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Buzz In: What Are the Best (and Worst) Shakespeare Adaptations?

Terrence Howard recently revealed that he's producing and starring in a modern-day adaptation of Macbeth, taking the lead role and setting the story in the "exotic island setting" of Puerto Rico. Howard commented, "Yes, it's updated present time, Caribbean. It'll be a nice thing to see Shakespeare under a Caribbean sun."

That could be true, as we've seen Shakespeare set in a wide variety of locations and time periods — from 19th century Tuscany to an American high school in the 1990s (incidentally, a story that will return in the form of an ABC Family TV series, premiering July 7). Some have been pretty straight adaptations with wonderful performances, some have used the language but taken liberties with the visuals, while others have not even used human beings.

What are the best Shakespeare adaptations? What are the ones that make you cringe?


Join The Conversation
bento-barista bento-barista 8 years
I wonder whether the 10 Things I Hate About You series will be any good, especially concerning ABC Family will be airing it.
crazylovevbug crazylovevbug 8 years
LOVE: 10 Things I Hate About You (one of the cutest movies ever) Midsumer Night's Dream (minus Michelle Pheiffer who really was awful in the movie) Romeo + Juliet (Leonardo Dicaprio looks gorgeous and I think the visuals are just beautiful) Much Ado About Nothing (beautifully cast for the most part, but Keanu Reeves just was off) Romeo and Juliet (undeniably fantastic) West Side Story (also undeniably fantastic) She's the Man was pretty awful now that I think about it, but Amanda Bynes is fun to watch.
lizlee89 lizlee89 8 years
I cannot believe no one mentioned "Throne of Blood" or "Antony and Cleopatra" - those are real Shakespeare adaptations. it really annoys me that people think the world began in the 80's - am I the only person who was not completely culturally deprived? I admit, some of the newer ones are good - I like Baz Lurhman's "Romeo + Juliet" and "10 Things I Hate About You." but Shakespeare and his predecessors have been being adapted since movies were invented (for those of you who don't know; over 100 years ago). the worst has to be "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and the absolutely awful "She's the Man" with Amanda Bynes (adaptation of Twelfth Night). unfortunately, my best friend made me go see that with her and I don't think I will ever forgive her...
stellina429 stellina429 8 years
My faves are essentially anything Branagh: Much Ado, Hamlet, and Henry V - all really wonderful, faithful adaptations with just enough of a twist to make them interesting. Julie Taymor's Titus is also spectacular - and I couldn't eat dinner after watching it. Brilliant visually.
Juicylemon Juicylemon 8 years
Much ado about nothing by Kenneth Branagh. A romantic comedy in Tuscany...Everybody looked like they were having a good time.
karen-zoo karen-zoo 8 years
GET OVER IT IS HILARIOUS LOL it's so bad it's good
coulty45 coulty45 8 years
Love: 10 Thing I Hate About You Romeo + Juliet She's the Man (Guilty pleasure) shhhh i'm brilliant! Hate: Midsummer Nights Dream and OMG remember GET OVER IT! HORRIBLE! Kirsten Dunst and Ben Foster
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
I have a soft spot for Luhrman's R+J because of Des'ree's song. I personally think that WEST Side Story was the best updated version of a Shakespeare play and I thoroughly enjoyed the version of Midsummer Night's dream with Clasita Flockhart. I hate and loathe O. It is just piss poor and it screwed up one of my 3 favorite play by Shakespeare.
Nitachequita Nitachequita 8 years
Luna08, that wasn't Jennifer Connelly in Much Ado, it was Kate Beckinsale.
amofoz amofoz 8 years
I HATED 10 Things about You. Such a terrible movie, ugh.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Josh Harnett is on my list as one of the worst actors EVVVVVVVER but I liked "O" ( probably had a lot to do with Mhiki Phiffer)and 10 Things I Hate About You was pretty good too.
Jinx Jinx 8 years
She's the Man was a terrible movie! :rotfl: Like anyone would believe she was a guy! :rotfl: Just sad, sad, sad.
Staceygirl Staceygirl 8 years
I really liked the Macbeth adaptation, Scotland, PA. The worst was She's the Man.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
Loved Taming of the Shrew with Liz Taylor. So funny! and 10 Things and West Side Story were great modern updates
luna08 luna08 8 years
Was Jennifer Connelly in the Emma Thompson "Much Ado"? I have to admit, I loved Romeo + Juliet. Guilty pleasure. :)
Jinx Jinx 8 years
I didn't see O, but I didn't like Romeo and Juliette with Leo Dicaprio. I didn't think modern day works with the story line. Loved the 1960's Romeo and Juliette, it was beautiful.
c4rolin3 c4rolin3 8 years
Definitely West Side Story, Romeo and Juliet and Much a Do About Nothing with Kenneth Branagh. I also thought that Laurence Fishbourne played quite a good Othello... though the production on the whole isn't my favourite.
ranjith ranjith 8 years
hi guys, i have really this is good quit interesting because , here we can decided which is good or bad , and even we can suggest what are steps they has to take to improve the movies
PollyPrissyPants PollyPrissyPants 8 years
Love: Branagh's Much Ado (my all time favourite - he and Thompson as sublime in their roles), Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet, Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night (so many good actors in that one), Branagh's Henry V (the score is SO powerful) and 10 Things (I don't always love updates but I do like that one). And one I'm probably alone on...Zefferelli's Hamlet (yeah - the one with Mel Gibson...I thought he did a fabulous job in a really tough part). Not big on: Romeo + Juliet (still haven't figured out why, just doesn't click for me), Taming of the Shrew (although miscast - hugely entertaining just to watch Burton and Taylor in another movie together...much better version is one a filmed stage version with Meryl Streep and Raul Julia!), Othello (with Fishburne), and Ethan Hawke's Hamlet (that update didn't work for me).
Happsmjc Happsmjc 8 years
Baz's Romeo and Juliet is not only one of my favorite Shakespeare adaptations, but one of my favorite films...I still love it. I cannot read the play without picturing the movie, I think it captured Shakespeare so well. 10 Things I Hate About You strayed much more from the original, but I like it as a movie, maybe not as my favorite adaptation.
Nitachequita Nitachequita 8 years
Agree with West Side Story and Much Ado. Disagree with 10 Things, thought it was horrid. Loved Twelfth Night with Helena Bonham Carter
QueenB75 QueenB75 8 years
LOVE 10 Things I Hate About You, and She's The Man is another guilty pleasure (even though it's pretty corny and kind of a bad movie altogether...)
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 8 years
I love West Side Story, 10 Things I Hate About You. I hated Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, but the Zefarelli R&J was fantastic.
bffbbf4fun bffbbf4fun 8 years
Brannagh's "Much Ado About Nothing" is by far my favorite- perfectly cast, with the exception of Keanu Reeves! I watched for the first time when I was too young to really understand the "Shakespeare," but even at a young age I "got" it b/c the performances were so awesome! I watched a BBC ShakespeaRe-Told version of "MAAN" starring Damian Lewis and Sarah Parish and loved that one as well- very funny.
daise daise 8 years
*also, the last time I watched it - sorry!
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