Movies You Never Knew Were Inspired By Shakespeare Plays

These films you didn’t realize are cleverly based on Shakespearean plays, adding a whole new dimension to their stories.

William Shakespeare, the renowned poet and playwright, is considered the greatest dramatist of all time. 

According to Biography, his works vividly capture the range of human emotion and conflict. They include at least 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and 2 narrative poems, captivating audiences for over 400 years. 

Shakespeare’s influence extended far beyond the stage. He was an important member of the King’s Men theatrical company from roughly 1594 onward, inspiring future writers and their stories.

One of the fascinating ways in which Shakespeare’s legacy endures is through modern adaptations of his works in film. 

Some movies directly adapt his plays, such as Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth

Others offer subtle, modernized retellings that might surprise audiences with their Shakespearean roots. 

From romance to tragedy, Shakespearean themes can be found across various film genres, demonstrating the timelessness and versatility of his stories.

READ ALSO: Like The Movies: 6 Celebrity Couples With Heartwarming Love Stories That Inspire

She’s the Man (2006) – Based on Twelfth Night

In the early 2000s romantic comedy She’s the Man, the entire plot is drawn from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, albeit in a modern setting. 

The film follows Viola (Amanda Bynes), who disguises herself as her twin brother to join an all-male soccer team after her school cuts the girls’ team. 

According to Business Insider, complications arise when she falls for her roommate, Duke (Channing Tatum), who is unaware of her true identity.

Despite its modern twist, the film stays true to the essence of Twelfth Night and has become a beloved classic. 

The Lion King (1994) – Based on Hamlet

While The Lion King is a Disney classic known for its originality, its narrative draws striking parallels to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The story of Simba, Mufasa, and Scar reflects themes of betrayal, ambition, and revenge found in the iconic play. 

Both stories feature a king murdered by his brother and a young prince destined to avenge his father’s death. 

However, The Lion King diverges from the tragic ending of Hamlet, offering a more hopeful conclusion, as per Oprah Daily.

Warm Bodies (2013) – Based on Romeo and Juliet

Warm Bodies presents a unique twist on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in a post-apocalyptic setting as per Forbes

The film follows R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie who rediscovers his humanity after falling in love with Julie (Teresa Palmer), a human survivor. 

Their love story mirrors the tragic romance of Romeo and Juliet, with R and Julie defying societal norms and bridging the divide between their two worlds. 

Despite its undead protagonists, Warm Bodies captures the essence of Shakespearean tragedy in a refreshing and modern way, according to the Australian National University.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999) – Based on The Taming of the Shrew

10 Things I Hate About You is inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. It’s a charming high school comedy that retains the essence of the original play as reported by IMDb

The film follows Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). He attempts to woo Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), a girl whose strict father won’t let her date until her older sister, Kat (Julia Stiles), does. 

Cameron enlists the help of the enigmatic Patrick (Heath Ledger) to “tame” Kat. This leads to unexpected twists and heartfelt moments that pay homage to Shakespeare’s classic comedy, as per CBR.

Anyone But You (2023) – Based on Much Ado About Nothing

Anyone But You, starring Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, offers a modern take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. 

The film follows the romantic journey of Beatrice and Benedick, two characters known for their witty banter and aversion to love. 

Through a series of humorous and cunning tricks orchestrated by their friends, Beatrice and Benedick are compelled to confront their true feelings for each other. 

While the film takes liberties with its adaptation, it remains faithful to the spirit of Shakespeare’s original work. It delighted audiences with its clever nods to the source material, according to Collider.

From Past to Present and Beyond

These movies demonstrate the enduring influence of Shakespeare’s works on modern storytelling. 

Whether through direct adaptations or subtle reinterpretations, Shakespeare’s timeless themes continue to captivate audiences and inspire new generations of storytellers.

Banner photo via IMDb’s official website.

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