Hamlet is a British film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play of the same name, adapted and directed by and starring Sir Laurence Olivier. Hamlet was Olivier’s second film as director, and also the second of the three Shakespeare films that he directed. Hamlet was the first British film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It is also the first sound film of the play in English.
Olivier’s Hamlet is the Shakespeare film that has received the most prestigious accolades, winning the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. However, it proved controversial among Shakespearean purists, who felt that Olivier had made too many alterations and excisions to the four-hour play by cutting nearly two hours’ worth of content.
The film featured Jean Simmons as Ophelia, and the likes of John Laurie (Dad’s Army), Anthony Quayle and Christopher Lee as Guards. Patrick Troughton appeared as the Player King, Peter Cushing as Osric and Stanley Holloway as Gravedigger.