What modern day movie can be compared to Hamlet?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What an interesting question!  The first movie that came to mind for me was The Godfather.  If you consider the mafia dons as kings, you can see the similarities.  In each case there is a sensitive young son who pays for the sins of his family, and ends up trying to take power to save his family.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I suggest that the modern-day movie which most closely resembles Hamlet is The Graduate (1967), starring Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock. Benjamin comes home from school and begins to realize that nothing he learned in college prepared him for the immorality, materialism, and hypocrisy of real people in the real world. Ironically, his real education does not begin until he has graduated. Hamlet is introduced as a naive, idealistic, scholarly type of youth who only begin to understand the truth about the real world when his father's ghost tells him that he was murdered by Claudius, who subsequently married the dead king's widow and Hamlet's mother Gertrude. Hamlet's eyes are opened and he sees the world in a different light. I feel certain that The Graduate, based on the novel by Charles Webb, was inspired by the Hamlet story.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think that the ideas of revenge, the conflict between political and personal forms of loyalty, as well as the notion of illegitimacy in government and how people respond to it are all shared elements between Shakespeare's work and Ridley Scott's film, Gladiator.  If the focus was simply on revenge, I think that the protagonists in both are driven by the need to honor their family.  Hamlet and his father and Maximus and his wife and child drive both of them to seek revenge, what is seen as honor for their family.  I think that a significant difference would be that Maximus is a bit more focused on this end than Hamlet, who struggles to not allow his function be smothered by his surmise.  Yet, it is evident that both characters drive towards this end of honoring their family.  Both characters fundamentally struggle against an authority that is illegitimate, something having come to power through deceptive means against the more honorable form of authority.  In the end, both protagonists struggle in a world where reason and logic has disappeared, compelling them to take action when no other force is either willing or capable to do so.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial