To Celebrate the 460th Birthday of Legendary Writer William Shakespeare, We’re Stealing His Stories

Posted on April 25, 2024

by Eric P

April 2024 marks the 460th birthday of William Shakespeare, the last professional writer on record who didn’t have parents who said “Wouldn’t thou rather go into pharmacy?”

I don’t know what one gets as a birthday present for a guy who already has a doublet, a second-best bed, and his very own theatre company, but seems like Shakespeare was comfortable taking whatever he needed anyway – at least when it came to storylines. As was customary at the time, Shakespeare openly pilfered his plays’ plot elements from other sources – Chaucer for Troilus and Cressida; Plutarch for Julius Caesar; Plautus for the comedies, Holinshed for the histories. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and King Lear all borrow heavily from others’ works that are now either lost to time or much more obscure than Shakespeare’s remixes.

But if you’re feeling the urge to write a strongly worded letter condemning Shakespeare’s lack of originality, slow your roll; karma has come for the Bard by way of successive generations’ creative thievery. Here’s a list of books and movies that each steal shamelessly from – or pay homage to – a Shakespeare play as their source material. For fun, why not try some of these titles and see if you can guess which play they are riffing on. Or just enjoy them like a normal person, that’s an option too.

West Side Story

DVD   |   hoopla video   |   Kanopy



The Lion King


Scotland, PA

hoopla video

Get Over It

hoopla video

Deliver Us From Eva


She’s the Man

hoopla video

Were the World Mine DVD cover image

Were the World Mine


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