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Hamlet: Screenplay, Introduction And Film Diary

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  181,679 ratings  ·  256 reviews
Often credited with creating a popular movie audience for Shakespeare, Kenneth Branagh has wanted for many years to bring to the screen the complete, full-length version of Hamlet, Shakespeare's greatest play.

"The film, like the play, will have something for everyone," he says. "Its a ghost story, a thriller, an action-packed murder mystery, and a great tragedy that is pro
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 17th 1996 by W. W. Norton Company
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Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Written for the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament

Act I, Scene I

Hamlet enters.

HAMLET: OK, Where's that ghost everyone told me about?

Jane Eyre enters.

HAMLET: Wait a minute. Who are you?

JANE" My name is Jane Eyre and I'm looking for Master Rochester.

HAMLET: I think you walked in on the wrong...You know...You're kind of cute for a British chick.

JANE: You're not bad yourself. Do you own a manor?

HAMLETS: (laughs) No, I own a castle.

JANE: Did I ask for Rochester...Who's Rochester? You don't by an
Paul Bryant
roll up, roll up



JANE EYRE (dressed in full armour, with beard, and speaking in a ridiculous gruff voice)

Now, Wamlet, hear:
'Tis given out that, sleeping in my worchard,
A serpent stung me; so the whole wombat of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Wankly abused: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears his cwown.

[The Governessator is toying with the credulous Prince.]

O my prophetic soul! My uncle!

Cheryl Kennedy
This is a Favorite, read multiple times with an emphasis on the psychological aspects of the author's intuitive understanding of what it means to be human. As Kenneth Branagh has said:

"It has everything-intrigue, romance, politics, violence, revenge, jealousy, wit. It plays itself out on such a grand scale."

The book was ordered from SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY, Paris and includes an introduction to Shakespeare's life and the Elizabethan theatre, an introduction to Hamlet, an essay by Paul Prescott o
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Formerly a member of the Royal Shakespearean Company, actor/director Kenneth Branagh confesses that he has been intrigued and in some ways obsessed by Hamlet from early on in his life, early teens and before.

That intense devotion-bordering-on-obsession serves this book well, as well as it's movie counterpart. Both the introduction and the film diary give excellent insights into not just how the movie was made, but the play itself, and how things that we don't notice--for example, what a good st
Bethany White
Sep 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This has always been a favorite of mine. I understand that people may either love or hate Shakespeare, however I am unable to comprehend the latter. Shakespeare's characters provide a deep psychology for the audience to grab on to. Although one may not neccessarily agree with a specific character's motives or ideals, he or she is absolutely able to now argue the character's mind set; you are in their mind and understand how they see the world. This is a literary vacation in my opinion; to be abl ...more
Lydia Nolan
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Such a remarkable bildungsroman: a book of development. The young Hamlet, who has to grow up when his father is suspiciously killed, and his uncle suddenly marries his mother. Hamlet is forced to decide whether or not he will honor his father's ghost who tells him that his own brother has killed him to marry his wife--Hamlet's mother. The story goes on to tell how Hamlet's decision creates the complications and final resolve, but it is amazing how Shakespeare (again) is a master at the psycholog ...more
Apr 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Even though Branagh's film was pretty complete (with respect to the play), there are some differences, which are documented here. I rather love him, and this is a pretty neat book, with (always good) great shots from the filming and the film.
Jen Chough
May 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was the first work of Shakespeare's I'd ever read and is still my second favorite (Henry V being the first). No need to mention all the familiar, insightful quotes from this most famous of plays; it is a brilliant work of art. And no, I do not adhere to the Oedipal interpretation of Hamlet and his mother's relationship. I don't see much difference between his relationship with his mom as I do with even modern men, especially coming from an ethnic culture. It's always hard, being an only chi ...more
Apr 30, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is about the Prince of Denmark named Hamlet, something bad changes Hamlet's life. His father, is the late King Hamlet. He was killed. Shortly after, his mother married Hamlet's uncle instead of letting Hamlet taking the throne. Hamlet's anger towards his mother and uncle grew after his father came to him in a ghost form and told Hamlet, he was murdered by his new step dad. Hamlet promises to revenge his death but stalls when he finds out it was Claudius, the new king and his mother's n ...more
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-school
Update: So it has been about 2 weeks since I saw this on stage. I still can't decide whether I hated it more or less after watching it all live. The play was...mediocre. I was told that I would be seeing a traditional Shakespearean play and yet what I got was some nonsense interpretation. If a theatrical institution receives millions upon millions of donations a year I expect more historically accurate costumes and actual props. The acting was fabulous, but the casting made little sense. Horatio ...more
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Maybe I'm biased as someone who has lived in Denmark and walked the grounds supposedly known to be Hamlet's castle, but I believe this to be the greatest published work of Shakespeare. An engrossing plot, fabulous characters, a truly beautifully written tragedy.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love Shakespeare.
Hamlet is amazing! Sad that all die in the end. Not fair. Because Hamlet deserved to life. Even he wanted to revenge.
Georgia Radtke
May 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
I recently read "Hamlet" William Shakespeare. This story has many weird twists that are much unexpected. Due to all of the turns in the story, I lost interest in some parts. Basically the entire moral of the story is revenge, and who is seeking who at what given time. Hamlet, the main character has to build up the strength to seek the revenge he is looking for and in the end something happens that takes the reader for ninety degree turn. Not only is "Hamlet" about revenge but also true love.

Ivonne Rovira
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Hamlet, of course, is always amazing; however, for those who will be viewing the play rather than reading it, Kenneth Branagh's is the one. (The David Tennant film is tepid; the Ethan Hawke one is unbearable.)
Dec 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Not as in depth as I had hoped. This film means so much to me and I was hoping this book would deepen my appreciation of it. Sadly, it's pretty superficial.
Matthew Simmons
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Quite simply the greatest play ever written, in my opinion. While Branagh's film adaptation isn't my favorite, it's still very good and I generally love his take on the Bard.
Robby Bassler
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meera Iyer
Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I can sentimentalize with Hamlet’s madness...the only difference is I want to kms instead of someone else.

Also side note: the only thing that got me through this play were the No Fear Shakespeare summaries. If it weren’t for them I definitely wouldn’t have understood the purpose of piece.
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Now that I have read Hamlet by William Shakespeare, I have revealed the character's true identity by the detail and emphasis put into the context. Hamlet is known to be a wise person, who lost his beloving father, the King of Denmark. Remaining as a prince, he overcomes difficult situations after his father's death, who apparently got killed by his own brother. A concern was when his mother, left as a widow, decided to marry her ex husband's brother, but this is known to be an irrevalant act of ...more
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: taught
Like many who watched Branagh’s Henry V in 1989, I became totally entranced, even though I hadn’t read Shakespeare’s play. I finally did for a FutureLearn course last year and enjoyed talking about it online with my fellow Bard-nerds. So I’ll crib some of my comments from the course for this review:

This royal portrait is definitely a patriotic one, especially as edited by Branagh in this edition, but I think there’s more to the play than that. It’s a thoughtful exploration of power and responsib
Alicia Samson
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare, because it was different than most stories you would read today. In "Hamlet" the prince of Denmark, Young Hamlet struggles to handle the changes in his life. His father, the late king Hamlet, dies. Shortly after his mother remarries his uncle instead of him taking the throne. Hamlet's anger towards his mother and uncle grew after his father came to him in a ghost form and told him he was murdered by his new step dad. Hamlet promises to revenge h ...more
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Hamlet by William Shakespeare:
I thought that the story was rather ponderous. I echoed Hamlet's sentiment that he should do something instead of whining about his misery, but then he keeps up a ponderous scharade in front of his uncle and exhibits more and more crazy ebhavior instead of avenging his father. Young Hamlet just keeps causing trouble for everyone, and the misogyny directed at Ophelia, who never stands up for herself, is depressing. Overall, a ponderous and depressing story with much
May 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
When I read Hamlet during my seinor I was looking forward to it, to be honest I've never been a fan of Shakespeare, nothing personal but I've never enjoyed his work, and at the end of day I end up disagreeing with him (don't kill me shakespeare fans) but Hamlet look different, and it seemed interesting.

It was, but I just didn't enjoy it as much. And to be honest, it hasn't changed my point of view on Shakespeare writing. Although I did find that the name Ophelia is a wonderful girl name, and I h
Mar 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Whoa! They aren't kidding...what a tragedy. Definitely watch this movie when you are done (the one with Mel Gibson in it) he does such a great job playing Hamlet. I really enjoyed reading this play.
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I hadn't taught this since my first year of teaching, which was a disaster. I'm teaching it now again and love it. I finally appreciate the language and what a story. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it so much.
Megan Martin
Aug 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It feels weird writing a review about William. He's a genius playwright. I ADORE this play, although not my favorite Shakespeare. I love Ophelia's character. I love re-reading this play every year because the rawness of it is so inspiring.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
LOVED IT! Fav. shakespeare play by far. I really can't read shakespeare though, but I had help from my eng. teacher. It was so funny and serious at the same time so it kept my interest and the story was spectacular! ya for Hamlet!
Nov 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: shakespeare lovers
Recommended to Jamietrem by: my teacher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 15, 2009 marked it as to-read
I was just interested to read the directions and little subtitles explaining what the characters are really thinking underneath the iambic pentameter.

try reading iambic verse for a few hours and see if it doesn't affect your own thought rhythms.
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Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh is an Emmy Award-winning, Academy Award-nominated Northern Irish actor and film director.

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