Directed by: Franco Zeffirelli
Starring: Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates & Helena Bonham Carter.
Production Company: Canal+, Carolco Pictures, Icon Entertainment International, Icon Productions, Marquis Nelson Entertainment, Sovereign Pictures, Warner Bros.
Kent Filming Location: Dover Castle
When Prince Hamlet returns to Denmark following the death of his father, he discovers his mother has already married his uncle Claudius who has now been crowned King. They encourage Hamlet to marry his only love, the young Ophelia, but Hamlet remains troubled over his mother’s new husband. When the ghost of his father appears before him and reveals that he was murdered, Hamlet becomes dangerous to those around him.
Zeffirelli’s adaptation of the famous Shakespearean tragedy stars Mel Gibson as the Dark Prince, Glenn Close as his mother Gertrude and Alan Bates as Claudius. Helena Bonham Carter also makes an appearance as Ophelia.
Local Resident Tina Easterby experienced filming on a Hollywood film set when she worked as an extra in the film. She had this to say “In 1990 while I was studying for A levels, myself and my fellow Theatre Studies students were invited to tour the set of Hamlet at Dover Castle. As you can imagine at the age of 17 we were beside ourselves with excitement. However it only got better when we were all offered extras parts for 3 days. Hey, we were only servants but just to be on the same set as Glenn Close, Mel Gibson and Franco Zefferrelli was worth it. The castle looked stunning, in what would have been original costumes, with knights on horseback and misty, murky weather. We had a wonderful time!”
Dover Castle makes its first appearance in the title credits for the film. Used to portray the Danish Castle of Elsinore, the castle battlements feature in one of the most dramatic scenes of the film: Hamlet speaking with the ghost of his dead father. Built in the 13th Century, the Castle is situated above the White Cliffs of Dover and has guarded our shores for 20 centuries. At the heart of the site stands the Great Tower of the castle which stands at a height of 83 ft. It is here that many of the scenes for Hamlet were shot.
Dover Castle has featured in many films throughout its history. It appeared as the Tower of London in both Lady Jane (1986) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). A popular tourist attraction, Dover Castle invites visitors to experience life in Henry II’s court and visit the secret WWII tunnels, the HQ of Operation Dynamo. With its striking position within the landscape and medieval architecture it is an ideal location for any film production.
Hamlet is now available to buy on DVD.
For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.