74 user 47 critic

Hamlet (1948)

Unrated | | Drama | 12 August 1948 (Australia)
Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former king.




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Won 4 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Tarver ...
Russell Thorndike ...
Basil Sydney ...
Norman Wooland ...


William Shakespeare's tale of tragedy of murder and revenge in the royal halls of medieval Denmark. Claudius, brother to the King, conniving with the Queen, poisons the monarch and seizes the throne, taking the widowed Gertrude for his bride. Hamlet, son of the murdered King, mournful of his father's death and mother's hasty marriage, is confronted by the ghost of the late King who reveals the manner of his murder. Seeking revenge, Hamlet recreates the monstrous deed in a play with the help of some traveling actors to torment the conscience of the evil Claudius. In a visit with his mother, Hamlet expresses his anger and disappointment concerning her swiftly untimed marriage. Thinking a concealed spy in his mother's chamber to be the lurking Claudius, he mistakenly kills the meddling counselor, Polonius, father of Ophelia and Laertes. Claudius, on the pretext that Hamlet will be endangered by his subjects for the murder of Polonius, sends the prince to England. Written by alfiehitchie

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Plot Keywords:

king | murder | revenge | prince | royal | See All (314) »


The motion picture of all time...for all time! (Print ad for re-release 1954)




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Release Date:

12 August 1948 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Amlet  »

Box Office


£500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Initially, Laurence Olivier was not keen on producing "Hamlet". Although he wanted to repeat the success of Henry V (1944), he found that the Danish play was the only really viable choice, as Orson Welles had just done Macbeth (1948) and was prepping Othello (1951). By casting himself in the lead, however, he was able to secure the necessary financing. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: So oft it chances in particular men / That through some vicious mole of nature in them, / By the o'ergrowth of some complexion / Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason, / Or by some habit grown too much; that these men - / Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect, / Their virtues else - be they as pure as grace, / Shall in the general censure take corruption / From that particular fault... This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: SCENE - ELSINORE See more »


Version of Hamlet (1969) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It Won!!!
18 February 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The writings of William Shakespheare are always accredited as being the greatest literary works in the history of western civilization. The film, "Hamlet", won the academy award for best picture in 1948; suffice it to say, that an accolade such as this merely scratches the surface on the brilliance of this Shakesphearian production!! So many famous quotes of Shakespheare's are from "Hamlet" "Sweets to the sweet": "The dog will have his day": "There is something rotten in the state of Denmark": "Neither a borrower nor a lender be": "Get thee to a nunnery": "Sometimes Sister" : These are some famous quotes from "Hamlet". This literary masterpiece contains a list of world renowned soliloquies as well. "Too too this flesh shall melt-": And, of course, "To be or not to be-",: These are some of the quotes and soliloquies. There are so many, I have just rattled off a few!! When an actor or actress takes on a Shakesphearian endeavor, it becomes an acutely sensitizing challenge for them which represents an artistic epitome in their careers!! Shakespheare evokes an absolute height in human creativity, and the succinct polarization of both genders in "Hamlet" establishes a necessary storyline cohesiveness which is pertinent to all of the main characters in the movie. While a film like "Hamlet" is viewed as lofty in its disposition, the actuality of Shakespheare's work, is that such an idealism is very disconcerting! More often than not, the esoteric philosophies which are so eloquently manifested from the romanticist characters in Shakespheare's works, are usually vitiated with an emphatic desperation!! These Promethian philosophies are invariably preempted by the visceral components of perseverance. Shakespheare has always had a penchant for his characters to be provoked into agitated responses. "Hamlet" is an example of such emotions, "King Lear" and "Merchant of Venice" are also such examples of these intense displays of rancor!! I have seen this version "Hamlet" many times. Sir Lawrence Olivier does a remarkable job at directing this film (He also plays the role of Hamlet). Olivier won for best actor in 1948 with this role!! Olivier is a Shakesphearian aficionado who has the ability to carry off a successfully cunning articulation of "Hamlet" by astutely depicting its fatalistic irony!! The solemn imagery in "Hamlet" is extremely poignant!! Shakespheare had such a profound prescience with human emotions that he has manufactured an eternal impact on man's conception of what intellectually spellbinding literature should be!! I do like the 1948 performance better than the 1996 version with Glen Close and Mel Gibson,the gripping enmity in the 1948 movie seemed more believable!! The fact that "Hamlet" won for best picture in 1948 is a very insignificant modicum of this movie's formidable allure!! Such an embodiment of pejorative candor which is illustrated in "Hamlet" became an enticing attribute to the film in which the movie viewer could easily appreciate!! The myriad of belligerent proclivities demonstrated by the part of Hamlet encompasses a mindset which nurtured an extremely tumultuous cerebral unrest!! This is the principle reason that Olivier's rendition of "Hamlet" is so incredibly stunning!!The cinematography is sensational in this film, and the acting from virtually everyone with this presentation of "Hamlet" is paramount!! See this film!! It will elevate your intellectual awareness of Shakespheare, and hopefully, it will also enlighten your perspective of this great masterful work of Shakespheare's which became an academy award winning major motion picture!!

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