7 Times Hollywood Butchered The Bard (& 10 Times It Got Him Right)

Each year upon this April month so fair
We celebrate the birth of one great bard.
In school we read his plays, so fine, with care.
Or watched them when the reading got too hard.
Hollywood could not resist his sage words
And cast celebrities to play his parts.
So we flocked to watch Leo, like the birds.
And he and Claire Danes won over our hearts.
But not every film always did the trick.
For some were as ill-conceived as my rhymes.
Sometimes the pictures were not good to pick.
You might as well have gone to Medieval Times.
So here we will review these flicks so poor.
We hope it does not prove to be a bore.


Yes, that is a terrible sonnet. But, was it as terrible as some of Hollywood's attempts to adapt Shakespeare's plays? For every Romeo and Juliet (1968) or even Romeo + Juliet (1996), there's a Romeo and Juliet (2013). You know, the one where Brody from Homeland was Lord Capulet, Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl was Tybalt, and a pre-"Love Myself" Hailee Steinfeld was Juliet.

Shakespeare can be intimidating for filmmakers, with all that verse. Sometimes they just do away with the complicated language and use his stories, which are often elemental in their simplicity. Take, for instance, all those teen movies you loved in the late '90s and early '00s. Other times, movies try to keep all those highfalutin words, but get rid of the stuffy costumes. See Baz Luhrmann's aforementioned Romeo. There is no exact formula for getting Shakespeare right, however; some fail miserably while others succeed.

Here are some examples of both the bad and the good.