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The BBC Shakespeare Plays

Shakespeare is rightly called the world's greatest playwright for the soaring beauty of his language, for his profound insight into human nature, for the truths he dramatized and for the realism of the characters he created. He was, and remains, a superb entertainer. Featuring some of Britain's most distinguished theatrical talent, these programs are an ideal choice for libraries, literature classes, and for continuing personal enjoyment. Ambrose Video is to proud to be the exclusive distributor of Shakespeare's plays which are so richly rewarding to our viewers. We have taken as much care as possible to restore the masters (which are over 20 years old) for the best viewing experience possible. Plays purchased are viewable both in their entirety and by act.
  • Title ID 24-SH
  • English, English Literature, Shakespeare
  • 37 Programs
  • 39 Supplemental Files
  • 10th Grade through Post Secondary
  • Published by The BBC
Included Programs
Supplemental Files
Related Titles

Included Programs

All's Well that Ends WellRunning time is 141 minutes

Here Shakespeare uses one of his favorite devices--trickery. The young countess resorts to chicanery to win her husband's respect.

Chapter List
All's Well That Ends Well Act 1
All's Well That Ends Well Act 2
All's Well That Ends Well Act 3
All's Well That Ends Well Act 4
All's Well That Ends Well Act 5

Antony & CleopatraRunning time is 171 minutes

The star, Jane Lapotaire, not only looks similar to the historical Queen of Egypt, but has the range to capture her many facets

Chapter List
Antony and Cleopatra Act 1
Antony and Cleopatra Act 2
Antony and Cleopatra Act 3
Antony and Cleopatra Act 4
Antony and Cleopatra Act 5

As You Like ItRunning time is 151 minutes

Is there a "natural difference" between a duke's daughter and a commoner? Are men really stronger than women? Or is it just society's role? Stars Helen Mirren and Richard Pasco.

Chapter List
As You Like It Act 1
As You Like It Act 2
As You Like It Act 3
As You Like It Act 4
As You Like It Act 5

The Comedy of ErrorsRunning time is 111 minutes

Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the band "The Who," stars in Shakespeare's shortest play.

Chapter List
Comedy of Errors Act 1
Comedy of Errors Act 2
Comedy of Errors Act 3
Comedy of Errors Act 4
Comedy of Errors Act 5

CoriolanusRunning time is 145 minutes

In his last tragedy, Shakespeare studies the character of a soldier. Stars Alan Howard.

Chapter List
Coriolanus Act 1
Coriolanus Act 2
Coriolanus Act 3
Coriolanus Act 4
Coriolanus Act 5

CymbelineRunning time is 175 minutes

King Cymbeline's evil second queen tries to force Princess Imogen to marry her own son. Starring Claire Bloom and Helen Mirren.

Chapter List
Cymbeline Act 1
Cymbeline Act 2
Cymbeline Act 3
Cymbeline Act 4
Cymbeline Act 5

HamletRunning time is 215 minutes

In this richly costumed production, the greatest tragedy ever written maintains all the tension of a murder mystery. Derek Jacobi is a superb choice as Hamlet.

Chapter List
Hamlet Act 1
Hamlet Act 2
Hamlet Act 3
Hamlet Act 4
Hamlet Act 5

Henry IV, Part 1Running time is 148 minutes

The boisterous Falstaff leads Prince Hal, the heir to the throne, through London's lowlife taverns. Starring Jon Finch, Anthony Quayle.

Chapter List
Henry IV Part 1 Act 1
Henry IV Part 1 Act 2
Henry IV Part 1 Act 3
Henry IV Part 1 Act 4
Henry IV Part 1 Act 5

Henry IV, Part 2Running time is 151 minutes

The death of Henry IV, banishment of Falstaff and coronation of Hal as Henry V. Stars Jon Finch, Anthony Quayle, David Gwillim.

Chapter List
Henry IV Part 2 Act 1
Henry IV Part 2 Act 2
Henry IV Part 2 Act 3
Henry IV Part 2 Act 4
Henry IV Part 2 Act 5

Henry VRunning time is 164 minutes

England's most admired national hero, Henry V unites his people, invades France, deals with traitors and cements the peace

Chapter List
Henry V Act 1
Henry V Act 2
Henry V Act 3
Henry V Act 4
Henry V Act 5

Henry VI, Part 1Running time is 187 minutes

First of a trilogy, recreating King Henry's early days. Starring Peter Benson, Trevor Peacock.

Chapter List
Henry VI Part 1 Act 1
Henry VI Part 1 Act 2
Henry VI Part 1 Act 3
Henry VI Part 1 Act 4
Henry VI Part 1 Act 5

Henry VI, Part 2Running time is 213 minutes

Henry marries Lady Margaret, but she despises his meekness and takes Suffolk as a lover

Chapter List
Henry VI Part 2 Act 1
Henry VI Part 2 Act 2
Henry VI Part 2 Act 3
Henry VI Part 2 Act 4
Henry VI Part 2 Act 5

Henry VI, Part 3Running time is 211 minutes

York wins the War of Roses and forces Henry to give him succession.

