Watch the Film

Watch the film adaptation of Hamlet, originally broadcast on April 28, 2010, here on the Great Performances Web site.


    Loved it the acting was superb will watch it again

  • Nan Rand

    Excellent performances; grand stage setting; marvelous interpretation. Will watch again (or) how do I find a copy for my own library?

  • Leanna Kysar-Mercer

    David Tennant is beyond amazing!

  • samantha smith

    when is it available in the UK?????!!

  • Raine Gendron

    Oh, what a grand performance! David Tennant proves he is much more than the Doctor (and that’s saying a lot considering he IS the Doctor! My Doctor!) and he does some wonderful acting here in Shakespeare’s finest work. This is a fine cast and very well done by the RSC.

    My only quibble is that I wish the filmed version had been, well, more of a FILM and less static like the stage presentation. Film gives you so much more freedom to move around to different locations, and I wish the director had done even more of this.

  • Heidi

    It was already broadcast in the UK back in December. It was available for a while on the BBC’s iPlayer, but not any longer. DVDs can be purchased directly from the RSC, the BBC, or retail sources like Amazon.

  • Kathleen

    Oh lovely play – this is a great addition to my Hamlet collection. So many brilliant performances that it’s difficult to single anyone out – David Tennant was a joy as always, Sir Patrick Stewart delivered a complex and moving performance that I’m still mulling over, and Oliver Ford Davies redefined Polonius for me.

  • george

    how can i order this? i didn’t know it was coming on but flipped through PBS during ACT II and couldn’t turn it off.

  • Amy

    I watched this last night and loved it. I’ve tried to watch a couple of other interpretations of this play in a modern setting and wasn’t that keen on them, but this version worked for me.

  • david ernst

    Dear Viewers,

    For those looking to purchase the program it is available to order online at http://www.shopthirteen.org. Here is a direct link to the blu-ray version (also available in DVD). Thanks again for watching, and we hope you stay tuned for more GREAT PERFORMANCES!

  • Felonius

    A phenomenal performance, so much talent and energy in the acting. Great interpretation. I really enjoyed the cinematic choice of using one camera and keeping in touch with the idea of a stage performance, while still capitalizing on the fluidity that film allows. Wish some of the lines hadn’t been dropped, but I guess there is something to be said for brevity (at least as Polonius understands it). Jolly good show!

  • David Krancher


    “He talks to the skull of his dead father and it talks back, so the humor should be like Orson Welles, not like Jerry Lewis. Hamlet, on PBS.” I said.

    This, above, is my quibbling statement . . . otherwise, I loved it.
    Thanks for screening this on the tube.
    Will watch it again online.

  • Georgia

    Hamlet already aired in the UK and the DVD and Blu Ray are out now.
    The DVD and Blu Ray are released in the USA on 4th May.
    There’s loads of info at http://www.David-tennant.com and they have the DVDs to pre order too

  • kris

    doesn’t work in switzerland – blimey…. :(

  • kris

    doesn’t work in switzerland…. :(

  • Amanda Rawls

    I saw this last night and immediately pre-ordered the DVD. I love this movie — I wish this group would enact and film more of Shakespeare’s plays, so I could have a whole collection. I wouldn’t need TV ever again!

  • Lynda Davis

    This is the most amazing Hamlet I’ve ever seen. Isn’t it wonderful that in modern dress and with Elizabethan English this play works. Hollywood should hope to do as well. Loved Polonius and understood him better with this performance. Patrick Stewart is as always the most amazing actor. I don’t watch Doctor Who, but loved David Tennant as the tortured Prince of Denmark. Bravo to all.

  • Kathy Douglas

    Any chance that this will be repeated at a later hour?

  • Laura

    I’ve always felt that Shakespeare is something I know I’m supposed to appreciate, and yet watching it at the theater or in movies has never really moved me (where I don’t just watch the characters and hear what they say, but get wrapped up in the experience and the character’s emotions). THIS version of Hamlet moved me. Phenomenal acting! Phenomenal directing, cinematography, art direction, sets, costumes, etc. All of the cast were brilliant and I’ve long been a fan of Patrick Stewart and David Tennant (oh the Doctor!). Not to mention that Tennant is absolutely gorgeous. :-)

    For myself, this is the first time Shakespeare really came to life. Many thanks to all involved in its production and distribution, from a youngish thirty-something.

  • Roger Conner Jr

    Excellent performance, Tennant (with whom I was unfamiliar before, was indeed excellent, and Patrick Stewert, in modern dress comes across as part king, part scheming businessman, excellently done (now I would like to see Stewert play a scheming Wall Street financier, the fit would be perfect!) To Laura, if you want to connect to Shakespeare on film, try Kenneth Branagh, Kate Beckinsale, Emma Thompson and Denzel Washington in the 1993 film “Much Ado About Nothing”, with some great smaller parts by Michael Keaton. It was the first relatively modern Shakespeare film that worked for me.

  • Donnaj

    What a great performance! Watched it initially as a fan girl and further appreciate DT and PS’s talents! Everyone in this production was absolutely amazing!

  • Barbara O’Loughlin

    Outstanding! Excellent performances by the cast, and especially David Tennant – AWESOME! ;-) It’ll be on PBS here in the US for several more showings and I look forward to watching it again and again. Thanks so much for this wonderful production!

  • Mark R. McCallum

    Always leery of modernization but this worked beyond my imaginings, proving time is not out of joint. Top-notch presentation showed how timeless Shakespeare is. Speaking directly to the camera made lines come alive. Riveting acting, awesome presentation. Can’t wait to watch it again. Already pre-odered the DVD.

