Shakespeare Adaptations

Today would have been William Shakespeare's 450th birthday, and after all these years, ol' Billy (that's what we call him because we're best buds), is still rocking it hard in Hollywood.

Not only do people constantly want to make modern versions of his best works (like Leonardo DiCaprio's Romeo + Juliet), but film and TV shows are constantly borrowing themes and storylines from Shakespeare's brain. And we bet there are some movies that you had no idea were based on his plays.

Well, we're here to educate you. You're welcome!

The Lion KingThis Disney animated feature is basically Hamlet, but set in the animal kingdom: Simba's uncle Scar kills his dad Mufasa, and Simba seeks revenge on Scar after seeing a vision of his father's ghost. Plus, there's a farting warthog, which is ironic because we think that's the only thing missing from the original Hamlet. 

10 Things I Hate About You: One of our favorite movies of the '90s is actually an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. The late, great Heath Ledger plays the high school outcast version of Petruchio (Patrick), while Julia Stiles is the stubborn Katherina (Kat) that Petruchio is dead-set on courting. 

West Side StoryThis one is probably obvious to most of you, but some might not know that the Oscar-winning musical is based on one of the greatest (and most morbid) love stories of all time: Romeo and Juliet. In fact, every movie and TV show that features a couple that can't help but be together despite feuding families should probably thank Shakespeare.

She's the ManOh, Amanda Bynes. We miss you. But anyway, this movie starring Bynes and Channing Tatum is inspired by Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, in which a woman in disguise as a man falls in love with another man. Even the character names are the same: Viola, Duke and Sebastian. Fortunately, we get an upgrade in the form of Channing's six-pack torso.

Deliver Us from EvaAnother version of The Taming of the Shrew, but this time it stars LL Cool J and Gabrielle Union. She's the uptight know-it-all who wants to control her sisters' relationships, and he's the cocky lady's man who's hired to woo her. And guess what happens with those two?

Sons of Anarchy: While not a direct adaptation of Hamlet, FX's drama series does have heavy elements from the original play. "I don't want to overplay that but it's there. It was Jax's father who started the club, so he's the ghost in the action," creator Kurt Sutter said about the comparisons. "It's not a version of Hamlet but it's definitely influenced by it." 

Get Over It: Do you remember when Sisqó, he of songs about thongs, was an actor for a hot minute? Well, if you didn't know that, it's probably because you didn't see this 2001 comedy based on A Midsummer Night's Dream. It also stars Ben Foster, Kirsten Dunst, Shane West and Martin Short. If you want to see a Kirsten Dunst movie set in high school, we suggest Bring It On, which is based on Shakespeare's Bringeth Oneth. OK, we made that up.

O: Apparently 2001 was the year of Shakespeare adaptations, and Julia Stiles is in this one, too! It's based on Othello, but it revolves around a basketball team. Mekhi Phifer play Odin, aka Othello, and Josh Hartnett plays the jealous Hugo (Iago) who tries to convince Odin that his girlfriend Desi (Stiles) has been unfaithful. Spoiler: this story does not end well for anyone.

Big BusinessYou can't get cooler than Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin, who star in this comedy based on one of Shakespeare's lesser-known plays called The Comedy of Errors. It's kind of like The Parent Trap in that it involves lots of twin hijinks. 

Forbidden Planet: This 1956 science-fiction film borrows themes and plot points from The Tempest, but it's set in an alien world. It's known as one of the best sci-fi films of all time, which is probably the last genre you think of when you think of Shakespeare. Plus it stars Leslie Nielsen, and he always made everything better. 

Of course, these aren't the only films and TV shows that were made possible because of Shakespeare, but these are definitely some of the most popular. And now you know! And knowing is half the battle, right?

So happy 450th birthday, Willie! (We also call him that). You look amazing for your age.

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