Olivier directed and stars in this astonishing Shakespeare adaptation.

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More reviews for Hamlet

Flixster Audience Score: 81% Flixster User Reviews
Wildaly M
I didn't particularly like this adaptation mainly because of Laurence Olivier's acting. In my perspective, he delivers his lines without emotion and… More
Emily Armstrong
I really like Laurence Olivier and I think he did a great job but still: I BLEEPING HATE HAMLET! Stupid emo kid. The character is just such an inept stuttering… More
Chris Weber
Some consider this to be the definitive screen version of Hamelt, and, while I don't agree with that (and also don't think it should have necessarily… More
Lanning : )
And speaking of Olivier while I'm thinking of it, this <i>Hamlet</i> is all right. But just all right. I've seen better, including Mel… More
Jeremy Smith
The definitive cinematic rendition of Hamlet. However, Kenneth Branagh's film version of the complete Hamlet does bring out the faults of the Olivier… More
John Ballantine
Before Kenneth Branaugh believed that he was the be all and end all of Shakespearean film, we have Olivier actually being the be all and end all of… More