Claire Danes And Leonardo DiCaprio In 'Romeo + Juliet'
Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

The Best Shakespeare Plays To Movie Adaptations

Francesca Herring September 19, 2022

You either love Shakespeare, or you hate him. He’s a marmite guy. His plays can be hard to read, but have you ever watched a Shakespeare movie adaptation?

In recent years, there’s been more of an effort to make Shakespeare accessible to everyone. One way is by turning his plays into movies. And these movies are actually really good. Here are some of the best Shakespeare to movie adaptations around.

Shakespeare Movie Adaptations

Romeo and Juliet (1997) – Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation

You were probably made to watch this at school. This adaptation is a twist on the romantic tragedy by Shakespeare. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a young Romeo and Claire Danes as Juliet. There’s a modern twist to this adaptation, as it features helicopters, guns and everything in between. Paul Rudd also features a modern twist, playing the role of Count Paris. 

This adaptation does follow the dialogue of the play pretty much to the tee, but it isn’t as confusing as reading the play. It makes for a much better understanding of having recognisable faces and modern landscapes along the way! This is certainly an essential adaptation. 

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

This movie is one of the best chick flicks around, but did you know it’s also a Shakespeare adaptation? 10 Things I Hate About You is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew. It stars the iconic Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles as one of the best romcom duos ever. The Taming of the Shrew is all about an unconventionally attractive girl and her suitor. It’s a comedy play, and the humour is translated perfectly onto the screen adaptation.

10 Things I Hate About You is a modern dialogue with a modern setting. It takes place in a high school in the 90s. This is a great adaptation to watch if you want to read The Taming of the Shrew without actually reading it. The modern adaptation perfectly grasps what the play is all about. It’s also a really good romcom!

Photo by Buena Vista/Getty Images

She’s the Man (2006) – Andy Fickman’s adaptation

Arguably one of the best Amanda Bynes films out there, She’s the Man is a 2006 take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Bynes takes on the role of Viola Hastings who pretends to be a boy in order to play on her brother’s school’s football team. A much more modern take on Shakespeare’s Viola, who disguises herself as her shipwrecked brother. 

Again, this film is a standalone rom-com success, it just so happens that it’s another Shakespeare adaptation. Twelfth Night is one of the lesser known Shakespeare plays, and if you don’t fancy the task of reading it, you can watch She’s the Man instead.

So many of our favourite romcoms are actually adaptations of some classic works. Clueless is actually an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. So, if you don’t enjoy reading, or find the classics daunting, watch these movies instead! 

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
I'm an English Literature student at the University of Birmingham, and I'm obsessed with anything literature related! I love reading, watching F1, and listening to music. I've always loved writing articles on my interests and can't wait to get stuck into more journalism.