  • Trxie LaRouge

    Thank Goddess!! David Tennant is WONDERFUL!! Not only is he the BEST DOCTOR EVER but shows his great depth and versatility as a actor. BRAVO!!

  • Alecia Lyons

    How long will Hamlet be available for viewing on this wesite?

  • Connie

    This was brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! The acting was wonderful, and I loved the modernization coupled with the Olde English dialogue. Can’t buy the DVD yet, but I intend to buy it as soon as possible.

  • Corey Hallwachs

    I saw this production in London, although at the time David Tennant was out on a back injury. Edward Bennett who here plays Leartes filled in as Hamlet and he and the entire production was absolutely wonderful. I’ve been looking forward to this filmed production since then and I have not been disappointed by any means. I was curious as to how it would translate to film and it’s just superb! I can’t wait to get my copy on dvd and use it in my Shakespeare class.

  • Debra

    Incredible! They have captured the stage production perfectly even though some changes were made.
    David Tennant was the last enticement to compel me to finally make the trip across the pond to see an RSC production and it was well worth it. Will be making that trip as often as I can in the future as I fell in love with Stratford Upon Avon and the RSC feeds my adoration of Shakespeare as no other company has.
    Have already preordered my DVD!

  • Lisa

    I wanted to see this production in England but was unable to go. Thank you for bringing it to us on PBS! It is a wonderful adaptation (I only wish it had the full text of the play). David Tennant is fantastic.

  • Melissa

    The play was brilliant in person in the UK when I saw it in Stratford, and the movie version is just as fantastic. Amazing performances all around!

  • Chris

    This was absolutely amazing! The entire cast was great but David Tennant was incredible! I am a big fan of Hamlet. I have seen every movie/TV version I could get my hands on and have seen a dozen theater productions. This production was the best, by far. I can’t wait to get the DVD and watch it over and over again.

  • Jason

    I’ve watched this twice now. Once on PBS, again on the website. I really did like this production. Very well done. Sir Patrick Stewart and David Tennant, so very well done. I was surprisingly entertained and impressed with Oliver Ford Davies’ Polonius.

    Thank you BBC, Illuminations, and PBS for bringing this to life and sharing it. I only wish I could’ve seen it live.

  • Mike

    Simply amazing. My attention has never been held for 3 hours before and it was unbelievable. David Tennant is always amazing in everything I have seen. He had brought the sparkle that he puts in all of his work into this wonderful version of Hamlet.

    Patrick Stewart was also brilliant. It was very clever to see a great modern style to the play and banter with the subtext in many scenes were very comical and well played.

    When does this come out on DVD?

  • Rose

    Will this be shown again any time soon? I missed it!!!

  • sarah

    i can’t get it to work, i missed it and people said it was really good :(

  • Louvera

    Thoroughly enjoyed this production of Hamlet. Acting was brilliant. Thank you, PBS, for bringing this to America.

  • Deanna

    I am doing chapter 14 for my Shakespeare Lit. Class. I am not an actress and David Tennant’s brilliant performance shows me how poor an actress I am. You’ve got to love it. Great performance indeed.

  • playwrite27

    One of the best video performances of a Shakespeare play, I’ve ever seen. I’ve read the play, seen several Hamlets on vdeo, including Olivier’s and this is the one that brought Hamlet alive for me, and real as the hand in front of my face.

    Penny Downie blew me away, the character of Polonius seemed so well-defined, Patrick Stewert’s king was cold and scheming, yet haunted by a thin thread of guilt–marvelous!

    Orphelia was much as many a young woman today would be, Laearties also seemed “modern” and reachable. Oh, and that skinny Scottish bloke playing Hamlet wasn’t half-bad either…actually, he was brilliant.

    Probably, for me, the most touchable, realistic Hamlet, I’ve ever encountered. When next I read the play, it will be looked upon with a fresh and newly awakened eyes.

  • michaeld_wnc

    What a total shame. I’m not able to view this video on my iPad or iPhone. PBS: It’s time to graduate your videos to HTML5 and stop depriving so many of your potential viewers because of Flash video.

  • Trojan

    ROFL at the CONDOMS!!!

  • girlie

    agree wholeheartedly with everyone! loved it all, loved everyone! what a cast! i thought i was the only one who noticed the condoms! so funny! tennant played it his way, and oh how wonderful! the dvd is my mothers day present!

  • karen w

    After having had “Hamlet” rammed down my throat in college, I have grown to love it. I was sorry that I couldn’t go to New York (or London) to see Jude Law. Saw a bit of video of it. I’m sure he was excellent. But, I love David Tennant, in Dr. Who, and this was beautiful. Outstanding. All the actors were incredible. Special mention: Penny Downie. Didn’t want it to end. Almost missed this – found it accidentally, saw half of it – and watched the rest on the computer. Was there any promotion? Maybe you could schedule it again. So glad I caught it. Thank you so much.

  • Sara Mac

    LOVED IT! Wow! What a great vision of the play. I cried when Hamlet died.

  • Lamar

    I was lucky enough to see this performance live in Stratford upon Avon. Many thanks to ALL who made this filming possible so many more can enjoy it. The Stewart/Tenant combination is one for the ages!

  • Scully

    Me watching Hamlet “This is my favorite part… no no wait, this is my favorite part… just kidding, this is my favorite part… for realsies, this is my favorite part”

    I have been dying to see this performance so a big thank you to PBS for making that possible!

  • kat

    you’ve obviously never seen any other film version of ‘hamlet’ then? they all look like versions of the stage play. well, except for that monstrosity ethan hawke did. regardless, the films look like the stage directions because that’s how it works best. shakespeare was quite the genius, even in his directions and notations.

    it’s awesome though. actually patrick stewart played the dead king in the first version of ‘hamlet’ i saw too, but he had hair then. i’m not kidding.

