Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. See the film adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2008 stage production of Hamlet, staring David Tennant as the prince who could not make up his mind and Patrick Stewart as the usurping king.

Produced by Great Performances on PBS

  • http://www.facebook.com/margaret.dalton.31 Margaret Dalton

    This interpretation of “Hamlet” has quickly become my favorite. Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy – “to be or not to be” – was intense while at the same time comes across as unbelievably intimate.

  • Meh


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1444936744 Travis Mason

    Man, tennant literally didn’t even blink

    • http://www.facebook.com/jonnelle Jonnelle Rein

      He couldn’t. The Weeping Angels would get him.

    • http://twitter.com/RebeccaASherman Rebecca Sherman

      “… staring David Tennant”, it even says so in the caption below the video. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jerry-Kuruc/1841239744 Jerry Kuruc

    Dr Who (Tennant) and Prof.X/CPT Picard (Stewart) — what a great version of Hamlet

  • Facebook User

    David Tennant and Patrick Stewart?! niiiiiiiiiiiice.

  • Meh Meh

    I would love to have this available online for my junior English class to watch next year!

    • http://www.facebook.com/dgsweet Jeffrey Sweet

      It’s on DVD.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1428165257 Michael Alber

    Hamlet, or Sons of Anarchy in only a little over three hours.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Snarflepopasaur Tanya Lane

    My favorite Shakespeare play! I’ve seen Gibson and Branagh’s versions. I loved Tennant in “Secret Smile”, so I’m excited to watch this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Melissa-Marie-Fuller/775558488 Melissa Marie Fuller

    Tennant and Stewart. You LITERALLY cant do better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=541010187 Hayley Prychun Rodgers

    Absolutely FANTASTIC! Tennant as Hamlet was inspire (and hilarious) the actors and director showed the humor in the lines and played off each other well, even without lines and only looks. Best production I have seen of the play, didn’t even miss Fortinbras. I was 1.5 hours in and felt like I had been watching only 20 minutes or so. Very, very good.

  • Guest

    we saw the first night of this production at RSC in 2008 it was an amazing..Tennants acting was excellent throughout and we got to meet him afterwards :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/barbara.symonds.503 Barbara Symonds

    We saw the first night of the live stage version of this production in 2008 at RSC Stratford. Tennants performance was excellent .The whole play was well acted and directed.We got to meet Tennant himself afterwards and congratulate him .Brilliant ,& memorable .

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaestroBabs Robert Babs

    It’s not the Kenneth Branagh version, but it’s still pretty great. Tennant and Stewart, you can’t go wrong.

  • Karen Duplissie

    I very much enjoyed this episode of “Shakespeare Uncovered” but am wondering why K. Branagh and his version of “Hamlet” were not represented.

    • CitizenE

      The thing about the Branagh version was that it marked a change in understanding of Hamlet’s character, for whom the term “melancholy” had long meant morose and indecisive, while Branagh’s Hamlet is decidedly bi-polar, manic and depressed by turns, and very, very angry, spitting mad, in literal fact, yet determined to do the right thing. Not a man flawed by a wishy-washy temperment at all. After Branagh’s film production, I saw at least 2 stage productions following that tack.

  • Catherine

    I have seen many versions of this play on film, but I have never seen it live. Up until watching this version, Mel Gibson was my preferred Hamlet. David Tennant is a genius!

  • CitizenE

    There is so much in Hamlet, so it is not surprising that this one lens was as good as it was a bit narrow. My one complaint is that the To Be or Not To Be speech was only discussed in the most cliched understanding of it–a contemplation of suicide. But that is not the only way to look at it. Derek Jacobi once suggested that a way to look at it is that it is something said for Ophelia, whom Hamlet is supposed to meet, to overhear–a statement of the situation he has found himself in–between a rock and a hard place–since she last saw him leaving her room, one shoe on, one shoe off. Another, especially given the idea that Hamlet’s fate is sealed is that this soliloquy rather than suggesting suicide, as the earlier “O that this too too solid flesh” far more aggressively and directly presents the possibility, that Hamlet is really asking himself whether he can be, taking arms against a sea of troubles, or not be, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, given that death, inevitable to his situation, puzzles his will. The soliloquy exists not as a stand alone, but in the context of play, act, and scene, so Jacobi’s idea is especially poignant, given Ophelia’s betrayal, his outraged reaction (remember he warns Ophelia and it can be inferred Polonius to keep his nose out of Hamlet’s business, and Ophelia will in the same scene hear Polonius tell Claudius he will be hiding in Gertrude’s closet after the play, but does not immediately before the play warn him), and the whole interplay between a broken-hearted, almost cosmically dismayed Ophelia, who gives the full measure of Hamlet as the man of his age gone mad and undone, Polonius and Claudius. It is a delicious scene of which the soliloquy is only a part, and better understood thus, I think.

