10. 'Shakespeare In Love'
Why adapt a play when you can adapt the man himself? Set during the writing of "Romeo And Juliet", this imaginary love story between the playwright (Joseph Fiennes) and his leading lady-in-disguise (Gwyneth Paltrow) earned the Academy Award for Best Picture. Paltrow won an Oscar for her role, as did co-star Judi Dench for the eight minutes she spent on screen as the icy Queen Elizabeth I.
9. 'She's The Man'
Adapted from "Twelfth Night," “She’s The Man” is centred around Viola Hastings (Amanda Bynes) as a teenage girl who disguises herself as her brother in order to play on the boys soccer team. Shakespeare may not have had soccer in mind when he wrote the play, but who are we to argue with a hunky young Channing Tatum as the team’s striker.
Akira Kurosawa expertly blends Shakespeare’s King Lear with Japanese legend for “Ran”, which follows a warlord who decides to abdicate as ruler in favour of his three sons. Kurosawa’s interpretation of Shakespeare focuses on the themes of power, madness and tragedy that the Bard knew so well.
One of the longest adaptations of Shakespeare’s works, Kenneth Branagh’s “Hamlet” clocks in at over four hours, but boasts a megawatt cast including Kate Winslet, Robin Williams, Charlton Heston, Billy Crystal, Jack Lemmon, Julie Christie and Branagh himself as Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark. Twenty years after its release, “Hamlet” remains one of the most critically-acclaimed Shakespearean adaptations holding a 95 per cent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
A modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, “O” trades the battlefield for the basketball court. With a love triangle between Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles and Josh Hartnett, the themes of racism, jealousy, revenge and repentance are just as powerfully relevant in the high school hallways as they were when Shakespeare wrote the play over 400 years ago.
5. 'The Lion King'
Denmark is ditched for the African Savannah in one of the more surprising Shakespearean adaptations of Hamlet. The fundamental battle for control of the kingdom between son and uncle is the heart of “The Lion King”, just as much as it is in Shakespeare’s play. Hamlet definitely didn’t have a warthog, though.
4. '10 Things I Hate About You'
"The Taming Of The Shrew" gets the high school treatment in “10 Things I Hate About You”. The film was a big hit with '90s teens and a breakthrough for actors Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Heath Ledger. And 17 years later the “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” marching band sing-along is still one of Heath Ledger’s most memorable on-screen moments.
3. 'West Side Story'
A modern day Romeo meets his forbidden Juliet in the 1961 movie which won an astounding 10 Academy Awards. "Romeo And Juliet"'s Montagues and Capulets are replaced by rival street gangs the Jets and the Sharks, but the star-crossed lovers and class conflict remains at the heart of the story.
Michael Fassbender brings Shakespearean tragedy to new audiences as the paranoid tyrannical ruler of Scotland in “Macbeth”. A fierce and faithful adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, Fassbender’s mesmerizing Macbeth wages his war on the battlefield as much as he does in his mind. A visually stunning cinematic experience, this is how Shakespeare must have envisioned his Scottish Play.
1. 'Romeo + Juliet'
He may have an Oscar now, but 22-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio will always be our Romeo. Director Baz Luhrmann’s modernized “Romeo + Juliet” made Shakespeare cool by mixing original dialogue with contemporary settings and trading in the swords of the Montagues and Capulets for mafia guns. With a soundtrack boasting some the ’90s biggest musical artists, “Romeo + Juliet” introduced a whole new generation to William Shakespeare.