The Tragedy of Macbeth (1971)

35mm film, Todd-AO 35, Technicolor, 2.35:1
mono, English

An American/British historical drama with elements directed by Roman Polanski.

Plot Summary

The Scottish lord Macbeth murders the king and steals the throne. His wife suffers a nervous breakdown brought on by guilt and begins to hallucinate, eventually throwing in her lot with dead king's son in an effort to topple Macbeth from his seat of power.


Directed by: Roman Polanski
© 1971 by Playboy Productions Inc and Columbia Pictures Industries Inc
Columbia Pictures presents a Playboy production of Roman Polanski's film… Made for Playboy Productions by Caliban Ltd
Executive Producer: Hugh M. Hefner
Assistant Executive Producer: Victor Lownes
Produced by: Andrew Braunsberg
Associate Producer: Timothy Burrill
Screenplay by: Roman Polanski & Kenneth Tynan
By: William Shakespeare
Director of Photography: Gil Taylor
Editor: Alastair McIntyre
Music by: The Third Ear Band
Sound Mixer: Simon Kaye
Costume Designer: Anthony Mendleson; Evangeline Harrison [uncredited]
Chief Make-up Artist: Tom Smith
Chief Hair Stylist: Biddy Chrystal
Special Effects: Ted Samuels
Production Designer: Wilfrid Shingleton
Made at: Shepperton Studios, London, England
Locations: Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, England, UK; Ffestiniog, Wales, UK; Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland, England, UK; St Aidan's Church, Northumberland, England, UK [all uncredited]

Jon Finch (Macbeth)
Francesca Annis (Lady Macbeth)
Martin Shaw (Banquo)
John Stride (Ross)
Nicholas Selby (Duncan)
Terence Bayler (Macduff)
Stephan Chase (Malcolm)
Paul Shelley (Donalbain)
Noel Davis (Seyton)
Richard Pearson (doctor)
Andrew Laurence (Lennox)
Bernard Archard (Angus)
Sydney Bromley (porter)
Ian Hogg (first thane)
Diane Fletcher (Lady Macduff)
Bruce Purchase (Caithness)
Frank Wylie (Menteith)
Noelle Rimmington (third witch)
Maisie MacFarquhar (first witch)
Elsie Taylor (second witch)
Keith Chegwin (Fleance)

Alternative Titles

– Polish title

Extracts included in
Hugh Hefner: Once Upon a Time (1992)



  • American Cinematographer vol.83 no.8 (August 2002) p.18 – illustrated DVD review (DVD playback by David E. Williams)
  • Beddabled! no.7 ‘Something Witchy This Way Comes' pp.unpaginated – illustrated article (So Withered and So Mild: The in Polanski's The Tragedy of Macbeth by Jim O'Brien)
  • Cinema Retro vol.2 no.5 (Spring/Summer 2006) pp.20-23 – illustrated interview with Hugh Hefner (Playboy goes to Hollywood by Raymond Benson)
  • CinemaTV Today no.9964 (22 January 1972) p.31 – trade show details
  • CinemaTV Today no.9966 (5 February 1972) p.24 – review (by Marjorie Bilbow)
  • Empire no.191 (May 2005) pp.70-71 – illustrated article (The 10 Worst Movie Masterplans by Kim Newman)
  • Empire no.202 (April 2006) p.167 – DVD review (At Home: Box sets: Directed by Roman Polanski by Sam Toy)
  • Film (BFFS) no.71 (March 1979) p.7 – review
  • Film Quarterly vol.25 no.3 (1972) pp.41-48 – article
  • Filmfacts vol.14 no.24 (1971) p.730 – review reprints
  • Films and Filming vol.18 no.7 (April 1972) pp.53-54 – review
  • Films and Filming vol.25 no.5 (February 1979) p.49 – review
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.213 no.33 (6 November 1970) p.14 – credits
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.219 no.10 (15 December 1971) p.3 – review
  • Kine Weekly no.3292 (14 November 1970) p.13 – review
  • Kino vol.34 no.3 March 2000 pp.16-19 – illustrated article (Filmy Romana Polanskiego by Mariola Jankun-Dopartoa)
  • Literature/Film Quarterly vol.1 no.4 (Autumn 1973) pp.291-298 – article
  • Literature/Film Quarterly vol.14 no.4 (1986) pp.203-210; 211-213 – articles
  • Literature/Film Quarterly vol.22 no.2 (1994) pp.105-108 – illustrated article (Reversals in Polanski's Macbeth by Randal Robinson)
  • Literature/Film Quarterly vol.29 no.2 (2001) pp.101-106 – illustrated article, bibliography (Order and disorder in Macbeth, Act V: Film and Television by David G. Hale)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.39 no.458 (March 1972) p.53 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Shakespeare on Film Newsletter vol.13 no.2 (April 1989) p.7 – articles
  • Shakespeare on Film Newsletter vol.15 no.1 (December 1990) pp.1, 2, 9 – articles
  • Sight & Sound vol.40 no.2 (Spring 1971) pp.77-78 – article
  • Sight & Sound vol.41 no.2 (Spring 1972) p.108 – review
  • Sight & Sound vol.1 no.3 (July 1991) p.61 – note
  • Sight & Sound vol.12 no.9 (September 2002) p.83 – DVD review (Home movies: reviews by Geoffrey Macnab)
  • Sight & Sound vol.16 no.2 (February 2006) p.91 – DVD review (The Shakespeare Collection by Geoffrey Macnab)
  • Today's Cinema no.9853 (3 November 1970) p.9 – credits
  • Today's Cinema no.9869 (5January 1971) pp.8, 10 – review
  • Variety 15 December 1971 p.14 – credits, synopsis, review


  • Shakespeare and the Film by Roger Manvell pp.157-159; 169 – notes; credits
  • by Walt Lee p.273 – credits
  • Unsung Horrors by Eric McNaughton & Darrell Buxton (eds) pp.374-375 – illustrated review (by Kevin Nickelson)

Other Sources

  • British National Film Catalogue vol.14 (1976) – credits