April 23 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death as well as what would have been his 452th birthday (well, maybe). His work is still widely read and performed four centuries later, but the difference now is that audiences don’t even have to leave the couch to see the Bard’s plays. Shakespeare enthusiasts can celebrate the playwright’s birth by streaming a film version of his work. Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu have several options that are just a click away.
1. “Hamlet” — A young Ethan Hawke stars in this version of the Bard’s play along with Bill Murray and Julia Stiles. Set in New York in 2000, the play follows Hamlet as he plans to avenge his father’s death. Available on Netflix.
2. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — This 1996 adaptation doesn’t have many big names, but it is one of the few streaming versions that is actually a play. The Royal Shakespeare Company filmed their version of this comedy, which follows lovers whose relationships become even more complicated when faeries interfere. Available on Netflix.
3. “Romeo and Juliet” — While the classic Leonardo DiCaprio/Claire Danes film isn’t available to stream, there is another version available. The 2014 Broadway revival was filmed, and Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad star as the doomed lovers. Available on Hulu without a subscription.
3. “Love’s Labour’s Lost” — Four male friends make a pact to stay celibate to focus on school, but a princess’ arrival makes that promise difficult. This 2000 movie stars Alicia Silverstone and Kenneth Branagh. Available on Netflix.
5. “Macbeth” — When Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) is told by three witches that he’ll one day be king, his wife (Marion Cotillard) is ready to do anything it takes to get there. This 2015 film is one of the few streaming adaptations on this list that doesn’t try to set Shakespeare’s script against a modern day backdrop. That doesn’t mean it’s traditional. The violent fight scenes and the changes to the script make this adaptation stand out. Available on Amazon Prime.
6. “Macbeth” — Of course, if you prefer something a little darker, this 2011 version is a must-watch. In fact if you’re in the mood for a horror movie, you’ll especially like the scenes with the witches. This production, starring Patrick Stewart, moves the play to WWII Germany. Available on Amazon Prime.
7. “Shakepeare In Love” — Okay, it’s not an adaptation, but it does include some Academy Award-winning performances. This 1998 film shows Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) falling in love with a noblewoman (Gwyneth Paltrow) who auditions in disguise for one of his plays. Available on Netflix.