  • SW

    amazing fantastic wonderful — i absolutely loved this modernized version of Hamlet (spoken from a formerly die hard traditionalist) – David Tennant was extraordinary as Hamlet, really terrific – please broadcast more of him! – this truly was a Great Performance and i could watch it every day quite literally

  • Minack

    Unfortunately I don’t get it in my region :(
    Anyone know where else I can watch it?

  • Lee

    This is a great production. Thanks

  • michael


  • Andrea

    OMG! This was the most amazing thing I have watched in a Very long time. David was Absolutely awesome. and Patrick Stewart was as well. I am going to buy this in the Am. Thank you!!!

  • Marilyn

    Although TV Guide’s story on this Hamlet led me to look for when it would be shown in my area, I did not find any reference to it – only by accident did I see the last few minutes on a Sunday afternoon. I saw all four people die. So now I only have the memory of the Kenneth Branagh Hamlet film from years ago. I hope this Hamlet will be shown again on PBS. The above comments show that such reshowings would be well deserved. I love David Tennant in Dr. Who and am sorry he left that show. And Patrick Stewart always does Shakespeare so superbly. What could our children do it they were read Shakespeare by their family when 4 years old as Patrick’s brother did for him. What an amazing background for the theater.

  • Stefanie

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this and allowing us to watch it for free. I will certainly be pledging this year!!

  • debbie

    I found this play lacking in so many ways. It doesn’t come close to the Mel Gibson version or even the Lawrence Olivea versions.

  • Lamar Veatch

    I was fortunate to see this LIVE in Stratford-upon-Avon at the RSC. It was the absolute highlight of our 3 weeks in the UK. Many thanks to all who had a hand in getting this recorded so that many more people can appreciate the wonderful work of Tenant, Stewart and the rest of this terrific cast. Hamlet’s never looked so good. It’s amazingly faithful to the stage production!

  • Pat

    I didn’t see this on TV and so appreciate that PBS has left it on the website to watch! I think I’ve watched it four or five times – love it, love it, love it. Only disappointment was the ending – we don’t see Fortinbras come in and take over. The Teacher’s Guide mentions Osric shaking Fortinbras’ hand but that’s not on the film on the website. Are we missing part of it?

    This interpretation of Polonius showed me what a fool he was – I’d heard that mentioned (that he was a fool) in various Shakespeare resources but had not understood the comment until this production.

    David Tennant was wonderful. So was Patrick Stewart and his fake sorrow over the King’s death, especially the beginning court scene. What a liar! The women were terrific – these are such difficult parts because they don’t get to say very much, but they told us a lot about their characters by what they didn’t say. Nice touch that it appeared Ophelia had never been introduced to the King and Queen and the Queen looks Ophelia up and down like she was checking her out!

    And the condoms were too funny!!! Shakespeare’s comments about “ungracious pastors” are certainly contemporary.

    I’ve seen several filmed versions of Hamlet and I thought nothing could come close to the Branagh version – I wish this one had more of the original script, because if it was a complete script, it would win out over Branagh! Although the beauty of Branagh’s setting and costumes are incredible, the problems in the play and the relationships are so much more easily understood when the people saying those wonderful lines look like we do (same dress).

    thank you to everyone involved and a second thank you to PBS for keeping it out here for us to enjoy again and again!

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  • Susan W.

    This is the Hamlet I always knew was waiting in the wings for someone to interpret. The flashes of adolescent angst, the verbal one-upmanship, it all harmonizes to present a young man just recently reaching his majority, only to be confronted with the ultimate test of his character. And Tennant did not flinch from the famous lines (like K. Brannagh) but carried them perfectly, he was transfixing! Bravo!

  • Dave Ferre

    The skull in the graveyard scene is real, belonging to a concert pianist André Tchaikowsky. The whole story is on the website, http://andretchaikowsky.com. Interesting.

  • Dona

    It’s pretty sad that PBS will push to get Canadians to donate and support it’s programing, however, it will not allow us to view this film. Shame on you.

  • Anon

    I agree. I am a Linux user. Flash support for linux is not very good. Please provide videos in an open format.

  • cid

    “Where is Polonius?”

    “IN HEAVEN!”

    The location, situation and delivery of those two lines sums up why this is by far the best Hamlet version ever. Light-years ahead of the Olivier/Gibson/Branagh productions.

  • Cari

    Go to the website amazon.com. It has the film available for purchase.

  • david ernst

    Dear Viewers,

    This GREAT PERFORMANCES production of Hamlet from the Royal Shakespeare Company featuring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart is also available for purchase at http://www.shopthirteen.org, click here for the blu-ray version, or here for the standard DVD.

    The program can also be purchased by calling 1-800-336-1917. We can’t bring this amazing content to you without your support!

    Also, be sure to keep an eye out for Patrick Stewart playing the title role in our upcoming production of Macbeth, scheduled to air Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 9pm (check local listings). We hope you stay tuned for more GREAT PERFORMANCES.

  • wispa

    It will never let me watch the video. Evertime I try I get a message that it is currently unavailable. :(

  • david ernst

    Dear Wispa,

    You may not have the most up-to-date version of Flash. Click the following link to upgrade your Flash Player. http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

    Add another comment if you still have problems. Thanks!

  • Adam Lloyd Bruce

    Patrick Stewart AND David Tennant?!! This is Hamlet especially for sci-fi nerds! I loved every second of it and will recommend it to everyone I know.

