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Hamlet (1996, Kenneth Branagh, Richard Attenborough)



Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh), son of the King of Denmark, is summoned home for his father’s funeral and his mother Gertrude’s (Julie Christie) wedding to his hated uncle Claudius (Derek Jacobi). At the dead of night he witnesses his father’s ghost who informs him that Claudius murdered him and begins a rapid descent into feigned or real madness affecting all around him. As Hamlet runs amok, he becomes responsible for the death of the prime minister, drives the innocent Ophelia (Kate Winslet) to her death by drowning, plots against his uncle and finally takes a revenge which also costs his friends their lives.

This mammoth film version from actor/ director Kenneth Branagh features one of the finest casts ever assembled on film while Branagh himself delivers an assured Hamlet who manages to combine compassion, popularity and kindness with ruthlessness and a steely mind for plotting.

production details
UK | 242 minutes | 1996

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writers: William Shakespeare (play), Kenneth Branagh

Richard Attenborough as English Ambassador
Jack Lemmon as Marcellus
Nicholas Farrell as Horatio
John Gielgud as Priam
Kenneth Branagh as Prince Hamlet
Derek Jacobi as King Claudius
Julie Christie as Gertrude
Richard Briers as Polonius
Kate Winslet as Ophelia
Michael Maloney as Laertes
Rufus Sewell as Fortinbras
Robin Williams as Osric
Gérard Depardieu as Reynaldo
Timothy Spall as Rosencrantz
Reece Dinsdale as Guildenstern
Ian McElhinney as Barnardo
Ray Fearon as Francisco
Brian Blessed as Ghost of Hamlet’s Father
Billy Crystal as First Gravedigger
Simon Russell Beale as Second Gravedigger
Don Warrington as Voltimand
Ravil Isyanov as Cornelius
Charlton Heston as Player King
Rosemary Harris as Player Queen
Judi Dench as Hecuba
John Mills as Old King Norway
Ken Dodd as Yorick
Andrew Schofield as Young Lord
Perdita Weeks as Second Player
Tom Szekeres as Young Hamlet