There is a lot of movie adaptations of Shakespeare like Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare adaptations have more modern adaptations due to the fact that his plays could be done in any era without straying from the beauty of the words. Some of the modern adaptation however will be purely based on the story and characters and stray from the dialogue. I am only going to involve the adaptations that are mainly based in the the last part of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st century. Unfortunately I will not be mentioning the beautifully made Kenneth Branagh films Hamlet and Much ado about nothing. Those two are part of my top favorite Shakespeare films though. Here are some of my favorite Modern Adaptations of Shakespeare plays.

  1. Romeo and Juliet 1996 Directed by Baz LuhrMann

This adaptation of Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorites of the story. I particularly don’t like the play but this movie made me appreciate it more. It is done very beautifully as a surreal world in modern time. Luhrmann knows how to keep you at the edge of your seat with the images that he brings to this adaptation. The soundtrack is also amazing.

2. West Side Story 1961  Directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise

I know I said I didn’t care for Romeo and Juliet but I could not leave out one of the best Musicals of all time. This adaptation has some iconic songs. It also has the best dance off scene between the Jets and the Sharks. This story switches it up a bit and makes it more of a story about a feuding gangs rather than feuding families. It does bring to the surface the struggles immigrants faced during that time. Still the moral of the story is still the same.

3. 10 things I hate about you 1999 Directed by Gil Junger

10 things I hate about you is one of those teen movies that at first people would not even think twice about it being a Shakespeare play. It is and it is the play Taming of the Shrew. Remember the version with Elizabeth Taylor? This one is like that but without the Shakespeare language, Elizabeth Taylor and it is based at a high school. It is so brilliantly done in my opinion. It is also very funny.

4. Shakespeare Re-Told

This is more like a mini series of Shakespeare’s plays. They do a adaptation of Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew, Midsummer’s nights dream and Much Ado about Nothing. This is done by a number of well know British Actors and Actresses and it is one of my favorite adaptations. This one is not one that is well known and does not use the words of Shakespeare but it still gets the point across.

5. She is the Man 2006 Directed by Andy Fickman

One of my Favorite Plays is Twelfth Night. This modern Adaptation is actually quite enjoyable. It is another Teen movie that actually has a young Channing Tatum in it. Not my favorite Twelfth Night adaptation but it is still fun to watch.

6. Hamlet 2000 Directed by Michael Almereya

I have to admit I have not watched this version of Hamlet. Since it is a modern Adaptation I decided to put it on the list.

7. Hamlet 2009 Directed by Gregory Doran

This is a favorite of mine, second to Kenneth Branagh version. Also David Tennant one of my favorite actor’s plays Hamlet. This was actually a play recorded for TV but it is set in modern day. At one point Hamlet is caught wearing causal t-shirts and jeans.

8. ‘O’ 2001 directed by Tim Blake Nelson

I only have seen bits and pieces of this film. This is yet again a Teen adaptation of Shakespeare. This time it is the drama Othello that it is based off of. This one is based in a prep school. It is an interesting adaptation of the play, well the parts I have seen anyways.

9. Much Ado About Nothing 2012 Directed by Joss Whedon

This is Joss Whedon’s attempt at doing Shakespeare. This is done in black and white and it is also pretty good. This particular version of Much ado about nothing confused me a little at first but after the second time around i understood it better.  The comedy comes from the actor’s reactions and their way of conveying the words of Shakespeare. That is what I like about this version is because of the comedic portrayal of Joss Whedon’s vision.

10. My Own Private Idaho 1991 Directed By Gus Van Sant

Another Movie I haven’t seen…yet. This one is a adaptation of Henry IV.

These are just a few. Some I haven’t seen but I will eventually get to.

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