William Shakespeare is probably the greatest playwright ever. Seriously. From the heartbreak of his tragedies to the hilarity of his comedies, that man did it all. He broke your heart in Macbeth, and then made you cackle in Much Ado About Nothing. He was serious, and filthy, and sometimes both in the same scene. He was truly, and I admit that I’m writing this from the perspective of a fangirl here, a revelation.

And part of the reason why he’s such a revelation? How adaptable he is. A lot of Shakespeare’s plays are set in his time, but they examine human nature in a way that fascinates even 400 or so years later. Shakespeare understands the human condition, and it is his understanding of such that leads him to being adapted over and over again. There are more film adaptations than you can shake a stick at, and the number seems to grow by the day.

But what are the best of these film adaptations? What ones truly capture Shakespeare in all his glory, get down the pure beauty of his words without losing everything else that makes him so great?

In this article I mean to list the top five Shakespeare adaptations on film. And, believe me – they were far from easy decisions.

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