For someone who’s been around for nearly half a millennium, William Shakespeare certainly knows how to stay current. In honor of the Bard’s big day, we’ve assembled a few of our favorite more recent classics that have done justice to his work (and, no, Anonymous didn’t make the list). Check out the clips below and share your favorite Shakespearean takes on film in the comments below!
It’s so hard to choose just one scene from Baz Luhrmann’s innovative William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, which brought the star-crossed lovers of Verona into modern times by way of a California suburb back in 1996. The gas station prologue was shocking when it first hit theaters, and my jaw still drops hearing Shakespeare’s words come out of the mouths of gun-toting teenagers (Jamie Kennedy! John Leguizamo!) clad in Hawaiian shirts.
More inspiring words were never written than the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V. In fact, just doing a Google search, it comes up many times over as “The Greatest Speech Ever Made.” Here’s Kenneth Branagh with a classic interpretation. Not-so-obscure fact: This speech is the origin of the phrase “band of brothers.”
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