Top 25 Movies Inspired By Shakespeare Novels

Shakespeare Movies

January 8th, 2018   |   Updated on April 13th, 2024

Shakespeare’s stories are so universal that almost any story built around starcrossed lovers or mistaken identities could be said to be based on Shakespeare. But there are many films that are actually directly based on Shakespeare, and we’re not just talking about the obvious adaptations like Romeo + Juliet.

Here, 25 movies that you may not know were based on Shakespeare — along with that one moment from each that might have left the Bard himself scratching his head

1. Henry V

In the midst of the Hundred Years’ War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415. Watch this movie here.


2. Richard III

shakespeare film

Shakespeare’s powerful tale of the wicked deformed king and his conquests, both on the battlefield and in the boudoir. Click here.


3. Hamlet

william shakespeare movies

The RSC puts a modern spin on Shakespeare’s Hamlet in this filmed-for-television version of their stage production. The Prince of Denmark seeks vengeance after his father is murdered and his mother marries the murderer. Visit here.


4. King Lear

movies based on shakespeare

An aging King invites disaster when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters and rejects his one loving, but honest one. Click here.


5. Othello

A general’s marriage is destroyed when a vengeful lieutenant convinces him that his new wife has been unfaithful. Visit here for movie.


6. As You Like It

romeo and juliet adaptations

A duke usurps his brother’s land and power, banishing him and his retinue into the forest of Arden. The banished duke’s daughter, Rosalind, remains with her cousin Celia.


7. Romeo and Juliet

best shakespeare movies

Young love is poisoned by a generations long feud between two noble families.


8. A Midsummer Night’s Dream

shakespeare adaptations


9. Julius Caesar

best shakespeare plays

The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.


10. Chimes at Midnight

The career of Shakespeare’s Sir John Falstaff as roistering companion to young Prince Hal, circa 1400-1413.


11. Love’s Labour’s Lost

movies based on shakespeare plays

An update of the classic Shakespeare story, director Kenneth Branagh shot this movie like a classic 30s musical. The film tells the story of four best friends who swear off love.


12. Much Ado About Nothing

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Young lovers Hero and Claudio, soon to wed, conspire to get verbal sparring partners and confirmed singles Benedick and Beatrice to wed as well.


13. Twelfth Night or What You Will

shakespeare quotes love

Shakespeare’s comedy of gender confusion, in which a girl disguises herself as a man to be near the count she adores, only to be pursued by the woman he loves.


14. Macbeth

films based on shakespeare

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


15. The Taming of the Shrew

Brutish, fortune-hunting scoundrel Petruchio tames his wealthy, shrewish wife, Katharina.


16. Romeo and Juliet

film shakespeare

When two young members of feuding families meet, forbidden love ensues.


17. Titus

romeo and juliet movie versions

Titus returns victorious from war, only to plant the seeds of future turmoil for himself and his family.


18. The Merchant of Venice

shakespeare film adaptations

In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.


19. The Tempest

best shakespeare films

An adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic is set in the Mississippi bayous during the Civil War.


20. King Lear

The Shakespeare tragedy that gave us the expression “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.


21. Tempest

shakespeare plays made into movies

A sobering mid-life crisis fuels dissatisfaction in Philip Dimitrius, to the extent where the successful architect trades his marriage and career in for a spiritual exile on a remote Greek.


22. Coriolanus

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A banished hero of Rome allies with a sworn enemy to take his revenge on the city.


23. Hamlet at Elsinore

modern shakespeare movies

Hamlet suspects his uncle has murdered his father to claim the throne of Denmark and the hand of Hamlet’s mother, but the prince cannot decide whether or not he should take vengeance.


24. King Lear

william shakespeare romeo and juliet movie

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him.


25. A Midsummer Night’s Dream

twelfth night adaptations

Lovers’ lives are complicated by city law, feuding faerie royalty, and… love.

source : imdb.com