Laurence Olivier (1948)

U Certificate


Our Score
Laurence Olivier directed and stars in this astonishing Shakespeare adaptation, which won four Academy Awards, including best actor for Olivier himself. Desmond Dickinson's camerawork adds mood to the moment as Larry's blond-headed Prince Hamlet wanders around Elsinore Castle, ambiguously pursuing Ophelia (Jean Simmons), berating his mother (Eileen Herlie) and stalking his new stepfather (Basil Sydney). (Olivier also played the ghost of Hamlet's father, to eerie effect.) For the sake of pace - and the film certainly has that! - adapter Alan Dent removes the supporting characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, while William Walton's music adds atmospheric lustre. Despite all the cuts, this is a very great Dane.


The Prince of Denmark is haunted by the suspicious death of his father and his mother's sudden remarriage to his power-hungry uncle, and compelled by a ghostly visitation to seek revenge. Shakespearean drama, directed by and starring Laurence Olivier, with Eileen Herlie, Basil Sydney, Jean Simmons, Peter Cushing and Patrick Troughton.

Cast & Crew

Hamlet Laurence Olivier
Gertrude Eileen Herlie
Claudius Basil Sydney
Horatio Norman Wooland
Polonius Felix Aylmer
Laertes Terence Morgan
Ophelia Jean Simmons
Osric Peter Cushing
Gravedigger Stanley Holloway
Francisco John Laurie
Marcellus Anthony Quayle
Sea captain Niall MacGinnis
Player King Patrick Troughton
Director Laurence Olivier
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray