Box art for Hamlet (1990)

Hamlet (1990)

Mel Gibson stars as the Prince of Denmark, whose determination to avenge the murder of his father and remarriage of his mother leads to an intricate tapestry of intrigue, introspection, deception and death.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
0 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Mel Gibson emotes as the doleful Dane.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this version of Hamlet is played to suggest an incestuous relationship between the Prince of Denmark and his mother, Queen Gertrude. In one angry scene, Hamlet mimes sexual intercourse (fully clothed) while berating Gertrude for marrying his uncle before his father was cold in the grave. His mother, in turn, kisses her grown son suggestively.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the limitations and advantages of bringing a Shakespeare play to the screen. Did you find the play's arcane language more accessible? What about special effects? Why do you think the play's running time was cut in half? Did that help or hurt the story?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 13
    see all Hamlet (1990) reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Mel Gibson] is by far the best part of Mr. Zeffirelli's sometimes slick but always lucid and beautifully cinematic version of the play.

- Caryn James, New York Times, Saturday, October 4, 2003


- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: It's a surprisingly successful venture, decked out in Anglo-Saxon styles and with a brooding, robust castle setting which oozes horse muck.

- Derek Adams, Time Out, Saturday, June 24, 2006

Audience Reviews

4 stars

This is a very faithful, even if exaggerated attempt to recreate a shakespearean play, centuries after the material. After the good, but less faithful DiCaprio version of Romeo and Juliet, Mel Gibson tries his luck at playing the Prince in "Hamlet." I must say that I am thoroughly impressed with the outcome of this film. It stays true to most of the originally scripted playwrights and tries to cover new grounds in making it a feature-length film. The pacing is a little slow at times, but I accepted it, because that is how the play already is. Some of the dialogue seems to make fun of shakespearean language which makes a few scenes a little uneven, but the entire story is present and I had a great time watching it. "Hamlet (1990" is a great film!

- fb733768972, Monday, October 24, 2011

3 stars

Hamlet: The play's the thing, wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king. "Shakespeare's classic tale of vengeance and tragedy." I'm not a huge fan of Shakespeare, when it comes to the movie adaptions or just the original plays, but I can enjoy a well made Shakespeare adaption from time to time. The only two I've seen that I've liked are both from Zefferelli. He made the ultimate classic, Romeo and Juliet and then his version of Hamlet was pretty good as well. It is the only version I have seen, so I have nothing to compare it to. Still, while I can appreciate this movie, I still can't fully say I like because it just isn't to my taste. There's really no reason going over plot because everyone knows the plot before going in. Mel Gibson does do a pretty good job as Hamlet. His soliloquies are pretty good and most of the time when I see an actor do a soliloquy, I want to kill myself. This has all the necessary and annoying elements that come along with Shakespeare. It's overly dramatic and its acting is way over the top in the drama department as well. But that just comes with the territory. Glenn Close and Helena Bonham Carter were also good in their respected roles as Gertrude and Ophelia. Going in you should probably know if this movie is for you or not. Shakespeare fans should adore it, although I guess some of the previous ones are considered better. People who hate Shakespeare will hate it. As far as the few adaptions I've seen of Shakespeare, this would have to be my second favorite. The major scenes of Hamlet are well done, so that in itself makes the movie worth a look.

- blkbomb, Friday, October 7, 2011

2 stars

I saw around twenty minutes of this and then I just gave up. The "To Be, or Not to Be" soliloquy was boring and overly-dramatized.

- spielberg00, Thursday, September 29, 2011