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Film, TV and Streaming

Shakespeare goes to the movies

“The Lion King” is inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” (Courtesy of IMDB)
Need downtime from Snowdown? Hunker down with these flicks based on Bard’s plays

Snowdown is in full swing, and with all of the events being held this year, it’s entirely possible to need a break.

Fortunately for Snowdown-loving cinephiles, regrouping at home can still include this year’s Shakespeare theme. Plenty of the Bard’s plays have been adapted into movies – you just may not know it; kind of like sneaking spinach into fruit smoothies or learning stuff a la “Schoolhouse Rock.”

And this is certainly not intended to be an exhaustive list, in fact, hundreds of movies have been made from Shakespeare’s works.

So, if you need a breather, get comfy and cruise streaming services (we’d recommend YouTube for some of these), and get your Shakespeare on without going out.

The Lion King (1994)

This Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba, the heir of his father, Mufasa Simba’s wicked uncle, Scar, plots to usurp Mufasa’s throne by luring father and son into a stampede of wildebeests. But Simba escapes, and only Mufasa is killed. Simba returns as an adult to take back his homeland from Scar with the help of his friends Timon and Pumbaa. Inspired by Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

West Side Story (1961, the notorious 1968 version, 2021)

A musical in which a modern day Romeo and Juliet are involved in New York street gangs. On the harsh streets of the upper west side, two gangs battle for control of the turf. The situation becomes complicated when a gang members falls in love with a rival’s sister. (“Romeo and Juliet” has been used for about a billion movies: also see “William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet,” “Gnomeo & Juliet,” etc.)

Throne of Blood (1957)

Returning to their lord’s castle, samurai warriors Washizu and Miki are waylaid by a spirit who predicts their futures. When the first part of the spirit’s prophecy comes true, Washizu’s scheming wife, Asaji, presses him to speed up the rest of the spirit’s prophecy by murdering his lord and usurping his place. Director Akira Kurosawa’s resetting of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” in feudal Japan is one of his most acclaimed films.

Henry V (1989)

In this gritty screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s play about the heroic and ruthless king, Henry V of England (Kenneth Branagh) determines to lay claim to the kingdom of France. Henry’s self-doubt and the diminished morale of his army stand in the way of a victory that would unite the two countries and provide Henry with a queen (Emma Thompson). However, his sheer determination and his impassioned speeches ready his men for the bloodiest of battles – Agincourt.

The King (2019)

Young Henry V encounters deceit, war and treachery after becoming king of England in the 15th century.

Motocrossed (2001)

Feeling responsible for her twin brother’s (Trever O’Brien) injury, a teenager (Alana Austin) pretends to be him and competes in a series of motocross races. Based on “Twelfth Night.”