Chapter List
Henry VI Part 3 Act 1
Henry VI Part 3 Act 2
Henry VI Part 3 Act 3
Henry VI Part 3 Act 4
Henry VI Part 3 Act 5

Henry VIIIRunning time is 166 minutes

Filmed at Henry's favorite place, Leeds Castle, enacted in the very rooms the King inhabited, 500 years ago. Stars Claire Bloom, John Stride.

Chapter List
Henry VIII Act 1
Henry VIII Act 2
Henry VIII Act 3
Henry VIII Act 4
Henry VIII Act 5

Julius CaesarRunning time is 161 minutes

Breaking dramatic conventions, Shakespeare creates neither a clearcut hero nor a villain. Starring Charles Gray as Caesar.

Chapter List
Julius Caesar Act 1
Julius Caesar Act 2
Julius Caesar Act 3
Julius Caesar Act 4
Julius Caesar Act 5

King JohnRunning time is 158 minutes

Here Shakespeare rewrote another's work, the only time he uses such a source instead of the chronicles themselves. Stars Claire Bloom

Chapter List
King John Act 1
King John Act 2
King John Act 3
King John Act 4
King John Act 5

King LearRunning time is 186 minutes

Crisply paced, with an exemplary cast. Starring Michael Hodern, Anton Lesser.

Chapter List
King Lear Act 1
King Lear Act 2
King Lear Act 3
King Lear Act 4
King Lear Act 5

Love's Labour's LostRunning time is 120 minutes

A splendid satire -- some of Shakespeare's best early poetry

Chapter List
Love's Labour's Lost Act 1
Love's Labour's Lost Act 2
Love's Labour's Lost Act 3
Love's Labour's Lost Act 4
Love's Labour's Lost Act 5

MacbethRunning time is 148 minutes

This savage tragedy is one of Shakespeare's most enduringly popular. Starring Nicol Williamson and Jane Lapotaire.

Chapter List
Macbeth Act 1
Macbeth Act 2
Macbeth Act 3
Macbeth Act 4
Macbeth Act 5

Measure For MeasureRunning time is 168 minutes

The trickiest sort of play -- a comedy with tragic relief. The New York Times says "Kate Nelligan is the image idealized faultlessness."

Chapter List
Measure for Measure Act 1
Measure for Measure Act 2
Measure for Measure Act 3
Measure for Measure Act 4
Measure for Measure Act 5

Merchant of VeniceRunning time is 157 minutes

This play presents contrasts in the character Shylock. Is he villian, buffoon or tragic hero? Starring Warren Mitchell, Gemma Jones.

Chapter List
Merchant of Venice Act 1
Merchant of Venice Act 2
Merchant of Venice Act 3
Merchant of Venice Act 4
Merchant of Venice Act 5

Merry Wives of WindsorRunning time is 168 minutes

Queen Elizabeth herself is said to have requested the return of Falstaff. Here he tries to seduce two respectable wives. Stars Ben Kingsley.

Chapter List
Merry Wives of Windsor Act 1
Merry Wives of Windsor Act 2
Merry Wives of Windsor Act 3
Merry Wives of Windsor Act 4
Merry Wives of Windsor Act 5

A Midsummer Night's DreamRunning time is 112 minutes

An extraordinary production of an enduring comedy. The strong cast features Helen Mirren and Peter McEnery

Chapter List
A Midsummer's Night Dream Act 1
A Midsummer's Night Dream Act 2
A Midsummer's Night Dream Act 3
A Midsummer's Night Dream Act 4
A Midsummer's Night Dream Act 5

Much Ado About NothingRunning time is 149 minutes

The sparring wit of the confirmed bachelor, Benedick, and the haughty lady Beatrice seems to delight audiences more every year.

Chapter List
Much Ado About Nothing Act 1
Much Ado About Nothing Act 2
Much Ado About Nothing Act 3
Much Ado About Nothing Act 4
Much Ado About Nothing Act 5

OthelloRunning time is 204 minutes

Perhaps his greatest triumph as a stage play. Evil Iago plants doubt in Othello's mind about Desdemona, and audiences are spellbound. Stars Anthony Hopkins, Bob Hoskins as Iago.

Chapter List
Othello Act 1
Othello Act 2
Othello Act 3
Othello Act 4
Othello Act 5

PericlesRunning time is 178 minutes

The Prince of Tyre, who flees upon discovering his King in an incestuous relationship. Starring Mike Gwilym and Amanda Redman.

Chapter List
Pericles Act 1
Pericles Act 2
Pericles Act 3
Pericles Act 4
Pericles Act 5

Richard IIRunning time is 158 minutes

A stellar cast includes Derek Jacobi, Sir John Gielgud, and Dame Wendy Hiller.

Chapter List
Richard II Act 1
Richard II Act 2
Richard II Act 3
Richard II Act 4
Richard II Act 5

Richard IIIRunning time is 230 minutes

A huge success in its day, this play portrays an intricate period in English history.

