We can’t kick off Shakespeare month without giving you a resource to enjoy all the Shakespeare your little hearts can handle. You may be thinking that you have to drop a lot of money to enjoy this sort of high culture, or even worse, leave the house. But fret not, gentle friends, this is your source to find out where and how to watch (or read) every work of Shakespeare without leaving your home.
Now, there are some plays that have been adapted a lot and are very easy to find: Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet. They’re all over the place and it’s often not a question of if you can find them, but which one to watch, and believe me, we’ll get into the relative merits of different versions soo enough. But we’re looking for the complete canon here, so we’re going to break this down alphabetically by play and pick some of our favorites. Many of these are harder to find and do require a few dollars for a rental.
Follow the hyperlinks in the titles to read the plays over on OpensourseShakespear.Org.
All’s Well That Ends Well Available on YouTube from the Royal Shakespeare company, free,
Antony and Cleopatra The recent broadcast is available to rent on YouTube.
As You Like It The 2007 adaptation by Kenneth Branagh starring Bryce Dallas Howard is currently on Hulu.
Comedy of Errors Available on Amazon Prime and from Shakespeare’s Globe to rent on YouTube.
Coriolanus The latest adaptation with Ralph Fiennes for free on YouTube (with ads).
Cymbeline A 1982 production with Helen Mirren is available on Broadway HD and Amazon Prime.
Hamlet There’s a lot of the sad danish Princes out there, with several versions available on Amazon Prime Video.
Henry IV, Part I / Henry IV, Part II /Henry V /Richard II. These four plays were combined into one single, great adaptation by the BBC in 2012 called The Hollow Crown which can be found on Amazon.
Henry VI, Part I , Henry VI, Part II , Henry VI, Part III / Richard III . These were consolidated as “season 2” of The Hollow Crown.
Henry VIII Available on BroadwayHD/Amazon Prime Video.
Julius Caesar Also available on Broadway HD/Amazon Prime Video.
King John You guessed it, BroadwayHD/Amazon Prime Video.
King Lear Amazon remains on top of it with a 2018 version with Anthony Hopkins on Prime.
Love’s Labour’s Lost The excellent musical version of this one with Kenneth Branagh, Matthew Lillard, and Alicia Silverstone is available to rent on YouTube.
Macbeth Michael Fassbender’s 2015 version is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Measure for Measure Yup. Amazon Prime/Broadway HD has this rare one streaming.
Merchant of Venice Al Pacino’s 2004 version is currently streaming on HBO Go.
Merry Wives of Windsor This hilarious play is surprisingly hard to find but can be rented from The Globe online.
Midsummer Night’s Dream The 1999 film with Michelle Pfeiffer and Stanley Tucci is pretty great, but not available anywhere for free, only to rent. If you want a staged version, good ol’ Amazon Prime Video has one with Helen Mirren.
Much Ado about Nothing There’s no better movie version of this play than Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 film, which is currently free on Vudu and free with ads on IMDbTv. The full version of a recent staging with David Tennant and Catherine Tate is also on YouTube.
Othello There are many adaptations but this one on Amazon Prime Video has no one in blackface, so that’s a plus.
Pericles This is another rare one, but again, Amazon Prime Video comes through.
Romeo and Juliet This one you’ve probably seen and the famous Romeo + Juliet of 1996 is currently on Hulu, but here’s a lovely and completely free recent version over on YouTube.
The Taming of the Shrew The 1967 version with Elizabeth Taylor is pretty great and available to rent most places where you find movies, including on YouTube.
The Tempest Another great with many versions out there, but this recent production in free with a subscription on BroadwayHD/Amazon Prime.
Timon of Athens Again, Amazon Prime Video’s impressive collection comes through.
Titus Andronicus Shakespeare’s first and goriest play was adapted in 1999 by Julie Taymor and the equally gory and weird movie is available now at Daily Motion. A 1985 version is also on Amazon Prime Video.
Troilus and Cressida Once again, check out Broadway HD/Amazon Prime Video.
Twelfth Night There’s a 1996 film that available to rent, but again, there’s a staged version free to stream on Prime.
Two Gentlemen of Verona Again, a decent version is streaming on Broadway HD via Amazon Prime.
Winter’s Tale Finishing up with one more gift from Amazon.
This is just a sampling and if you want different versions, while it seems clear a subscription to Amazon Prime will get you a lot of Shakespeare, you can find many on YouTube as well. In addition, the Globe Theater in London is making many of their filmed performances free in the next month.
Happy Shakespeare watching!
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org