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108 Reviews
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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive
Wow.

Just as Branagh trumped Olivier's version of Henry V, so he does it again, this time producing the definitive screen Hamlet.

There are flaws, admittedly, so lets get them out of the way. There is some dodgy blue-screen work, and a couple of actors are, if we're honest, out of their depth (Jack Lemmon is a fine actor, but Shakespeare does not...
Published on 16 Oct 2007 by Jim Campbell

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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly "abridged"
I received my copy of Hamlet, dying to watch the unabridged version (or based on the unabridged text) as mentioned in the amazon video details page, and to my dismay, realised my version was only 121 minutes long. It is not the unabridged Hamlet - it is shortened and adapted. The Hamlet based on the unabridged text of Shakespeare (as claimed by amazon) is up to 4 hours...
Published on 8 Feb 2004 by Tanja Gehren


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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive, 16 Oct 2007
This review is from: Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
Wow.

Just as Branagh trumped Olivier's version of Henry V, so he does it again, this time producing the definitive screen Hamlet.

There are flaws, admittedly, so lets get them out of the way. There is some dodgy blue-screen work, and a couple of actors are, if we're honest, out of their depth (Jack Lemmon is a fine actor, but Shakespeare does not apparently come easy to him!).

Once you get past these minor quibbles however, you are left with one of the most sumptuous films ever shot. It just looks stunning, and makes the inexcusable wait for a dvd release almost worthwhile! The acting (for the most part!) is breathtaking. The famous scene with Hamlet and Gertrude in her bedroom is one of the most moving I've ever watched, Branagh stripping bare Hamlets grief as he sees his father's ghost. "On him, on him". Watch it and weep. The score is spot-on, the sets magnificent, and the script is well, the finest piece of work in English literature.

The finest film version of the greatest playwright's finest work. An unabashed masterpiece.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the definitive version of hamlet! (on DVD that is), 2 Oct 2007
This review is from: Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
Any Shakespeare fan will not be disappointed! this full text 4 hour epic is exciting, funny, scary and a true work of art. Althoug 4 hours is a long running time I did not get bored once. The film is split between 2 DVDs, both containing extras. The extras are good but i'm always slightly disappointed when there are no outtakes...
I highly recommend this to even people who are not usually fans of shakespeare. The brilliant acting allows you to understand what is happening, even in a particular wordy scene. And Kenneth Branagh is fanyastic!!! watch it =)
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hit, A Very Palpable Hit!, 26 Nov 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
Four hours of rhyming couplets is not everyone's idea of a fun Friday night in, but in truth you could watch this with the sound turned fully off and still be moved by its beauty and emotional punch.

Yes, it's a masterpiece - both Shakespeare's and Branagh's. Yes, it has an astonishing cast. Yes, the set design and cinematography are stunning and hauntingly memorable, but at the end of the day it's simply a great film of a great story told very well and acted in the most accessible and wonderful way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is Hamlet, 29 Aug 2008
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
This is a Shakespeare play about the prince of Denmark and tragedy surrounding the family. Many people want to say the prince Hamlet is indecision yet he outmaneuvers just about everyone and has depth of vision. Now watch as Hamlet discovers who killed the king, his father, and how he attempts to get his revenge.

The only negative thing I could think of this Kenneth Branagh interpretation is the costume period is not what I was brought up on in the other versions and books. Jack Lemmon was sort of a distraction.

Now that being said, I never knew how good Hamlet could be until I saw the Kenneth Branagh version. For some reason I never noticed the missing dialog in the other versions until I was treated to the complete dialog in this version. The filled in parts give the story more meaning. Everyone else, even Hamlet (1948) with Laurence Olivier seems like the Readers digest version. I do not think you want to hear comparisons and contrasts of acting styles; so I will just say this film changed what would have been a nice story to actually feel that you are there.

Take caution before purchasing/downloading any rendition of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet as there are some edited versions that may not be complete.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hamlet is staggering and breathtaking., 3 Nov 2007
By 
film fan (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
What the screenwriter/director/actor Kenneth Branagh has done here is give us the full unabridged version of William Shakespeare's famous Danish Prince. It runs in at a staggering 232 minutes. On this 2-disc special edition, the film is shown on both discs which also contain special features which I admit I haven't seen yet.

As far as the film is concerned, it's a sprawling epic with gorgeous cinematography and lucious production design and it's directed with beautiful skill by Kenneth Branagh possibly Britain's best filmmaker of Shakespeare. With Branagh as Hamlet, joining him is a cast that's a who's who of international acting talent including Kate Winslet, Derek Jacobi, Julie Christie, Brian Blessed, Richard Briers, Charlton Heston, Jack Lemmon, Rufus Sewell, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Timothy Spall, John Gielgud, Judy Dench and Richard Attenborough among others.

