Orson Welles plays the eponymous tyrant in one of the first screen adaptations of Shakespeare’s tragedy. In typical Welles fashion, he also directed and produced the film, and wrote the screenplay.
Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood marks one of the biggest transitions for Shakespeare on screen, moving the action from medieval Scotland to feudal Japan. Japanese cinema legend Toshiro Mifune plays Macbeth in this spooky reimagining, with stylistic elements borrowed from Noh drama.
Theatre icon and all-round national treasure Ian McKellen played Macbeth alongside Judi Dench in 1976 in a landmark production directed by Trevor Nunn.
Ian McKellen’s X-Men co-star, Patrick Stewart has also portrayed Macbeth in Rupert Goold’s immediate and visceral film, set in an undefined and threatening Central European world.
My personal favourite Macbeth, Michael Fassbender brings an instability and ruthlessness to the character from the very beginning, making his decent into madness all the more believable.