  • L Fleming

    Fantastic production, but what is the problem with the playback? This keeps cutting out every couple of minutes and I have to reload the page. Very frustrating to have to interrupt so excellent a performance–particularly in the middle of soliloquys. Grrrrrr. If the player has settings restrictions it would be great to know about them up front.

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  • iKala

    Fantastic, when will the Hamlet film be broadcast again?

  • nell

    Fabulous resource for both students and teachers!

  • Jacob D

    i am in aw great performance I have seen many plays; however, this one is by far the best. I also love the fact that we have both the Doctor and Captain Jean-Luc Picard. by and by a great play congrats.

  • Harriet G.

    I have never liked modern settings for Shakespeare but this was just fabulous, and I’ve decided, why not. It’s the story, not the setting. David Tennant is remarkable. I’ve just discovered him on Dr. Who, which my son got me hooked on. He is just such an amazing actor. I watched “Cassanova” online and was also blown away. He has been a secret in the UK which I hope will be shared.

  • Jen

    I love David Tennant he is awesome

  • ecg

    David’s currently filming his first Hollywood movie, the remake of Fright Night…so he shouldn’t be a secret much longer in the United States (if folks recognize him out of costume.) He’s playing the role of Peter Vincent, which in this remake, is a Las Vegas magician (as opposed to a horror show host in the original 1985 movie)…looking quite unrecognizable and Goth/Criss Angel-like in the few set photos seen at this point of a banner and standees featuring his character. Fright Night is due out on October 7, 2011.

    Granted, it may not be PBS fare…but he should catch the eyes of more Americans…

    There’s always the hope some of his other post-Doctor Who UK work could reach PBS or US theaters…as one of them is a 4-part mini-series that will air during October in the UK (Single Father), and would fit rather nicely into the Masterpiece Contemporary strand that David hosts for PBS…Another is a British Rom-Com that looks to be fairly interesting…

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  • Emily Roesly

    David Tennant was brilliant. His delivery was so much more than the usual spasm of memorized words spoken by other Shakespearean actors. The passion and depth of emotion he breathed into the part brought new understanding and meaning to this timeless story. Thank you for the privilege of viewing this wonderful production.

  • art galleries in us

    Fantastic production, but what is the problem with the playback? This keeps cutting out every couple of minutes and I have to reload the page. Very frustrating to have to interrupt so excellent a performance–particularly in the middle of soliloquys. Grrrrrr. If the player has settings restrictions it would be great to know about them up front.

  • art insurance

    Fantastic, when will the Hamlet film be broadcast again?

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  • Barbara

    Watched Macbeth and it was fabulous. Watched half of Hamlet last evening and tried to log on tonight and it said it was restricted in our area! What gives?

  • Lauren

    When I try to watch this, it says it’s ‘not available in your region due to rights restriction’. Huh? I am able to watch other videos from the Great Performances site…

  • david ernst

    Hi Lauren,

    Unfortunately, you cannot stream the full video of Macbeth if you are outside of North America (U.S. and Canada). It’s a long story, but simply those are the rules we have to follow so we can show it on the web. The DVD is available for purchase at http://www.shopthirteen.org.

  • Daniel

    I live in Jacksonville, Fl., And that is well within the North American Boundarie’s and I am having the exact same problem with the regional right’s issue, Why can I not view this production?

  • Lauren

    I live in Michigan.

  • david ernst


    Thanks for your feedback. I’ll look into it and hopefully we can figure out what’s going on. Just in case, on your end try updating Adobe Flash (download here) and your JavaScript (download here) and see if that helps first. Thank you for your interest in the program!

  • Iris Bunny

    I live in NYC. Was able to watch it last week, but now get the regional restriction message.

  • david ernst

    Hi Iris,

    Yes, we’ve discovered a technical problem and it’s being worked on as we speak. We hope to have the film back up as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience!

  • Sir Kenneth of Hammertown

    Thanks to PBS for posting this. Doctor Who fans take note – Sylvestor McCoy plays the fool in the KIng Lear with Ian McKellen, also can be streamed from this website. If only the David Tennent Dooctor had saved a copy, maybe we could have streamed Love’s Labor’s Won from PBS as well.

  • david ernst

    Hello Viewers,

    We’re happy to announce that the Hamlet video is up and running again. Thank you all for your patience! If you enjoy classical music, please stay tuned for GREAT PERFORMANCES: Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Pierre Boulez Conducts Mahler’s 7th which airs this Wednesday at 9:00pm (check local listings).

  • Sir Kenneth of Hammertown

    Ok, Now I’ve seen it. The technical issues seem to have been fixed. Good for that, although I did find the viewing a bit choppy. truncated. as if every second frame was truncated to make the internet transmission that much easier. But I don;t know. Normally modern dress Shakespeare rates as too muchh THEME with me, not enough embodiemnet of Shakespeares characteers and palys. Not this time. this was good. Shakespeare, like single a malt scotch, is an aquireed taste. One ought first know the play, then shakesererience the differeces by productions. Watch this. It’s good. But for an academics understanding start with Olivier. Although. have you no Ollivier, or he can wait, start here. The skulls in the graveyard looked real.

  • mark

    I have read the play 20+ times in my “complete works of W.S.” . This is the first time I’ve ever seen it performed. Of course it is nothing like I seen it in my “minds eye” while reading, but I enjoyed it tremendously in this modern setting. Bravo, Bravo to all that had any part in it’s production.

  • Tom

    Can we please have closed captioning for these magnificent plays?

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  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for putting this on the web! David Tennant & Patrick Stewart together = Brilliant.

