Macbeth (1983) TV Movie Review (BBC)

By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

*Mild Spoilers Ahead!*

This is William Shakespeare’s shortest play. It is sometimes called “The Scottish Play” because many people fear speaking the eponymous and infamous title name. It is none other than Macbeth, a play that is sometimes believed to be haunted while also haunting the minds of audiences and readers for centuries. Speak his name if you dare, even if other people do not care (about the play or the controversial curse that surrounds it).

A Toast

The BBC production of this Shakespearean classic captures the complexity of this well-known tragedy. Lady Macbeth is such a great character in the play and this TV adaptation because the actress speaks her character’s lines articulately and with devilish sincerity. One of the best moments of this TV movie is when Lady Macbeth speaks the (in)famous lines, “Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, / And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty! (…)”

The actor who plays Macbeth also performs his soliloquies with terrifically terrifying power, especially when Macbeth has an epiphany with the notion that life “is a tale told by an idiot / Full of sound and fury / Signifying nothing.” Because of the idea that nothing in life matters, and that death is inevitable, William Shakespeare actually knew about the existential perspective on life way before Albert Camus wrote The Stranger and Ivan Turgenev wrote his classic novel Fathers and Sons which both examine nihilism, existentialism, and the bleakness associated with a boring outlook on reality.


Macbeth will always remain one of William Shakespeare’s most beloved, celebrated, and controversial classics. Even the “Best Picture” winner Birdman (2014) is similar to Macbeth because Michael Keaton’s Oscar-nominated role has to cope with harsh truths about life. William Shakespeare is definitely an accomplished writer since his plays continue to stand the test of time even though time is an enigmatic concept that might mean nothing at all. Some people lust for life, others live a lie, but a sad fact about life is that everyone will die. Nevertheless, people can still learn great lessons from the madness of Macbeth while also avoiding the hocus pocus of the notorious witches that prophesied Macbeth’s tragic demise

Macbeth (1983) Bonus Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the witches speak poetic spells

Take a Drink: every time someone gets murdered and/or meet tragic deaths

Drink a Shot: every time “Macbeth” is spoken (but speaking this infamous name is completely optional depending on if people are superstitious or not)

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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