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Shakespeare Movies That Don't Suck

Sean, Standley Lake Library

Reading the Bard’s plays isn’t for most guys. Thankfully Hollywood has taken care of the culture gap by making some truly arse-kicking (remember, Shakespeare’s British), testosterone-fueled adaptations especially for the Die Hard crowd. They are, as TBS might call them, “Shakespeare movies for guys who like Shakespeare movies.”

Here’s the lowdown:

Henry V - Forget that Laurence Olivier crap. Kenneth Branaugh’s version is gritty and violent, and the epic final battle in the mud has everything except girls and a volleyball. Dudes willing to forgive this oversight will enjoy a really intense war movie.

Hamlet - Kenneth Branaugh’s adaptation goes for the artsy and is sure to disappoint the bros. You want Mel Gibson’s version. To be or not to be Rambo is the question. The body count at the end will tell you the answer.

Romeo + Juliet - "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?" It’s not light breaking through that window, chump: it’s a spray of bullets. This update uses all the play’s original language but remakes the story into a tale of gangster warfare in Verona. Shakespeare liked his violence. You’ll like it too.

Titus - This movie’s so intense and bloody it really needs to star Wolverine. Instead we get Anthony Hopkins playing a character so bloody it makes Hannibal Lecter look like a vegan. Want to play a game? Take a drink every time someone loses a body part!

Richard III - Ian Mckellen (that’s Gandalf, yo) turned this play into a story about England in the 1930s taken over by a fascist government that looks just like the Nazis.  A little bit V for Vendetta, a little bit Valkyrie, there’s plenty here to like.

Much Ado About Nothing - Even hardcore guys have to mellow out sometimes. This retelling of Shakespeare’s comedy has Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington and Kate Beckinsale. No blood in this one, but hang out for some laughs because this is a real Shakespeare movie for guys who like Shakespeare movies.