I've seen this film a couple of times now, having first seen it 10 years ago on VHS video. I've waited that long for it to be available on DVD and now it's here where it belongs in my opinion. As far as I'm concerned, this is the definitive and most accessible version of Hamlet available. Kenneth Branagh has done the impossible. He's given us the full text and done it with style and passion making it look gorgeous and incredibly exciting. The impressive and sweeping score by Patrick Doyle is wonderful throughout and it's a great compliment to the film. One of the best epics I've seen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kenneth Brannagh's 4 Hour Hamlet, 22 Aug 2007
I felt compelled to write something just to correct what a reviewer below (Orlando) stated; that this isn't the 4 hour version. Well I can assure everyone that it is, and it looks and sounds amazing. I don't know what Orlando was watching, maybe he/she only watched one disc(it runs over two discs, due to length), or maybe they purchased some poor bootleg.
Anyway, I highly recommend it. There aren't a huge amount of extras, but the ones there are are really good, and there's also the commentary by Brannagh. Excellent!

Buy it now!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 4 Aug 2011
By 
Charlotta I. Rasmussen "Charlie loves littera... (Funningsfjord, Faroe Islands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
Reading Hamlet always makes me annoyed at the emotional danish prince, acting like a moody teenager. However seeing it performed (I have yet to be lucky enough to see it set on stage) by the wonderful Kenneth Branagh brings an awed tear to my eye. I remember first seeing this film when I was 6 or 7, it was close to christmas and all the grownups were busy decorating the house and the only thing i was allowed to do was sit idly on the sofa not touching anything. So i started watching whatever was on the TV. As the sound was turned off it didn't catch my interest right away, but after glancing at it on and off i was intrigued by the pretty colors, the strangely behaving white-haired man and the spooky story. When it finished i was horror struck and deeply moved by a story I didn't quite understand, as I had not heard a word the actors had spoken. 10 years later i was reading Hamlet in school and finally allowed to see and HEAR the film in its entirety. And i must say, it gets much better with the sound on : ) Branagh is one of my favorite actors and to see him effortlessly play the strange Hamlet is something everyone should experience.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly "abridged", 8 Feb 2004
By 
Tanja Gehren (Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal South Africa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hamlet [VHS] [1997] (VHS Tape)
I received my copy of Hamlet, dying to watch the unabridged version (or based on the unabridged text) as mentioned in the amazon video details page, and to my dismay, realised my version was only 121 minutes long. It is not the unabridged Hamlet - it is shortened and adapted. The Hamlet based on the unabridged text of Shakespeare (as claimed by amazon) is up to 4 hours long. Still very good, but sadly, not the real thing! Can anyone tell me where to get the unabridged copy of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder, Madness and Revenge Writ Large - Brilliant!, 9 Feb 2008
By 
David Lusher (London England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
The is the best version of 'Hamlet' on DVD. Kenneth Branagh (also directing) is brilliant as the Prince and the whole production is sumptuously filmed in 70mm. It's a stellar cast and the whole play is brought alive gloriously and unforgettably. Richard Briers, Derek Jacobi, Charlton Heston and Kate Winslet all give superb performances. Don't be put off by the length of the production (around 4 hours) because this is so good that time simply flies by. You are drawn into the action and Branagh's genius is to make the play accessible to all. He has done the Bard a wonderful service with this film and it's great to see this released on DVD at last. I can't recommend this highly enough - even if Shakespeare is not really your thing, you will love this. It's a great film of a great play.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WARNING THIS EDITION IS ABRIDGED, 21 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Hamlet [VHS] [1997] (VHS Tape)
DON'T BUY THIS FILM IF YOU'RE EXPECTING TO OWN THE COMPLETE FILM OF BRANAGH'S HAMLET. THIS EDITION IS ABRIDGED AND SEVERAL KEY MOMENTS FROM THE FILM ARE CUT OUT. THIS IS MORE LIKE A FILM THAT HAS BEEN EDITED FOR TELEVISION. ON THE PLUS SIDE, IF YOU'VE NEVER SEEN THE COMPLETE VERSION THIS IS VISUALLY STUNNING AND FEATURES SOME WORLD CLASS ACTORS. PRE TITANIC KATE WINSLET'S PORTRAYAL OF OPHELIA IS NOT TO BE MISSED. ADMITTEDLY THE FILM IS A LOT EASIER TO WATCH HAVING BEEN SHORTENED BUT I FOR ONE WAS A LITTLE DISAPPOINTED WITH IT.
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Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1996]
Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1996] by Kenneth Branagh (DVD - 2007)
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