What a week, huh? In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Folger’s staff will be working remotely through the end of March. Like us, you may be buckling down for a long stretch of staying in.
You might have heard that Shakespeare wrote King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, and a handful of other classics during a period when the plague forced London theaters to close. You probably have your own list of projects you’d like to complete while you’re social distancing, but, if you need a break from writing that masterpiece, here’s a short list of Shakespeare adaptations on streaming platforms in the US this March. There’s something for everyone here: television episodes, Bollywood adaptations, made-for-TV movies, filmed versions of stage productions, and big blockbusters.
Of course, if you’d rather start by reading some Shakespeare, check out The Folger Shakespeare, our new online home for all of Shakespeare’s plays. There, you can read, search, and download the texts. You’ll also find introductory and critical essays, textual notes, and scene summaries.
And now, here’s what to stream if you need a little Shakespeare in your life:
Henry V (1989)
Directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh.
Julius Caesar (2012)
A BBC Television adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company production, with Paterson Joseph as Brutus.
King Lear (2018)
With Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.
Kiss Me, Kate (1958)
A black-and-white, made-for-TV version of the musical with Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison reprising their Broadway roles and Fred and Lilli.
Rupert Goold’s made-for-TV movie with Sir Patrick Stewart as Macbeth and Kate Fleetwood as Lady Macbeth.
In this Bollywood picture, director Vishal Bhardwaj re-imagines Macbeth in Mumbai’s criminal underworld.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1981)
One of a handful of BBC Television versions of the plays streaming on Amazon Prime, this Midsummer features Helen Mirren and Hugh Quarshie.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2018)
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
A modern language adaptation for Britain’s ITV, with former-Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston as “Ben Jago” and Eamonn Walker as “John Othello.”
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1991)
Shakespeare Uncovered, Seasons 1 – 3
In this PBS documentary series, actors dig deep into their favorite Shakespeare plays.
Richard II (2016)
Adapted from Deborah Warner’s National Theatre production, with Fiona Shaw as Richard II.
The Taming of the Shrew (1929)
The Taming of the Shrew (1980)
With Monty Python’s John Cleese as Petruchio.
Twelfth Night (1970)
With Alec Guiness as Malvolio, Ralph Richardson as Toby, and Joan Plowright as Viola.
Twelfth Night (2018)
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
The Lion King (1994, 2019)
Watch either the 1994 animated classic or the 2019 “live action” remake: they might remind you of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
As You Like It (2007)
The Merchant of Venice (2004)
With Pacino as Shylock!
10 Things I Hate About You (2009)
The ABC Family TV show, not the movie.
Pinky and the Brain, Season 3, episode 25: “The Megalomaniacal Adventures of Brainie the Poo”/ “The Melancholy Brain” (1998)
The Brain’s plan to take over the world starts with Denmark.
The Twilight Zone, Season 4, episode 18: “The Bard” (1963)
A hack screenwriter uses black magic to conjure up William Shakespeare, then promptly puts the Bard to work ghostwriting a screenplay.
A Bollywood re-imagining of Hamlet that sets the play’s events in Kashmir.
The King (2019)
Timothée Chalamet plays Henry V in this Netflix adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henriad.
Sure, Shakespeare wrote King Lear while he was quarantined, but back then Netflix was still just doing DVDs in the mail
— Mike Ingram (@mikeingram00) March 14, 2020
Is there anything we missed? Are you streaming TV or movies outside the United States? Have your own streaming recommendations for home-bound Shakespeare-lovers? Tell us what you’re streaming in the comments!