  • Oge

    This is the same guy that plays Macbeth in Macbeth that plays Claudius in Hamlet. He must have a knack for being the villain. But he is such an amazing actor

  • Maki P

    Darn it! I live in LatinAmerica. I can’t watch it live! Why can I watch it online instead? (Darn geographic restrictions!)

  • Anna

    David Tennant makes a great Hamlet, he shows a completely new side of the character. Great interpretation, out of all the Hamlet productions I ‘ve seen, this was my favorite!

  • Josephine Munro

    Re geographic restriction…. you state that this can be seen inside North America (USA and Canada). I live in British Columbia. I support PBS. Yet this is not available when I try to connect. What am I missing??
    Regards, JM.

  • Elizabeth

    This was fabulous. David Tennant and Patrick Stewart were absolutely amazing

  • Matt

    I absolutely loved this movie. I first watched David Tennant act on Doctor Who, he is an amazing actor. After reading the play, i ahve noticed that some scenes are are presented very well in this movie. Although, i didn’t care for the ending very much with the duel and the King’s death, i enjoyed the movie very much.

  • JRie

    David Tennant is beyond good in this adaption of Hamlet. He draws you into the soliloquys so effortlessly…sometimes I found myself hardly breathing! He handles the lines magnificently and really makes them his own. Patrick Stewart does great as well.

    The only thing that I found aggravating about this adaption is Ophelia. They just didn’t seem to take a lot of care with her character, or care too much about the actress they picked either. But Tennant more than makes up for any deficiencies. I went straight out and bought the DVD after I saw it.

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    if you want a copy of Hamlet, let me know,I have taped it.
    So you can have one. Where are you living???
    Best wishes

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  • Cronal

    Patrick Stewart had hair? That fact just rocked my world.

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  • the great white buffalo

    every time i read hamlet i want some potato salad… is that strange?

  • Bill Williams

    I have loved Hamlet ever since my Shakespeare teacher in graduate school first introduced me to the play via the Zeffirell-Mel Gibson adaptation. Since then I have thoroughly enjoyed numerous adaptations, including the Branagh film version, Kevin Kline’s stage adaptation, even the HBO animated segment. But nothing could have ever prepared me for this version.

    David Tennant truly redefines Hamlet for this generation, and Patrick Stewart is absolutely commanding as Claudius and the king – he showcases what brought him to the dance all those years ago! An absolutely breathtaking adaptation. See it on Blu-ray for the most wonderful picture and sound!

  • Steve

    I appreciate the quality of production here, as well as the originality of setting…however, I have to ask – where is Fortinbras? The entire context of the play is lost without his entrance at the end. We are left to wonder, what will happen to Denmark? How will this royal family’s internal turmoil, the “poison in the ear” that Claudius started, impact the entire nation? Without Fortinbras, Hamlet may as well be any troubled young man whose father was murdered. While that is an interesting take, Shakespeare made this family royal for a reason, and their actions have consequences far beyond their own personal experiences…To lose Fortinbras at the end is to remove a very significant aspect of this play, a removal that I am not sure I can support….

  • Stephanie

    I have loved Shakespeare since junior high, and Hamlet since I first saw the Branagh version. This performance was well done, though I was rather let down by Ophelia. Thank goodness there was a strong cast around her. David Tennant, whom I absolutely love as the Doctor played the madness scenes so excellently! The “serious” ones, however, weren’t as strong in my opinion. If I could get a blend of Branagh’s seriousness, and Tennant’s madness, it’d be a perfect Hamlet.

  • Zach

    I am to play Claudius, and I feel as though I am ill prepared considering this is my first play ever. Any suggestions on the part from anyone? I watch Patrick Stewart and he plays a fantastic Claudius but then again I am not Patrick Stewart. I feel as though I need to show a lot more emotion on the “O, my offense is rank…..” monologue but I can’t muster the tears to cry, any suggestions or help would be fantastic.

  • Watch Hockey

    if every second frame was truncated to make the internet transmission that much easier. But I don;t know. Normally modern dress Shakespeare rates as too much THEME with me, not enough embodiments of Shakespeare characteristic and plays.

  • Eileen

    This was the only production of Hamlet that I’ve seen. I loved it, though I’d like a recommendation of another that is more true to the time being portrayed. The modern clothes threw me off a bit, I still found myself getting lost in the acting. Truly great cast. I will watch this again and recommend it to others.

  • Erica

    Until I saw this version (and I’m biased as Tennant is my favorite actor), I always enjoyed the Mel Gibson version. Not sure when exactly Hamlet is supposed to take place so I don’t know how historically correct it is, but it is done in period costume. Also, the Kenneth Brannagh version is excellent…and long. I’ve never seen the complete Lawrence Olivier version, but it is used as a benchmark for classic Shakespeare on film. Hope that helps!

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  • lucy

    i find david tennant to be amazing
    good job my doctor

  • jen

    why isn’t he wearing shoes?

  • Mortal Coil

    After talking with King Hamlet’s ghost, Hamlet decides to act crazy so that King Claudius can’t determine what he is thinking or what he has learned. Toward this end, Hamlet’s clothing is described as disheveled and out of sorts. Ophelia states it in this way:

    “My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
    Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;
    No hat upon his head; his stockings fouled,
    Ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle;
    Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
    And with a look so piteous in purport
    As if he had been loosèd out of hell
    To speak of horrors—he comes before me.”

    What you see in this performance of Hamlet is an interpretation of this.

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  • Matt

    Superior acting. Patrick Stewart never sounds like he’s reciting. Tennant has the acting capacity to play Hamlet’s many modes and intonations. The rest of the cast is also formidable. My only qualm DON’T MESS WITH THE TO BE OR NOT TO BE SOLILOQUY!!!!!!!!

