It is not a mystery that William Shakespeare is a cultural reference throughout the world. Whether explicitly or not, the English playwright is present in the stories we see, read and hear.

Of course, the cinema is no exception. And we are not talking about the faithful adaptations of his works, of which there are many and very good ones, but about films that have been freely inspired by his stories under another title. Here are some of the best. They will surprise you!

1 out of 10

The Lion King (1994)

Based on : Hamlet .

As you read: this Disney classic is actually an adaptation of another great universal classic, ‘Hamlet’. Although sweetened, revenge and betrayal are present in the story of these lions, who fight for control of the animal kingdom. Wild Shakespeare.  

2 out of 10

She’s the Boy (2006)

Based on : Twelfth Night

This classic teen movie that you’ve seen millions of times on TV turns out to be a modernized adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’. The protagonist retains the name of Viola ( Amanda Bynes ) from the original work, and takes the British story to the football field: a girl who has to dress up as a boy in order to play and be considered an equal. Shakespeare footballer and feminist. 

3 out of 10

Ran (1985)

Based on : King Lear .

It is well known that Akira Kurosawa was passionate about Shakespeare, or at least that reflects his career: along with it, the Japanese director shot two more adaptations of the English playwright. In this film, he took ‘King Lear’ to medieval Japan, composing a work that is already a classic. 

4 out of 10

Forbidden Planet (1956)

Based on : The Tempest

This cult science fiction film, which was nominated for an Oscar for best special effects, tells the story of some astronauts who arrive on a planet that has a surprise in store for them… Shakespeare in space. 

5 out of 10

West Side Story (1961)

Based on : Romeo and Juliet .

This benchmark of the musical genre is a fast-paced adaptation of the most tragic romantic story ever written. Two opposing bands, an impossible love and some unforgettable songs make up this Robert Wise classic . A very musical Shakespeare.

6 out of 10

10 Reasons to Hate You (1999)

Based on : The Taming of the Shrew

That the bad mood of the older sister and her lack of interest in getting married means that the younger daughter cannot do it either. That’s the common ground between Shakespeare’s play and this teen flick starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger

7 out of 10

Throne of Blood (1957)

Based on : Macbeth

Again Kurosawa , with this free adaptation of ‘Macbeth’ taken to feudal Japan. Even so, the keys to the original work are there: that ghostly encounter with the witch, the protagonist’s ambition animated by a cruel Japanese Lady Macbeth and an ending that not even Shakespeare himself would have shot better.

8 out of 10

My Private Idaho (1991)

Based on : Henry IV .

In this case, it’s not that Gus van Sant ‘s film is a faithful adaptation of Shakespeare’s work, but that its main character, played by Keanu Reeves , is a kind of reflection of Henry IV.

9 out of 10

Poisoned Maze (2001)

Based on : Othello .

This little film starring Julia Stiles made Shakespeare’s work her own, a story about jealousy. The setting is, in this case, a private school for posh kids, but the inflamed emotions that drive the plot remain the same.

10 out of 10

Memoirs of a Teenage Zombie (2013)

Based on : Romeo and Juliet .

All love stories have a bit of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. It is possibly the most famous love story in the history of popular culture. This zombie post-apocalypse film directed by Jonathan Levine uses the structure of the classic: a couple separated by their ‘families’, because they are different.