Hamlet (1996 film)

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Hamlet is a 1996 film version of William Shakespeare's classic play of the same name, adapted and directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars in the title role as Prince Hamlet. It co-stars Derek Jacobi as King Claudius, Julie Christie as Queen Gertrude, Kate Winslet as Ophelia, Michael Maloney as Laertes, Richard Briers as Polonius, and Nicholas Farrell as Horatio.

The film is notable as the first unabridged theatrical film version of the play. The complete film runs just over four hours. The longest version of the play prior to the 1996 film was the 1980 BBC television version starring Derek Jacobi, which runs three-and-a-half hours. A shorter edit of the Branagh film, approximately two-and-a-half hours long, was shown in some markets.

Although the dialogue is unchanged, the play's setting is updated to the 19th century. Blenheim Palace is the setting used for Elsinore Castle and is used for exterior scenes.[1]

Hamlet also has the distinction of being the last major dramatic film to be filmed entirely in 70 mm film as of 2010.



The film features a large number of celebrity cameos. The servant Reynaldo, who appears only briefly in a single scene and is often left out of abridged versions of the play, is played by French star Gerard Depardieu, and other appearances by well-known actors include Charlton Heston as the First Player, Robin Williams as the courtier Osric, Richard Attenborough as the English Ambassador, Brian Blessed as the ghost of Hamlet's father, Jack Lemmon as Marcellus, the palace guard, Billy Crystal as the gravedigger, and Rufus Sewell plays Fortinbras. The flashbacks and dream sequences even allow for celebrities appearing in non-speaking roles as characters who are only mentioned in the play: Sir John Gielgud and Dame Judi Dench play Priam and Hecuba (mentioned in the monologue performed by the First Player on his arrival at Elsinore), John Mills plays "Old Norway", uncle of Fortinbras (mentioned by Claudius and Voltemand), and British comedian Ken Dodd plays Yorick.

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