5 Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based On Shakespeare Plays

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The works of William Shakespeare have inspired a lot of literary pieces and over the years, it has transcended into the world of cinema. His plays are probably the most adapted on both small and big screens. Other filmmakers also tried to extract some of their themes and mold them into new stories.


A lot of people are still unaware that many popular films today are loosely based on The Bard’s literary works. From animations to teen romantic comedies, they were all by-products of Shakespeare’s inventions. Here are some of the famous movies that were inspired by his most well-known plays.

The Lion King (Hamlet)

The Lion King Shakespeare


True-blue Disney fans know this trivia: The Lion King is based on the plot of Hamlet. Simba and Prince Hamlet are sons of rightful kings who were murdered by their jealous uncles. In this case, Scar is the counterpart of King Claudius. And then, there’s Rafiki who is Simba’s friend (much like Horatio to Hamlet) who tells him never to seek vengeance against his uncle.

My Own Private Idaho (Henry IV And Henry V)

My Own Private Idaho Shakespeare

A gay hustler, Mike Waters, afflicted with narcolepsy and a rebellious son of a mayor, Scott Favor, travel from Oregon to Idaho and finally to Italy to find Mike’s estranged mother. Along their travel journey, they turned tricks for money. Like in the play of Shakespeare, the movie reveals the lives of street hustlers and the unobtainable kind of love. They both had their share of self-discovery and hardships in life. River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves both exhibited exemplary performance in this film.


10 Things I Hate About You (The Taming Of The Shrew)

10 Things I Hate About You Shakespeare

The play talks about a marriage where the husband, Petruchio, must tame his headstrong and sharp-tongued wife, Katherine. In the movie, Julia Stile’s character, Kat Stratford, is a beautiful, smart yet abrasive girl who can’t attract boys. Their house rule is that her younger sister cannot date until Kat finds herself a boyfriend. She then meets a handsome guy, Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger). The conflict is whether she will let her guard down for him or not, which is quite the same agenda in The Taming of the Shrew.

Warm Bodies (Romeo And Juliet)

Warm Bodies Shakespeare


This is loosely based on a book that was inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. These star-crossed lovers, a human girl, and a zombie guy, meet in an apocalyptic world. The guy named R (played by Nicholas Hoult) slowly falls in love with Julie (Teresa Palmer) while he’s on the verge of life and death. A simple kiss saves both of them and R slowly regains his life until he became human again.

She’s The Man (Twelfth Night)

She's The Man

The modern retelling of this Shakespeare play follows Viola Hastings, a soccer player who disguised herself as her brother so she could compete in a soccer tournament. Things got a little crazy when she starts to fall for her teammate, Duke. This comedy film truly puts a fun twist in an already comedic play. Much more because Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum’s chemistry is just too adorable.


Written by Ariane Cruz

Articles Published: 2154

Ariane Cruz, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.