Chapter List
Richard III Act 1
Richard III Act 2
Richard III Act 3
Richard III Act 4
Richard III Act 5

Romeo and JulietRunning time is 167 minutes

A "hit" for over 400 years. It expresses love in its infinite variety more than any other work in the English language. Stars Sir John Gielgud.

Chapter List
Romeo and Juliet Act 1
Romeo and Juliet Act 2
Romeo and Juliet Act 3
Romeo and Juliet Act 4
Romeo and Juliet Act 5

Taming of the ShrewRunning time is 127 minutes

John Cleese, of Monty Python, portrays Petruchio to unanimous acclaim: "an object lesson in serving Shakespeare to a present-day audience."

Chapter List
Taming of the Shrew Act 1
Taming of the Shrew Act 2
Taming of the Shrew Act 3
Taming of the Shrew Act 4
Taming of the Shrew Act 5

The TempestRunning time is 124 minutes

A timeless stage on an enchanted island. An exiled Duke and two lovers encounter the occult.

Chapter List
The Tempest Act 1
The Tempest Act 2
The Tempest Act 3
The Tempest Act 4
The Tempest Act 5

Timon of AthensRunning time is 129 minutes

Choice says "recommended version of a difficult yet interesting play." His most cynical work.

Chapter List
Timon of Athens Act 1
Timon of Athens Act 2
Timon of Athens Act 3
Timon of Athens Act 4
Timon of Athens Act 5

Titus AndronicusRunning time is 168 minutes

This tragedy draws on brutal Roman mythology. Stars Eileen Atkins, Trevor Peacock

Chapter List
Titus Andronicus Act 1
Titus Andronicus Act 2
Titus Andronicus Act 3
Titus Andronicus Act 4
Titus Andronicus Act 5

Troilus & CressidaRunning time is 190 minutes

Says Choice, "This video is simply excellent, valuable to anyone teaching the play." Stars Anton Lesser, Suzanne Burden.

Chapter List
Troilus and Cressida Act 1
Troilus and Cressida Act 2
Troilus and Cressida Act 3
Troilus and Cressida Act 4
Troilus and Cressida Act 5

Twelfth NightRunning time is 129 minutes

This is the most subtle of Shakespeare's comedies. Starring Alec McCowen, Trevor Peacock.

Chapter List
Twelfth Night Act 1
Twelfth Night Act 2
Twelfth Night Act 3
Twelfth Night Act 4
Twelfth Night Act 5

Two Gentlemen of VeronaRunning time is 137 minutes

Shakespeare's earliest attempt at romantic comedy, two friends fall in love with Silvia. With the characters Valentine, Proteus, Silvia and Julia.

Chapter List
Two Gentlemen of Verona Act 1
Two Gentlemen of Verona Act 2
Two Gentlemen of Verona Act 3
Two Gentlemen of Verona Act 4
Two Gentlemen of Verona Act 5

The Winter's TaleRunning time is 174 minutes

A theme that occupied Shakespeare later in life: reconciliation. Wrongs committed by one generation are made right by the next.

Chapter List
The Winter's Tale Act 1
The Winter's Tale Act 2
The Winter's Tale Act 3
The Winter's Tale Act 4
The Winter's Tale Act 5

Supplemental Files

MARC Records for SH
MARC records for the series The BBC Shakespeare Plays
Shakespeare Plays Brief Description
Shakespeare Plays Brief Description
Transcription for All's Well that Ends Well
Transcription for Antony & Cleopatra
Transcription for As You Like It
Transcription for The Comedy of Errors
Transcription for Coriolanus
Transcription for Cymbeline
Transcription for Hamlet
Transcription for Henry IV, Part 1
Transcription for Henry IV, Part 2
Transcription for Henry V
Transcription for Henry VI, Part 1
Transcription for Henry VI, Part 2
Transcription for Henry VI, Part 3
Transcription for Henry VIII
Transcription for Julius Caesar
Transcription for King John
Transcription for King Lear
Transcription for Love's Labour's Lost
Transcription for Macbeth
Transcription for Measure For Measure
Transcription for Merchant of Venice
Transcription for Merry Wives of Windsor
Transcription for A Midsummer Night's Dream
Transcription for Much Ado About Nothing
Transcription for Othello
Transcription for Pericles
Transcription for Richard II
Transcription for Richard III
Transcription for Romeo and Juliet
Transcription for Taming of the Shrew
Transcription for The Tempest
Transcription for Timon of Athens
Transcription for Titus Andronicus
Transcription for Troilus & Cressida
Transcription for Twelfth Night
Transcription for Two Gentlemen of Verona
Transcription for The Winter's Tale


This entire Shakespeare series highly recommended for both school and public library literature collections.
For many collections, the BBC Shakespeare series was among the earliest and most significant acquisitions. At Berkeley and many other institutions, the series has come to be regarded as the canon against which other Shakespeare performances on film are measured and compared...
Gary Handman, Director, Media Resources Center, UC Berkeley
Shakespeare Would Be the care, money, time and talent that are being lavished on the mammoth task of producing all 37 of his plays...
TV Guide

Related Titles