Shakespeare Around the Globe: Films and Books in the World Languages Collection

By Elizabeth Waters, Mid-Manhattan Library
November 1, 2016
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL)

The year 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death and a year-long celebration of Shakespeare's work and legacy around the world. 

In recent Shakespeare newsNew Oxford Shakespearewill credit Christopher Marlowe as the co-author of the three Henry V plays. Debates over the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays have engaged generations of scholars, but the influence and reach of the work credited to the Bard are indisputable. Recently at NYPL, Margaret Atwood discussed Shakespeare in the 21st century with Fiona Shaw as part of the British Council's Shakespeare Lives program, touching on Shakespeare on YouTube and reading from her new novel Hag-seed: The Tempest Retold part of the new Hogarth  Shakespeare series, in which great contemporary writers reinterpret Shakespeare's works. 

Shakespeare also has great appeal beyond the English-speaking world. His work has been translated into more than 100 languages. According to "Fun international facts about Shakespeare" compiled for the British Council, there have been publications and productions of Hamlet in more than 75 languages since 1960, and versions of Romeo and Juliet have been performed in at least 24 countries in the last decade.  In A Night in the Emperor's Garden, published in 2015, Qais Akbar Omar describes his experience with an acting troupe in Kabul that put on a production of Love's Labor's Lost in Dari in 2005, the first public performance of Shakespeare in Afghanistan in 35 years. Listen to an interview with Omar on On the Media

"All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players." - As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII 

In Shakespeare and World Cinema , Mark Thornton Burnett identifies over 70 films in languages other than English that were inspired by Shakespeare's plays, including a Romany version of Hamlet from Serbia and a Malagasy Macbeth, Makibefo. Some of these international retellings of Shakespeare's plays are available to borrow from NYPL's World Languages Collection. These films give us an opportunity to experience the universality of Shakespeare's themes in a new cultural and linguistic context, a powerful demonstration that #ShakepeareLives not only at the Globe but around the world!

World Cinema Inspired by Shakespeare’s Plays

Note: this list is organized by language. See the list organized by play.


Inspired by


夜宴 = Legend of the Black Scorpion aka Banquet (2006).   Dir: Feng Xiaogang

Yi qi liang fu = One husband too many (1988). Dir: Anthony Chan

Qing ren jie = A time to love (2005) Dir: Huo Jianqi


Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet


Arven = Inheritance (2003). Dir: Per Fly

Hamlet / Romeo and Juliet


L’appartement (1995).   Dir: Gilles Mimouni

Le grand rôle (2004). Dir: Steve Suissa

Conte d’hiver (1992). Dir: Éric Rohmer

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Merchant of Venice

A Winter’s Tale


Kebab Connection (2005). Dir: Anno Saul

Romeo and Juliet


Do dooni chaar  = Do dūnī cāra (1968). Dir: Debu Sen

Haider (2014). Dir: Vishal Bharadwaj

Omkara (2006). Dir: Vishal Bhardwaj

Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela (2014). Dir:  Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Isi life mein = Isī lāipha mem (2010). Dir:  Vidhi Kasliwal

A Comedy of Errors



Romeo and Juliet

The Taming of the Shrew


Cesare deve morire / Caesar Must Die (2012). Dir: Vittorio & Paolo Taviani

Julius Caesar


 Directed by Akira Kurosawa:

The Bad Sleep Well (1960).

Ran (1985).

Throne of Blood (1957). 


King Lear



Oldeuboi! = Oldboy (2003). Dir: Park Chan-wook

Titus Andronicus


Король Лир =  King Lear  (1970). Dir: Grigori Kozintsev

*Vam i ne snilos = Love and Lies (1981). Dir: Ilya Frez

*Ukroshchenie stroptivoĭ (1961 performance)

*These films may not have English subtitles.

King Lear

Romeo and Juliet

The Taming of the Shrew


Amar te duele (2002). Dir:  Fernando Sariñana

Romeo and Juliet


Translations of Shakespeare and books about Shakespeare in other languages

William Shakespeare

If you're an English language learner interested in Shakepeare, check out our Learn English with Shakespeare post!