  • disqus_UiAJgmsXAV

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

  • Rachel

    Marvelous! I was totally dazzled by this performance. Great actors, excellent setting! Quite interesting to see it in present-day Denmark instead of the 7th century. This story has much about it that is truly timeless!

  • Raymond Hughes

    HAMLET is not a drama about a man who cannot make up his mind, it is a play about a man going through a spiritual metamorphoses. Below is a true synopses of HAMLET.

    HAMLET is a Duel Structured Drama.
    Its most obvious and conventional structure is the Revenge Tragedy, but
    Shakespeare goes far beyond this run of the mill technique by inventing an
    ingenious Second Parallel Structure that’s derived from Martin Luther’s popular
    book of the time, A SMALL CATECHISM, thus creating the antitheses of Revenge:
    Forgiveness. Shakespeare creates the character, Hamlet, as an Auto-Catechumen,
    putting his main character in a crucible between Denmark’s old and corrupt
    Catholic Institutions and Her new Evangelical Lutheran Doctrine. The play’s
    opening scene, of a ghost wandering the grounds of the castle at Elsinore, is a
    soul without absolution, seeking its redemption. Revenge serves no purpose for
    the dead and Hamlet, being educated in Christianity at Wittenberg University,
    would have known revenge is a base desire. So Hamlet sets out on an inward path
    to redemption.

    Hamlet’s catechism includes the
    ‘…To be or not to be?’ questions. Hamlet questions the hereafter in relation to
    revenge, but he never reaches the metaphysical, he can only struggle with his
    ideas in the abstract. He succeeds in touching upon the metaphysical with the
    questions of ‘…Who is Hecuba to him or he to Hecuba?’. Here Hamlet gets his
    first sense of the Evangelical, but at the end of this soliloquy he reverts to
    his base self, back to desiring revenge. Another step of Hamlet’s catechism is
    to kill off the Sin of Pride and turn away from the Sin of Lust, both these
    sins manifesting itself in the characters of Polonius and his sex-craved
    daughter Ophelia.

    After being expelled from Denmark
    for killing Polonius Hamlet experiences a miracle at sea that saves his life,
    he returns to Elsinore wanting to finish his catechism of redemption started at
    his father’s death. In its climax Hamlet completes his catechism at the
    graveyard asking his final questions about, Yorrick, his father’s court jester.
    Hamlet has an epiphany, he now fully grasps the metaphysical becoming
    Evangelical, redemption is upon him—not needing absolution from a priest—he
    then sets out on a path of forgiveness.

    The epilog—the fencing duel—most
    often mistaken as the climax—is filled with religious symbolism, i.e. the
    chalices of wine, the offering by Hamlet of the chalice of ‘new’ wine to his
    uncle, etc. The play’s summary of the fencing duel is a brilliant duplication
    of the aligning structures, i.e. Laertes, the son of Polonius, fences to exact
    revenge on Hamlet while Hamlet is devoted to bringing forgiveness. Because of
    Hamlet’s Evangelical transformation, Laertes, at his death has an epiphany, he
    understands Hamlet’s Message and forgives him. After drinking the ‘old’ wine
    Hamlet’s mother forgives him upon her death after coming to understand her
    son’s message turning her ‘old’ wine into ‘new’.

  • Maya

    “…the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2008 stage production of Hamlet, starRRRing David Tennant as the prince…”

    I do love you but PLEASE proofread texts before uploading them :/

  • http://anneparsons.tumblr.com/ Ana María

    Tennant a perfect man!