  • reader101

    What the heck is up with the setting, wardrobe and speech none of it flows together at all, I was so confused on what time era to place this movie in. I was distracted with the fact that their speech never once fit into their clothing or setting, the acting was great and I found hamlet to be very funny and convincing in the act of being crazy. But the one room where everything took place also bothered me, I think if their was more room to move about and have a little bit more scenery it would of made the movie a little better. But again I wasn’t to impressed with the way the whole movie didn’t fit any time era. When I think of hamlet I think of old age, swords, armor, castle, horses, war etc but this was like a spin on modern day and sort of kind of old age, just very confusing.

  • m.scott

    I agree with you it is the best and i am going to watch over again. I loved david tennant when he played in doctor who which is still my fav show. i love watching The Great Performances because show alot of great shows and plays.

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  • Drew

    HAMLET! Look no further this is definitive! Question- how can you not love the Royal Shakespeare Company? Really Shakespeare must needs be allegorical and brought into a modern theme- how else is one to ignite passion for it? Like Opera you need to evolve and ask- how do I reach a new audience/generation? Again most excellent! continue to bring us more Great Performances like this!

  • Jackie Martin

    Gertrude’s reaction to Claudius asking her not to drink… I’d never seen that sort of interpretation… she seems to know what’s in the cup.

    Also, how she follows Laertes after Hamlet’s apology and Laertes’ acceptance… She seems to know that something is about to transpire. I love this interpretation of Gertrude.

    I don’t get Patrick Stewart’s shrug though…

  • Pamela

    Watching for maybe the fifth (?!) time, I’ve drawn the same conclusion as at the first viewing: David Tennant is the best. Hamlet. EVER. Thank you, PBS. And everyone in the production.

  • m.c.w.

    i agree and i just wanted to add to your comment about DW, david tennant has been by far my favorite doctor with matt smith runner up, and i am excited to note that he portrays an excelent hamlet. i wonder what it would have been like had he played macbeth, in Macbeth! it’s a bit more bloody, but his naturally scottish accent would have been handy.

  • daniel


  • Jenna

    Is it weird that I have this bookmarked and watch it A LOT? I LOVE this version.

  • KingJimmy

    I really don’t think this is how shakespeare wanted Hamlet to be performed

  • Allie

    Honestly, David Tennant’s portrayal of Hamlet is the best I’ve ever seen. Hamlet is my favorite Shakespeare play, and it has been done so much justice here. Not speaking as a Whovian or even a plain old Tennant fan. I’m speaking as a viewer and admirer of this play.

  • fred

    I don’t get it. It says “Watch the film,” but I can’t watch the film.

  • Fawn Kruger

    Yes of course unplugging your router/modem and back on will work. Just logging in to your isp again will work, or anything that changes your ip number will work.

  • david ernst

    Hi Fred,

    Try clicking on the center of the picture and a “play” symbol should appear. Click play and enjoy the show.

    Thanks for your comment.

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  • JesusFreak4evr

    riiiiiggghhhhttttt. he wouldve been AMAZIN n Macbeth. and yes hes the BEST DW (nct 2 the 10th tht is). lol i watched this 4 my Shakespeare class at school (im 15) and was like, “HOLY COW!!!! DAVID TENNAT!!!!!” when i saw him. lol was a welcome surprise 2 c an awesome actor i know playin somethin else totally cool. lol

  • Jere Shangraw

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  • Miracle2011

    Simply marvelous performances…truth and justice prevail and Hamlet’s plot reigns TRUE!

  • Lucy Lee

    I first read Hamlet my junior year in high school, and I loved it then. Now that I’m in graduate school I don’t have a lot of time for reading or watching for pleasure. I took 3 hours of my day to watch this (and read along with the text) and it was an amazing decision. I laughed, cried, and everything in between. Amazing and thanks for sharing this performance, it is indeed a Great!

  • Alex

    I took the barefoot thing to be an act of defiance. But it could be to emphasize his mental state.

  • Alice

    After I saw this version of Hamlet I was speechless. It brings a whole new dimension to the play that I have never seen before. This movie actually moved me to tears at one point, for the first time in my life a movie has made me cry. The acting goes above and beyond anything I have seen before.

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  • kendra

    “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space…”

    Well, it is bigger on the inside ;)

  • Kyra

    I’m so glad I found this site! I’ve been wanting to watch this production for a very long time! David Tennant + Patrick Stewart = Brilliant!

  • Melissa Salter

    Only bad part is that I can’t watch it in Canada.

  • ShakespeareFan

    That is a nice pun/joke! I must say!

  • capitolgaming

    Its my favorite Movie and done superb acting in this video.


  • Ken Lockridge

    Can’t go wrong with Jean-Luc Picard and Gandolf.

  • Julianne Louise

    Boy, do I love seeing Shakespeare performed well!

  • Myrle Minette

    It was great meeting you at SW! Great job with all the organization. Keep in touch!

  • Eda Takemura

    Really like this post. As a teacher in school it is important to keep content fresh and engaging, and moving away from dry bullet points is a fast, easy and practical way to do that.

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  • Lakiesha Conolly

    Was only able to see the first half. Loved it!Are you able to schedule again after Dec 25th?

  • LadyBlue

    LOVE Sir Patrick Stewart!! LOVE David Tennant!!!
    PBS, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!! More Sir Patrick Stewart!!
    And please PLEASE PLEASE – - bring MORE Tennant series and Shakespeare performances to American television!!!

    This DVD is on my “Gotta Have It!!!” list!!!

  • Dan Eckenrode

    I loved the acting, and the production was great overall. However, if I were to change anything I would keep it in the original time period of the play. I’m not usually a big fan of modernizations.

