Joe Should Respect the Throne in Scotland, PA

By Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern

Do you remember when I thought there were a lot of film adaptations of Hamlet?  Well, it turns out that number is nothing compared to the number of films made on Macbeth.  The adaptations started as early as 1916 and are still running strong.  Over the past 100 years, more than 15 film adaptations have been created.  That number doesn’t even include the amount of television shows based on the play, episodes with Macbeth as their title, or all of the times the play has been filmed for television. (See full list below.)  Many of these films are direct adaptations, but a few are creative twists on the traditional story.  These twists include: Joe MacBeth (1955), Throne of Blood (1957), Men of Respect (1990), and Scotland, PA (2001).

Joe MacBeth film poster


Joe MacBeth
1h 30m

In this adaptation, we no longer are traipsing through dark castles in Scotland, but ducking through the alleyways as Lily MacBeth urges her husband to take down the top mob boss.  Starring in this movie is Paul Douglas as “Joe MacBeth” and Ruth Roman as “Lily MacBeth.”



Throne of BloodThrone of Blood
1h 50m

Highly regarded Japanese film, Throne of Blood, takes warrior Taketoti Washizu on the same journey of power and corruption that befell Macbeth.  Taking place in Japan, the characters are slightly different.  Instead of the Weird Sisters, there is a single seer who tells Washizu that he will one day be the Great Lord of the Spider’s Web Castle.  It might be a tragedy, but based on that description, I can see it appealing to a lot of little kids.  Maybe they’ll water it down and turn it into an anime…if they haven’t already.


Men of RespectMen of Respect
1h 53m

Basically a revamped Joe MacBeth, Men of Respect features a hostile mob takeover.  This time, the Macbeth character, “Mike Battaglia,” is played by John Turturro. Lady Macbeth, “Ruthie Battaglia,” is played by Turturro’s real-life wife, Katherine Borowitz.  Other notable cast includes: Dennis Farina, Peter Boyle, and Stanley Tucci.



Scotland, PA Film PosterScotland, PA
1h 44m

By far the most outlandish adaptation, Scotland, PA takes place in the greasy fast-food world.  Get this.  Whereas all the other adaptations are dramas, this one is labeled as a dark comedy.  The film stars James LeGros as disgruntled employee, “Joe ‘Mac’ Mcbeth,” Maura Tierney as “Pat McBeth,” James Rebhorn as café owner “Norm Duncan,” Kevin Corrgian as fry cook, “Anthony ‘Banko” Banconi,” and Christopher Walken as “Lieutenant Ernie McDuff.”  Swords are traded in for refrigerator doors and vats of sizzling oil.  Everyone loses their minds, and basically it sounds like the most ridiculous tragedy you’ll ever see.


Macbeth Movies

Year (Title if other than Macbeth)
Running Time
Actor playing Macbeth
Filming Location

Arthur Bourchier

1h 20m
Herbert Berrbohm Tree

1h 32m
Orson Welles

2h 20m
Jon Finch

1987 (Verdi Opera)
2h 13m
Leo Nucci

1h 10m
Mato Valtonen

1990 (Macbeth in Manhattan)
1h 37m
Nick Gregory

2h 9m
Jason Connery

1h 15m
Peter B. Brown

2005 (Macbeth 3000: This Time It’s Personal)
Bill Stepec

1h 49m
Sam Worthington

1h 58m
Clyde Sacks

2009 (Macbeth the Movie)
1h 57m
Chris Canfield

1h 53m
Michael Fassbender

2016 (post-production)
Mark Rowley

2017 (pre-production)
David J. Keogh

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