Movies You Didn't Know Were Based on Shakespeare Plays

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Movies You Didn't Know Were Based on Shakespeare Plays

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Channing Tatum and Amanda Bynes in DreamWorks Pictures' She's the Man - 2006

Shakespeare is boring for people who don't understand his language. So how does a filmmaker manage to use a Shakespeare play and make it accessible to the non-English majors of the world? They either update the scenery to fit today's times, as with "Coriolanus," or put the characters in high school.

Many moviemakers have hidden Shakespeare's plots in films so viewers don't even realize they are learning about the Bard. Some of the most famous examples include "Hamlet" with lions in "The Lion King" and dancing gang members recreating "Romeo and Juliet" in "West Side Story." Other movies are actually Shakespeare plays in disguise, and you might not have realized it.

'The Taming of the Shrew' Has the Most Movie Adaptations.

"The Taming of the Shrew" teaches a man how to create an obedient bride. Two of the most famous adaptations of the play include "Kiss Me Kate" and "10 Things I Hate About You."

"Kiss Me Kate" is an older musical and, because it uses the play in the movie, it doesn't really count as Shakespeare in disguise. "10 Things I Hate About You" doesn't mention the play, but uses the same names for the main characters, Kat and Bianca. The movie sets the play in high school.

A lesser-known movie version of "The Taming of the Shrew" is "Deliver Us From Eva," with Gabrielle Union as a tyrannical sister who runs her sisters' lives, much to their husbands' dismay.

'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'Twelfth Night' Take on High School.

"Get Over It" uses "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in the movie, but the plot of the film also uses the confusion of love theme from the play. It seems the lovers are constantly confused and the relationships mixed up, but that's the whole point of the story. Love is confusing.

"She's the Man" is similar to "10 Things I Hate about You" in that the story takes place in high school, the characters and place names come from the Shakespeare play, but the play itself is not in the movie. Amanda Bynes plays Viola, a girl who dresses up as a boy to fit in at an all boys' school, just as Viola in "Twelfth Night" dresses up as a boy to protect herself from harm.

'The Tempest' Becomes Science Fiction and a Disney Musical.

"The Tempest" is about a strange world a father and daughter rule. When new people arrive, the duo must prevent disaster. "Forbidden Planet," the 1956 science fiction film, is the Shakespeare play set in space. Many people know that "Forbidden Planet" is based on "The Tempest," but what about "Pocahontas"?

This Disney animated feature is also an adaptation of "The Tempest." It has a father and daughter in a strange world where newcomers arrive and wreak havoc. All three stories also include a "monster" determined to harm them. Some people consider the western "Yellow Sky" an adaptation of "The Tempest," but it has too few connections to the play to deem it as such.

Are there any other movies that are Shakespeare plays in disguise?

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