16 Shakespeare Adaptations To Make the Bard Applaud and Cringe

1
Much Ado About Nothing
Much Ado About Nothing
Lionsgate Films
Joss Whedon's new take on Shakespeare's comedy makes iambic pentameter accessible in a way rarely seen on screen. Here are 15 other Shakespeare adaptations that dared to update the Bard. Some would have garnered a standing ovation, while others would surely have the audience leaving before intermission.
2
Romeo + Juliet
Romeo + Juliet
20th Century Fox
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," Romeo declares in Shakespeare's ultimate romantic tragedy. But would Baz Luhrmann's 1996 adaptation be as good without Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the titular roles? Jury's out. What's clear, though, is that Luhrmann hit it out of the park with his modern day Californian vision for Romeo and Juliet, thanks in large part to the spot-on casting.
3
10 Things I Hate About You
10 Things I Hate About You
Buena Vista Pictures
Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julia Stiles, and Larisa Oleynik headline the ultimate teen comedy in 1999's Ten Things I Hate About You. No offense, Billy Shakes, but The Taming of the Shrew has never been hipper or more hilarious.
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4
Ran
Ran
Orion Classics
The award-winning 1985 Japanese film Ran is director Akira Kurosawa's adaptation of King Lear. With sweeping visuals filled with bold color, Kurosawa achieved something on film Shakespeare could only dream of bringing to the stage.
5
Coriolanus
Coriolanus
The Weinstein Company
In 2011, Ralph Fiennes wowed audiences with his gritty update of Shakespeare's tragedy.
6
Deliver Us From Eva
Deliver Us From Eva
Focus Features
In which LL Cool J takes on the Bard. In 2003, Gary Hardwick decided to meddle with perfection and create his own modern-day version of The Taming of the Shrew, casting Gabrielle Union and LL Cool J as his leads. We'll be honest, we haven't seen Deliver Us from Eva. But, level with us, has anyone?
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7
Forbidden Planet
Forbidden Planet
MGM
Who would've thunk that the first science fiction movie ever to be set entirely in on another planet would be a Shakespeare adaptation? But Fred M. Wilcox's groundbreaking 1956 film is just that — a futuristic take on The Tempest.
8
Get Over It
Get Over It
Dimension Films
If Sisqo is in a movie, you know it's going to be good! We think the Bard would have cringed to know that 2001's Get Over It (starring Kirsten Dunst ) was based loosely on A Midsummer Night's Dream. I mean, we are.
9
West Side Story
West Side Story
United Artists
The ultimate example of a Shakespeare adaptation done right, Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise's West Side Story is a masterpiece in its own right. You know you've done the snap walk down the streets of New York!
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10
Gnomeo & Juliet
Gnomeo & Juliet
Disney
Emily Blunt and James McAvoy may have added some star power to Touchstone Pictures' child-friendly adaptation, but even they couldn't save this flop. Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers as… garden gnomes? No thank you.
11
My Own Private Idaho
My Own Private Idaho
Fine Line Features
Gus Van Sant's critically acclaimed indie imbued Shakespeare's histories (it's based on Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V) with a sense of drifter ennui.
12
O
O
Lionsgate
Julie Stiles is back for another Shakespearian reboot, this time of Othello. However, O (also starring Josh Hartnett and Mekhi Phifer), wasn't quite the smashing success that 10 Things I Hate About You was… to say the least.
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13
Scotland, PA
Scotland, PA
Lot 47 Films
Billy Morrissette's 2011 adaptation, starring Maura Tierney, James LeGros, and Christopher Walken, sets Macbeth in 1970s suburban Pennsylvania. Starting from the very beginning, in which the prophetic witches appear in the form of stoned bohemians, audiences knew Scotland, PA would be a wild ride.
14
She's The Man
She's The Man
DreamWorks SKG
Before she was tweeting about Drake and getting arrested for throwing bongs out her window, Amanda Bynes was a bonafide comedy star. Starring alongside Channing Tatum, Bynes helped turn Shakespeare's Twelfth Night into a cult favorite.
15
Strange Brew
Strange Brew
MGM
While it hasn't been confirmed by the filmmakers, fans insist that the 1983 Canadian comedy Strange Brew is based on Hamlet. The name of the Elsinore Brewery alone leads us to believe the theorists are correct. Far out.
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16
The Lion King
The Lion King
Disney
Hakuna matata! You may know all the words to Disney's spirited tale of revenge and glory on the African savanna, but did you know that it is based on Hamlet? Think about it: Simba's father is murdered by his uncle so he can take over the throne.

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