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The BBC Shakespeare Plays

37 Programs included in this title
Produced by The BBC
  • All's Well that Ends Well
    Here Shakespeare uses one of his favorite devices--trickery. The young countess resorts to chicanery to win her husband's respect.
  • Antony & Cleopatra
    The star, Jane Lapotaire, not only looks similar to the historical Queen of Egypt, but has the range to capture her many facets
  • As You Like It
    Is there a "natural difference" between a duke's daughter and a commoner? Are men really stronger than women? Or is it just society's role? Stars Helen Mirren and Richard Pasco.
  • The Comedy of Errors
    Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the band "The Who," stars in Shakespeare's shortest play.
  • Coriolanus
    In his last tragedy, Shakespeare studies the character of a soldier. Stars Alan Howard.
  • Cymbeline
    King Cymbeline's evil second queen tries to force Princess Imogen to marry her own son. Starring Claire Bloom and Helen Mirren.
  • In this richly costumed production, the greatest tragedy ever written maintains all the tension of a murder mystery. Derek Jacobi is a superb choice as Hamlet.
  • Henry IV, Part 1
    The boisterous Falstaff leads Prince Hal, the heir to the throne, through London's lowlife taverns. Starring Jon Finch, Anthony Quayle.
  • Henry IV, Part 2
    The death of Henry IV, banishment of Falstaff and coronation of Hal as Henry V. Stars Jon Finch, Anthony Quayle, David Gwillim.
  • England's most admired national hero, Henry V unites his people, invades France, deals with traitors and cements the peace
  • Henry VI, Part 1
    First of a trilogy, recreating King Henry's early days. Starring Peter Benson, Trevor Peacock.
  • Henry VI, Part 2
    Henry marries Lady Margaret, but she despises his meekness and takes Suffolk as a lover
  • Henry VI, Part 3
    York wins the War of Roses and forces Henry to give him succession.
  • Henry VIII
    Filmed at Henry's favorite place, Leeds Castle, enacted in the very rooms the King inhabited, 500 years ago. Stars Claire Bloom, John Stride.
  • Julius Caesar
    Breaking dramatic conventions, Shakespeare creates neither a clearcut hero nor a villain. Starring Charles Gray as Caesar.
  • King John
    Here Shakespeare rewrote another's work, the only time he uses such a source instead of the chronicles themselves. Stars Claire Bloom
  • King Lear
    Crisply paced, with an exemplary cast. Starring Michael Hodern, Anton Lesser.
  • Love's Labour's Lost
    A splendid satire -- some of Shakespeare's best early poetry
  • This savage tragedy is one of Shakespeare's most enduringly popular. Starring Nicol Williamson and Jane Lapotaire.
  • Measure For Measure
    The trickiest sort of play -- a comedy with tragic relief. The New York Times says "Kate Nelligan is the image idealized faultlessness."
  • Merchant of Venice
    This play presents contrasts in the character Shylock. Is he villian, buffoon or tragic hero? Starring Warren Mitchell, Gemma Jones.
  • Merry Wives of Windsor
    Queen Elizabeth herself is said to have requested the return of Falstaff. Here he tries to seduce two respectable wives. Stars Ben Kingsley.
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
    An extraordinary production of an enduring comedy. The strong cast features Helen Mirren and Peter McEnery
  • Much Ado About Nothing
    The sparring wit of the confirmed bachelor, Benedick, and the haughty lady Beatrice seems to delight audiences more every year.
  • Perhaps his greatest triumph as a stage play. Evil Iago plants doubt in Othello's mind about Desdemona, and audiences are spellbound. Stars Anthony Hopkins, Bob Hoskins as Iago.
  • Pericles
    The Prince of Tyre, who flees upon discovering his King in an incestuous relationship. Starring Mike Gwilym and Amanda Redman.
  • Richard II
    A stellar cast includes Derek Jacobi, Sir John Gielgud, and Dame Wendy Hiller.
  • Richard III
    A huge success in its day, this play portrays an intricate period in English history.
  • Romeo and Juliet
    A "hit" for over 400 years. It expresses love in its infinite variety more than any other work in the English language. Stars Sir John Gielgud.
  • Taming of the Shrew
    John Cleese, of Monty Python, portrays Petruchio to unanimous acclaim: "an object lesson in serving Shakespeare to a present-day audience."
  • The Tempest
    A timeless stage on an enchanted island. An exiled Duke and two lovers encounter the occult.
  • Timon of Athens
    Choice says "recommended version of a difficult yet interesting play." His most cynical work.
  • Titus Andronicus
    This tragedy draws on brutal Roman mythology. Stars Eileen Atkins, Trevor Peacock
  • Troilus & Cressida
    Says Choice, "This video is simply excellent, valuable to anyone teaching the play." Stars Anton Lesser, Suzanne Burden.
  • Twelfth Night
    This is the most subtle of Shakespeare's comedies. Starring Alec McCowen, Trevor Peacock.
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona
    Shakespeare's earliest attempt at romantic comedy, two friends fall in love with Silvia. With the characters Valentine, Proteus, Silvia and Julia.
  • The Winter's Tale
    A theme that occupied Shakespeare later in life: reconciliation. Wrongs committed by one generation are made right by the next.