Great Performances (1971– )
21 user 1 critic


Not Rated | | Music | Episode aired 6 October 2010
Sir Patrick Stewart stars in a gripping Tony-nominated production.


Rupert Goold


William Shakespeare (by)

On Disc

at Amazon

2 nominations. See more awards »




Episode credited cast:
Patrick Stewart ... Macbeth
Kate Fleetwood ... Lady Macbeth
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Oliver Burch Oliver Burch ... Servant
Suzanne Burden Suzanne Burden ... Lady Macduff
Ben Carpenter Ben Carpenter ... Donalbain
Hugo Docking Hugo Docking ... Macduff Son
Lillian Dummer Lillian Dummer ... Macduff Daughter
Madeleine Dummer Madeleine Dummer ... Macduff Daughter
Michael Feast ... Macduff
Polly Frame Polly Frame ... Witch / Gentlewoman
Bertie Gilbert Bertie Gilbert ... Fleance
Scott Handy ... Malcolm
Sophie Hunter ... Witch
Hywel John Hywel John ... Bloody Sergeant
Christopher Knott Christopher Knott ... Old Siward


Sir Patrick Stewart stars in a gripping Tony-nominated production.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

6 October 2010 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Illuminations, KQED See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film switches the order of scenes 1 and 2 of act 1, having the wounded soldier talk about Macbeth and Banquo's prowess on the battlefield first and then following that up with the introduction of the witches. See more »


Version of Twelfth Night (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

Good, but not THAT good
17 February 2011 | by sarastro7See all my reviews

I love all Shakespeare, but for some reason Macbeth is not among my favorite works of the Bard. Nor do I think that the brilliance of Shakespeare's darker plays are usually well-handled by directors. Consequently, I am difficult to impress when it comes to individual film or DVD productions of the play. I consider Polanski's very traditional 1971 version to be the best (a 9 rating), and my second favorite version is Jason Connery's underrated and rare 1997 production (which I rate an 8). For me, both Orson Welles', Ian McKellen's, Jeremy Brett's and now Patrick Stewart's versions rate no higher than a 7 out of 10, and that goes for Kurosawa's Throne of Blood as well. They're good, but considering how marvelously Shakespeare CAN be staged or filmed (think Branagh or Taymor), they are just not THAT good. Nicol Williamson in the BBC version was very underwhelming to me, although Jane Lapotaire as Lady Macbeth was at least as good as, perhaps better than, Francesca Annis in the Polanski version.

What was wrong with Patrick Stewart's 2010 version? It had many good things and scenes in it. But I found it to be too dark (yes, such a thing is very much possible) and in places too dull and drawn-out. I liked the whole Stalin motif, but setting the play in an underground bunker just smacks of low-budget requirements. That it all sort of took place in hell was perhaps an interesting take, but it's not the kind of thing that resonates with me. I want an interesting, variegated, poetic environment; one that does Shakespeare's words justice, and provides an interesting interpretation of the scenes and phrases. A limited environment of darkness does nothing of the sort. But perhaps this all owes to the budgetary restraints. I admit they did go far with little - there were some impressive scenes here and there.

Comparing this production with Ian McKellen's 1995 Richard III movie is very apt; McKellen did enact Adolf Hitler; Stewart did enact Joseph Stalin. Both productions had a war motif, a tyrant motif, murderers serving the king, etc. It is hard to believe that McKellen's RIII performance did not significantly inspire this Macbeth.

Is it worth your while? Definitely. It is made by people who have an obvious understanding of staging Shakespeare, which in itself is very good. However, a fabulous masterpiece it is not. Good, but not THAT good.

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