    But still, Tennant is my favorite actor, Shakespeare is my favorite playwright, and Hamlet is my favorite play. I’d like to see more remakes in the future, perhaps The Merchant of Venice.

  • Hamlet Jr.

    wish it gotta sub-title… but its great so far

  • Stickybeak

    This “Hamlet” was beyond excellent. I loved the way everyone was dressed, the mixed cast, the creepy feeling that everyone was being watched via hidden camera, the acting, everything. And while I don’t especially like “Doctor Who” (the ongoing series), I thought the pairing of Tennant and Stewart was insanely brilliant. (As someone said earlier this is a version for sci-fi fans, lol.) I’ve read a couple other works by Shakespeare but this is the first time I’ve read and watched “Hamlet”. Thanks for the wonderful introduction PBS.

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  • B. Riose

    A wonderful performance from the actors, but between the direction and the editing of the text they disrupted the original gradual increase in the pacing in the play. It seemed to speed up so fast towards the end that it felt rushed and anti-climatic.

    The camera gimmick didn’t work at all. They were an unnecessary distraction, and if you’re going to have modern CCTV cameras, then why does Hamlet have an obsolete 8mm film camera? Especially annoying when he is talking to it live, which we see as developed film, complete with computer generated color grading and film scratches.

  • Julius Darocha

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  • Karen

    What about Kenneth Branagh’s version? It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I remember it having a film feel to it.

  • Joannie

    If you haven’t read Hamlet, that needs remedy, besucae Shakespeare as literature beats any stage or screen interpretation. I also liked the Olivier version, as well as the Branaugh, less than the Mel Gibson, which was loud. I’ve reviewed the play, not the movie, on my blog.

  • Joanna

    You will definitely have to read the play since the taheecr asks for specific text references. However, since Shakespeare can be real rough for some people, I suggest you try reading through it and if it doesn’t make sense go to your local library and see if you can find a movie on it. Watch the movie so you can get the basic idea behind the story. Then start at the beginning and read the play. You should be able to understand it a little better once you have some visuals.Keep in mind that Hamlet is actually a really great story! Don’t let Shakespeare’s writing style discourage you from loving his stories.

  • Juan

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  • Anna

    I can’t watch it, I have to sign in…..

  • david ernst

    Hi Anna,

    It appears to be working on our end and there is no “sign in” required. Please clarify what error messages you may be getting. Also, sometimes it helps to try a different browser.

  • Anna

    it says
    The server www-tc.pbs.org:80 needs a user name and a password. The server says: Cover Ingest.
    I have tried internet explorer and Google chrome, Oh sorry I just read your info thing and I think I found the problem, I am from Denmark, I think that’s why.

  • Charis Macie

    For awhile, I participated in a project which aimed to make an electronic “braille” system for blind people a single character which would change dot heights without having to move your fingers.

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  • Duitbyk

    Lucky for me to found your site. Now I know why are so many people love this movie.

  • AndreaK

    Kenneth Branagh’s version is SUPERB. LOVED it. But, David Tennant is my favorite actor…so…

  • Staylo Pictures

    Best Polonius I’ve ever seen.

  • Derby

    I have to say this was a lot easier to watch than it was to read. It was a beautiful movie and the writing was also beautiful just kept falling asleep. I will be watching this again and again. Will be sharing with my son also

  • Nick

    You know, Sean Pertwee (son of Jon Pertwee) played MacBeth on TV in 1997 It’s *pretty* good, if somewhat Doctor Who-ish (the effects bring to mind the McCoy era), and it takes place in a strange, Mad Max-like future.

    I have it on tape. It definitely takes a little getting used to.

  • ShakespeareFan

    Wow! Probably the best version of Hamlet– and one of the best Shakespeare plays I’ve seen performed. Great acting– I highly reccomend watching this.

  • Wanda

    Branagh’s version is EXCELLENT!

  • Maxwell

    It was simply a brilliant adaptation of Hamlet, well done. David Tannent performance was excellent, had goose bumps watching him playing Hamlet, remind me of someone.In my head I as screening out say the magical word alas it wouldn’t be so, the rest of the cast were excellent as well they gave some good performances job well done. The film was so marvelous I have to watch it again, loved it.

  • anonymous

    This one. What this one says.

  • 윤예빈

    Why do we need to log in to watch a free video? Lame.

  • L. Loten

    The video was streaming nicely until today.
    Now I am being asked for a log in username and password, but I’m not given any direction as to how to acquire one.
    What is going on?

  • L. Loten

    I am having the same problem, just three months later.
    I am from Canada and have been watching clips of the film on line with no problem.
    However, it is now asking for a user name and password.
    I get the same error message, “Cove Ingest”.
    What can I do?
    I have tried in Firefox and Safari, neither are working.
    Can you help?

  • L. Loten

    Please, tell me how to watch this movie! I have sent an email to the feedback address but it bounced back.

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  • L.Loten

    Dear Mr. Ernst –

    Can you please take a moment to reply to my queries about streaming problems into Canada? I am in the Toronto area and steaming has just stopped (requiring authentication username and password) from all machines (mac and pc) that both I and my students are tryin to use.

    Have you made changes to your regional coverage?

    We just love this production of Hamlet and the students have been watching it at home as part of our in class unit.
    We have yet to see the ending and would really appreciate continued access to the content.

    Thank you –
    L. Loten

  • Nayyef

    Hi can you send me a copy of Hamlet and its analysis, please?

  • Rebecca

    Hello. I am a lover of Shakespeare and thought this Hamlet to be a very good production. I own the very fine production of Macbeth via iTunes and was hoping this fine production of Hamlet would be made available in that way. I hope to hear from you soon.

