Skip to main content
Shakespeare & Beyond

Your guide to streaming Shakespeare in March

Anthony Hopkins in King Lear.
Anthony Hopkins in King Lear.

Timothée Chalamet in “The King” (2019).

What a week, huh? In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Folger’s staff will be working remotely through the end of March. Like us, you may be buckling down for a long stretch of staying in.

You might have heard that Shakespeare wrote King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, and a handful of other classics during a period when the plague forced London theaters to close. You probably have your own list of projects you’d like to complete while you’re social distancing, but, if you need a break from writing that masterpiece, here’s a short list of Shakespeare adaptations on streaming platforms in the US this March. There’s something for everyone here: television episodes, Bollywood adaptations, made-for-TV movies, filmed versions of stage productions, and big blockbusters.


High school teacher here. Teaching Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest. Was using the Leonardo version and the 1976 version to cover media studies and the play for grade 8; was using Christopher Plummer version of Tempest from Stratford Theatre but my films are in school and I am not! Have you suggestions? Can you help? We are the best girls’ school in Montreal with an ambitious school body. I know all schools are in crisis but your assistance would be invaluable. Stay safe!

Edna Reingewirtz — March 18, 2020

And The Tempest
Episodes from our Shakespeare Unlimited podcast:
Teller (of Penn and Teller) on magic in The Tempest
Phyllida Lloyd on all-Female Shakespeare and her 2016 Tempest (see our other comment)
Harriet Walter on all-Female Shakespeare and her 2016 Tempest (see our other comment)

Ben Lauer — March 18, 2020

Hi Edna!

We don’t have any immediate solutions for streaming versions of Romeo and Juliet or The Tempest, but if another commentor suggests anything, we’ll ping you!

If you sign up for a free, 7-day trial of BroadwayHD, it looks like you can stream Phyllida Lloyd’s recent production of Tempest, with Harriet Walter as Prospero, via Amazon Prime! We’ve heard it’s incredible.

Here’s a handful of our other content about those plays: maybe it will spark some ideas?

Classroom resources & teaching modules from Folger Education

Romeo and Juliet
Episodes from our podcast, Shakespeare Unlimited:
Romeo and Juliet through the ages
Olivia Hussey on playing Juliet in Franco Zeferelli’s 1968 film
Elizabethan street fighting
Charlotte Cushman: When Romeo Was A Woman
Shakespeare and girlhood (probably my all-time favorite episode of our podcast–just a great conversation)

Ben Lauer — March 18, 2020

You missed As You Like It and Taming of the Shrew, free from Open Culture

Deborah Ann White — March 18, 2020

Ooh, a couple of classics! Thanks for sharing these Deborah! We love free movies even more than movies on streaming platforms.

Ben Lauer — March 18, 2020

The Criterion Channel has Laurence Olivier’s Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948) Richard III (1955) and Orson Welles’ Chimes at Midnight (1966) [Welles drew from the Falstaff sections of Shakespeare’s Henry plays] and may have other filmed Shakespeare plays among its 2000+ streaming videos. It used to have Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet (1996) and there is some rotation of films beyond its established archive of films.

Kevin Courtemanche — March 18, 2020

The Criterion Collection! I (alas) don’t have a subscription for that, but great reminder. Akira Kurosawa’s Shakespeare-inspired films should also be included on that platform… I remember Throne of Blood and maybe Ran being on Hulu when the Criterion Collection was briefly available there.

Ben Lauer — March 18, 2020

Hunting high and low for a copy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from Shakepseare in the Park, it ran on PBS and A&E for a while, and starred William Hurt as Oberon. It was one of the best versions of the play by the Mechanicals I’ve ever seen. Any hints on where I can get a copy?

Sherry Antonetti — March 18, 2020

I always thought that “Julius Caesar Must Die,” which is half documentary, half Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” was really good. Setting the play in Rome’s Supermax prison was a genius move.

Nils — March 18, 2020

For those in Canada or those wiley enough to get cancon, CBC Gem has a series from the Stratford Festival. 12 plays in all.

Kate — March 18, 2020

This is most likely a fools errand to be sure, but back in the 70s Richard Chamberlain did a extremely well received Hamlet that was subsequently filmed and aired I believe by The Hallmark Hall of Fame. So far as I know the only remaining copy belongs to the University of California. It would be good to see it, I’ve only heard the audio recording. Is it possible that the Folger might want to investigate further?

GS Morris — March 19, 2020

GS, did you see Jamie-Rose’s comment? There’s a Richard Chamberlain version of Hamlet on YouTube at

Ben Lauer — March 20, 2020

Sherry Antoinetti, the Hurt Shakespeare in the Park film is in the collections of a few colleges and the NYPL performing arts library. Yes, that is a hard one to find.

Abbey Hope — March 19, 2020

To GS Morris – is this what you’re looking for?

Richard Chamberlain and Martin Shaw in ‘Hamlet’ – on Youtube!

Jamie-Rose — March 19, 2020

Marquee TV is doing a 30 day free offer right now. Royal Shakespeare Company just announced a partnership with Marquee to stream full productions. We also have the Donmar Warehouse Shakespeare Trilogy as part of the offer.

Kathleya Afanador — March 19, 2020
Staunton’s American Shakespeare Center wil have some stuff available.

Mark Peterson — March 20, 2020

Ben Lauer: Thank you for the quick reply. Yes, I have seen this on DVD — its a very poor quality version that looks to have been taped off of a TV monitor. I have no idea if the UCLA version is a tape or film — but one could assume it’s a much better quality version than this one. Still, it’s good to get an idea of the production was like. Thank you very much for the info.

GS Morris — March 21, 2020

I’ve been looking everywhere for a copy of Othello where Patrick Stewart played Ohtello. I believe it was performed in Washington DC several years ago, but I cannot find a copy of it anywhere. Any help?

Kelli De Guire — March 21, 2020

The Globe Theatre London has a good collection of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries (rent or buy)

Charles Hardingham — March 28, 2020

[…] LIBRARYYou will discover out about all occasions on the Folger website. Folger has compiled this helpful list of all the classic films now available free of charge on streaming providers. They’ve made a free streaming video of their 2008 […]

Venues keep rolling with virtual performances – Kiddo — November 30, 2021