Director: Orson Welles
Notable cast: Orson Welles, Jeannette Nolan
This black-and-white film features some minor changes to the original play along with significant edits. Welles increased the purpose and presence of the three Witches in the movie to play up the conflict between early Christianity and pagan beliefs in Scotland. Welles also emphasized the violence of the story: the film depicts Lady Macbeth’s suicide and the final battle that ends with Macbeth’s beheading by Macduff. Welles also wanted all of the characters to speak with authentic Scottish accents, but the studio that produced the film insisted that the voices be dubbed after the film was completed.
Director: Roman Polanski
Notable cast: John Finch, Francesca Annis
This R-rated film of the play features a nude sleepwalking scene by Lady Macbeth and plenty of on-screen violence. Polanski also emphasizes the passage of time – the events of play span several years, and the Macbeths visibly age over the course of the movie.
Director: Rupert Goold
Notable cast: Patrick Stewart, Kate Fleetwood
Patrick Stewart, better-known to many as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on
Director: Justin Kurziel
Notable cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion
This recent adaptation was filmed in Scotland, and opens with the funeral of the Macbeth’s dead son. This plot device links the couple’s thirst for power to their grief over losing their child, and makes the couple initially sympathetic to the audience.