  • Ugh

    I have to watch this for Literature class… why do they always make us watching 3 hour long boring things where you can’t even understand a single word said…………………………

  • Eden Craig

    Because they are brilliant things that will improve your mind and cultural sensitivity and make you a better citizen. Whether you like it or not.

  • bee stone

    Hi Ugh- I have a solution for you- get a copy of Hamlet in the Shakespeare Made Easy collection. It had a side-by-side translation in normal English & you’ll totally understand it! I was on the same situation and this saved my tail. I fell in love w/Shakespeare once I knew what the heck he was saying!

  • Batman

    I absolutely loved this version; it made me laugh, it made me cry…it’s probably the only thing I’ll ever be happy to have to write an essay about. Major thumbs up.

  • hi! :)

    also realize that David Tennant, the coolest british actor ever, is in this.

  • George Washington

    I can’t believe I’m being forced to watch this garbage for a stupid essay. How can people enjoy this crap all they do is just talk fast and switch everything around like yoda.

  • Theresa

    Why do the captions not work on this?

  • American

    Dear George Washington;

    If that is your real named you have shamed the man you were named after. You appear to be shinning of example of why a good portion of the world hates Americans.

  • Sam

    It’s not as difficult as you think it is, I promise. Shakespeare’s pretty direct in what he’s talking about, English teachers like to think that there’s a whole lot of depth to what he’s saying and that it’s all incredibly high minded, but it’s really not. You have to remember that when Shakespeare first wrote these plays, people from all manners of life came to see it without any sense of the story. If you’ve seen The Lion King, you’re already way ahead of everyone who came to see this when it first showed and the Globe. And it’s all in English, which I’m assuming is your first language, and you’ve had some schooling which is more than you can say for the groundlings who stood at the foot of the stage.

    Shakespeare doesn’t try to trick you, ever. He didn’t have the desire to do that because he knew his audience was mostly uneducated people so he had to write for them. He’s just talking, and I know the language is different, but it’s because for your whole life you’ve been told it is, when frankly it’s not. I mean look at Hamlet’s famous soliloquy;

    “To be or not to be–that is the question”

    Okay well that’s simple enough, “to be” we know that he’s talking about himself because no one else is there and in order for him “to be” he’s got to be alive. So he’s saying, “To be alive, or not to be alive. That’s the question”.

    “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
    And by opposing end them.”

    Now that sounds all fancy, but it’s not, “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” break it down, “If you think about it, is it better to suffer the pain and general suckyness of being a prince and future king or…” And then he goes on to say, “Or take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them.” Well that’s about as depressing as it sounds, “Or is it better to give up by ending it all.”

    And so on and so forth, that whole soliloquy is him deciding whether or not it’s worth it to kill himself. And this is an idea that we still talk about it, people think it all the time, should I keep fighting, or just give up? Is it worth it to keep fighting?

    The only difference between understanding Shakespeare and say…a John Green novel, is that you have to take the time to break it down sometimes. That’s all. And it helps so much to hear it. And trust me, be happy you’re watching this movie. Because you could be watching a really poorly done live version with actors who can’t perform Shakespeare at all, and then you’d be in the audience wondering if it’s worth it to keep watching it or to pluck out your own eyes.

  • Briana

    I loved you for pointing out that Shakespeare isn’t as difficult as our high school English teachers made us think. And then you went and mentioned John Green in passing. You sound like an awesome person.

  • Caroline

    One man’s garbage is another man’s 400-year-old masterpiece.

  • joshua womack

    Interesting and unique movie. I can’t wait to see what happens at the end, but i don’t think I will watch this movie again.

  • Brandee Sundblad

    Be thankful they are letting you watch it, rather than have to read it. It’s much more difficult to understand if you have to read it. Which I did. I’m following up with watching a reenactment of it just so I’m sure I understand the material and I am also reviewing online summaries of Hamlet. No matter how much you don’t want to do this assignment, education is important and every assignment given has it’s purpose.

  • sarabi

    well said

  • bray

    this movie is long and stupid

  • Ann

    You should be grateful that an english teacher lets you watch it. I’m in my 20’s and just watched it because I WANTed to. Children, ugh. Btw, David Tennant & Patrick Stewart <3

  • Shea

    I thought this production was pretty brilliant. I love when a director sticks (mostly) to the original script, yet gives it modern context. It makes it a lot more understandable and accessible. While I appreciate more traditional productions, this is much more enjoyable to me.

  • john parker

    I have a kindle fire through which I’ve been trying to watch the great performances recent broadcast of Remnant’sHamlet through the pbs/great performances websites. But whenever I attempt to start it, the video either skips or freezes completely. I’ve had no similar trouble with the broadcast playback of Patrick Stewart’s Macbeth which started up and played beautifully. WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

  • Athena

    I absolutely love Shakespeare’s works! I am 12 and watching this partly because I want to and partly because it has David Tennant, the best Scottish actor EVER, in it. He does a perfect British accent and I couldn’t believe it when I found out he was Scottish. Also, please respect Shakespeare’s works in your comments, even if your one of those people who don’t appreciate classical literature.

  • Agreed

    I agree. Shakespeare isn’t that difficult to understand. If you can’t understand Shakespeare’s works, your thick.

  • Jorge

    The video is having “technical difficulties” :(

  • JCS

    You’re a rich and beloved blessing to every English teacher. What a great treat to be able to watch this brilliant production on line!

  • I agree

    I agree this is a wonderful production. However, it is spelled “online” not “on line”. Sorry, I’m sort of obsessive-compulsive about obvious spelling errors.

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