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Film Studies 101
Feature
50 Movie Sibling Rivalries
The brothers and sisters who just can’t seem to get along

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Hamlet (1948)

Hamlet (1948)

The siblings: Claudius (Basil Sydney) and King Hamlet (voiced as a ghost by Laurence Olivier)

What puts them at odds? Claudius decides to off his brother and marries his wife, Gertrude (Eileen Herlie), which doesn’t sit well with Prince Hamlet (Olivier). But can our hero prove the foul deed?

Admittedly, one of the brothers here has been dead for about a month before the play even starts, but it’s the alleged fratricide (which – spoiler for those who haven’t read the original Shakespeare – turns out to be very real) that sets everything else in motion, leading to a blood-soaked tragedy of ever-increasing proportions. That’s just how Elizabethan audiences liked it and how Laurence Olivier adapted it. So a royal sibling kills his brother and his king, takes over the throne and marries his brother’s widow. It’s a bit more serious than your sibling breaking your favourite toy, whichever way you look at it. Luckily (or perhaps not), young Hamlet is there to ferret out the truth (with the help of his father’s ghost) and mete out justice.

Which sibling is your favourite?

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