There’s a reason William Shakespeare still has more name recognition than any It Girl, even at the ripe old age of 450. His tales have everything: forbidden romance, kings and queens mad with power, young men exploding with jealousy, sibling rivalry, women fighting for equal rights, and even a profound statement on suicide — or several.
Even if your only knowledge of Hamlet on film is thanks to Cher Horowitz’s affection for Mel Gibson’s '90s-era hotness in Clueless, it’s worth exploring all the best examples of Shakespeare on the big screen. With rankings, of course. Mel may have been hot back in the day, but we vastly prefer Leonardo DiCaprio moving heaven and earth to get to Claire Danes in Romeo + Juliet.
It’s also nice to know that centuries-old literature doesn’t have to be boring (put down those Cliff's Notes). Take Joss Whedon’s 2012 fresh take on Much Ado About Nothing, or the modern-day depiction of Hamlet in 2000, set in New York, with Ethan Hawke reciting the “To be, or not to be” speech in a Blockbuster Video (RIP).