Macbeth, 1948
Director: Orson Welles
Notable cast: Orson Welles, Jeannette Nolan

This black-and-white film features some minor changes to the original play along with significant edits. Welles increased the purpose and presence of the three Witches in the movie to play up the conflict between early Christianity and pagan beliefs in Scotland. Welles also emphasized the violence of the story: the film depicts Lady Macbeth’s suicide and the final battle that ends with Macbeth’s beheading by Macduff. Welles also wanted all of the characters to speak with authentic Scottish accents, but the studio that produced the film insisted that the voices be dubbed after the film was completed.

Macbeth, 2010
Director: Rupert Goold
Notable cast: Patrick Stewart, Kate Fleetwood

Patrick Stewart, better-known to many as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek, stars in this adaptation of a well-received stage production of the play. Director Goold sets the action in purgatory, making the story a cautionary tale about the dangers of ambition.

Director: Justin Kurziel
Notable cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion

This recent adaptation was filmed in Scotland, and opens with the funeral of the Macbeth’s dead son. This plot device links the couple’s thirst for power to their grief over losing their child, and makes the couple initially sympathetic to the audience.