Great Performances (1971– )
6 user 2 critic


Not Rated | | Music | Episode aired 1990
A Danish prince and university student avenges his father's murder by his uncle, who stole the crown and married his mother.


William Shakespeare (play), Beth Strauss (script supervisor)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
MacIntyre Dixon MacIntyre Dixon ... Francisco / Gravedigger / Player
Rene Rivera ... Bernardo / Lucianus
Bill Camp ... Marcellus / Sailor / Player
Peter Francis James ... Horatio
Robert Murch Robert Murch ... Ghost / Priest
Dana Ivey ... Gertrude
Brian Murray ... Claudius
Josef Sommer ... Polonius
Michael Cumpsty ... Laertes
Diane Venora ... Ophelia
Kevin Kline ... Hamlet
Philip Goodwin Philip Goodwin ... Rosencrantz (as Phillip Goodwin)
Reg E. Cathey ... Guildenstern
Clement Fowler Clement Fowler ... Player King / Lord
Tanny McDonald Tanny McDonald ... Player Queen / Lady-in-Waiting


This is a Great Performances presentation of Joseph Papp's 1990 New York Shakespeare Festival production of the play. Hamlet returns from university for his father's funeral to find his uncle married to his mother. Prompted by his father's ghost, Hamlet carries out his investigation and revenge. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated





English | Latin

Release Date:

1990 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This is the second time for B. H. Barry to choreograph the fighting for Hamlet. He had done so before for the version of Hamlet in the BBC TV Shakespeare series starring Derek Jacobi in the title role. See more »


Laertes, wanting to avenge his father's and sister's death, conspires with Claudius to kill Hamlet. For this purpose, a cup of wine is poisoned and the sword drained in poison. However, when he sees that Hamlet tries to drink from the poisoned cup, instead of letting him do so, he deters him by cutting Hamlet with his poisoned sword. See more »


Version of The Tragedy of Hamlet (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

14 January 2005 | by timbasa77See all my reviews

Kevin Kline does a rather excellent job with Hamlet, keeping the mania, self-righteousness and bitterness of Hamlet intact, all characteristics that make Hamlet less than likable, while still being a very sympathetic and throughly intriguing character. We can empathize with his plight, and even though he's often a lot to take, we feel like he really alone in a corrupt and vile world, and not just an overly critical bastard (like Brannagh's Hamlet.) Unfortunately, Ophelia sucks and practically derails the play. Claudius, Gertrude, and Horatio are impressive, but they can't save the play from Ophelia's dreadful overracting and the utter irritation that issues forth from this teleplay's Polonius. Overall, worth it for Kline, but far from perfect.

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