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Time Out says

If Branagh's ambitious film needs any kind of compliment, it is that at around four hours it carries itself perfectly well. The star/director has assembled one of the finest casts ever seen on the big screen: so the Player King is played by Heston, who at least gets to speak, unlike Gielgud, Dench, John Mills and Ken Dodd in a succession of parts which underline the text through imagined interludes. Sometimes the casting is regrettable (Jack Lemmon looking ill-at-ease as a superannuated sentry); at others tongue-in-cheek (Attenborough as the English ambassador) or wasteful (Depardieu as a one-scene monosyllabic spy).

The role-playing scores most in the world of work and politics, warfare and diplomacy, as imagined by Briers' superb Polonius and Jacobi's Claudius. Branagh's prince is admirable: popular, versatile, frank, kind, ruthless, athletic, straight-backed, with a little-boy-lost voice to go with the martial one. Tim Harvey's production design makes Elsinore a highlight, creating a snow-swept Ruritania of chessboard floors, mirrored corridors, freezing courtyards. Drawbacks: an intrusive score; spurious sex scenes between Kate Winslet's Ophelia and Branagh's pre-antic Hamlet; and a full-scale Norwegian invasion during the final duel. But all in all, as near to Branagh's masterwork as dammit, and far better fun than a jig, or even a tale of bawdry.

Written by SGr

Release Details

  • Duration:242 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Kenneth Branagh
  • Screenwriter:Kenneth Branagh
  • Cast:
    • Kenneth Branagh
    • Julie Christie
    • Billy Crystal
    • Gérard Depardieu
    • Charlton Heston
    • Richard Briers
    • Derek Jacobi
    • Jack Lemmon
    • Robin Williams
    • Rufus Sewell
    • Richard Attenborough
    • Brian Blessed
    • Michael Bryant
    • Judi Dench
    • Reece Dinsdale
    • Ken Dodd
    • John Gielgud
    • Rosemary Harris
    • Michael Maloney
    • John Mills
    • Timothy Spall
    • Kate Winslet
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