DVD - 2002
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In this story of murder, withcraft, and revenge, Macbeth, driven by overwhelming ambition and an unscrupulous wife murders the King of Scotland and claims the throne for himself. He begins a violent reign of terror and execution in a desperate attempt to maintain his power. Haunted by ghosts and vexed by witches, he and his wife rapidly descend into the depths of madness and paranoia as the weight of their crimes proves their undoing.


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Oct 18, 2019

Yes, definitely one of the best.

Jun 13, 2019

Shakespeare has provoked a lot of interesting but incompletely satisfying movie adaptations, among which Polanski's Macbeth is one of he best. A great many production decisions are very fine--the shooting locations, the costumes (one of the bonuses on the extra disc in this set imparts that the chain mail and the hard saddles were the real mccoy, and the characters sleeping au naturel is accurate for the time setting, too), accepting the execrable weather in which exteriors were shot, the predominance of young actors among the principals. But others are half-baked, mainly the choice a mixture of period-approximating and modern electronic instrumentation for the score, which is edgy and eerie whenever appropriate but sounds distressingly of the wrong period--i.e., the Seventies--at too many times. Having the witches flee through a door to a cave rather than, as the dialogue puts, vanish, is a glaring contradiction, also; what, were not enough fog machines available (a high possibility) to facilitate evanescing? Jon Finch as Macbeth comports himself quite well, especially at the end when, assuming invincibility, he starts to take on every man Malcolm and Macduff's forces throw at him, hewing them down with savage aplomb. The handling of the appearances of the premonitory dagger and Banquo's ghost are brought off magnificently, so as to make clear that Macbeth and no one else sees them. The replacement of soliloquies by voiceovers is a neat device, too, that other Shakespeare films should have copied. Still, this Macbeth is no cinematic masterpiece, I think because Polanski lacks the daring visual-design imagination of Welles (whose own Macbeth is about his weakest film), and that latter is what Shakespeare demands of cinema--and that Peter Brook's King Lear fitfully attains, according to my memories of it; there are also flashes of it in the Max Reinhardt-William Dieterle Hollywood version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. --Ray Olson

Nov 13, 2018

One of the best Shakespeare adaptations I have ever seen! While I think I might prefer THRONE OF BLOOD a little more as far as Macbeth on film goes, the 1971 MACBETH is close competition. The grim, bleak, bloody tone fits this play perfectly. It's quite creepy and the tragic elements are poignant-- no other cinematic version I can think of makes me as sorry for the physical and psychological deterioration of the Macbeths.

Dec 20, 2016

best Shakespeare on film ever by far ~ 420

Jun 15, 2011

Jon Finch and Francesca Anis star in this dark and gory version directed by Roman Polanski (1971). It must have been remarkable to see this movie when it first premiered. You’d think folks would have been afraid to see it since it was Polanski’s first movie after the murder of his wife Sharon Tate in 1969, but it was a block buster. It holds up very well and I think it is the best movie version of Macbeth, and perhaps one of the top 3 of any Shakespeare-based movie. Filmed in Wales and Northumberland the cinematography is gorgeous. The three witches (and there are even more) are the scariest I’ve seen in any movie. The acting is solid (whatever happened to Jon Finch) and the claymore fighting looks real…heavy, cumbersome, and slow-moving (today’s sword fights are sped up a bit). Definitely not a word-for-word interpretation of the play; Polanski was criticized for taking too many liberties. But it is a great movie, and if you are a Polanski fan (eg, Repulsion, Knife in the Water, Chinatown) this is a must see.


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