On Shakespeare and Film...

William Shakespeare is one of the most frequently adapted playwrights in the history of film, with his works being adapted for the screen countless times over the past century.

Shakespeare's plays and poems have been adapted for the silver screen in a wide variety of styles and genres, from traditional period pieces to modern reinterpretations. His works have been adapted across countless languages and have been set in locations around the world.

One of the earliest adaptations of Shakespeare's works for the screen was King John, a silent film released in 1899. The film still exists! Watch it below.

Since then, his works have been adapted for film repeatedly, with notable adaptations including Romeo and Juliet (1968), Hamlet (1990), and Othello (1995), starring Laurence Fishburne in the title role, opposite Kenneth Branagh’s Iago.

Shakespeare's stories have also been adapted for animated films and musicals, including The Lion King (1994), which was inspired by Hamlet, Gnomeo & Juliet (2011), which was based on Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story (1961), also based on Romeo and Juliet but set in contemporary New York City.

Beyond these adaptations, Shakespeare's work has also inspired films that aren’t directly based on his plays, but which draw upon his themes and characters. These include the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love (1998 – co-written by Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation patron, Sir Tom Stoppard ), which tells the story of Shakespeare's life and the creation of Romeo and Juliet.

Shakespeare's works have had a lasting impact on the world of film and continue to inspire new adaptations and reinterpretations to this day. We’re inviting schools across the world to create their very own Shakespeare films too! Watch entries from the latest Shakespeare Schools Film Festival here and find out how you can get your school involved.

More than
young people have taken part in the Festival

Our flagship project is the Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact

Coram SSF is a cultural education charity that exists to instil curiosity and empathy, aspiration and self-esteem, literacy and teamwork - giving young people the confidence to see that all the world is their stage.

Learn more about us