English playwright and poet William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), circa 1600. Original Publication: People Disc - HO0058 (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

History buffs may be aware that it was on this very day in April that William Shakespeare, thought by many to be *the* greatest writer in the English language, both entered the world (1564) and left it (1616) (kinda鈥 freaky, no?), thus making today the 400th anniversary of his death. Since then, the prolific author has continued to touch our lives in nearly every aspect of our pop culture-addled existence, from the movies we love, to the things that we say, right down to the swag we carry. And so, in honor of his legacy, check out this list of some of our all-time favorite things inspired by the literary great.



1. Romeo and Juliet: Long before Leo was an Oscar-winning environmental heavyweight, he was playing the ultimate young star-crossed lover opposite Claire Danes in Baz Luhrmann鈥檚 now classic 1996 adaptation of William Shakespeare鈥檚聽Romeo + Juliet.

2. 10 Things I Hate About You: It was *this* modern day remake of Taming of the Shrew that caused us to collectively fall in love with the late Heath Ledger聽(we miss you, Heath!) *sad face emoji *

3. The Lion King: We had no idea that this Disney classic was actually based on Hamlet聽but we totally see the parallels 聽now鈥 a slain king? An evil family member? A rightful heir waiting to claim his throne? It鈥檚 all starting to come together.

4. She鈥檚 the Man:聽Amanda Bynes was in her acting prime in this Twelfth Night mod, complete with the story鈥檚 main themes of gender-swapping and disguise 鈥 a classic hallmark of Shakespeare.

5. O: Short for Othello, this high school drama starring Julia Stiles, Mekhi Phiefer and Josh Hartnett as Iago was a pointed reboot of the Shakespeare鈥檚 tragic love triangle.


1. 鈥淗eart of Gold:鈥聽This isn鈥檛 just the title of one of Neil Young鈥檚 biggest hits 鈥 it鈥檚 a line straight outta聽Henry V.

2. 鈥淲ear Your Heart on Your Sleeve:鈥 Originally penned as 鈥渨ear my heart upon my sleeve,鈥 this one first appeared in Othello.

3. 鈥淜ill 鈥楨m With Kindness:鈥 Derived from the simplified version of 鈥渒ill with kindness,鈥 this was lifted from Taming of the Shrew.

4. 鈥淜nock Knock! Who鈥檚 There?:鈥 That鈥檚 right, B+C-ers, we聽 have Mr. Shakespeare himself to thank for all those years of knock knock jokes, as it comes to us directly from Macbeth. Who knew?

5. 鈥淟ove Is Blind:鈥 It sure is, and no one knew it better than The Merchant of Venice.


NEW YORK - AUGUST 27: ***EXCLUSIVE ACCESS*** Musician Taylor Swift performs during the Fearless Tour at Madison Square Garden on August 27, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Erickson Public Relations)

1. 鈥淟ove Story,鈥 Taylor Swift: Taylor鈥檚 re-write of Romeo and Juliet just may be one of her biggest hits to date, and she even honored the original author by donning this Elizabethan dress during her performance of the song on the 2009 鈥淔earless鈥 tour.

2. 鈥淓xit Music for a Film,鈥 Radiohead: Like Tay, Thom Yorke too was a fan of Romeo and Juliet, and based his 1997 song聽on the play.

3. 鈥淟imelight,鈥 Rush: Using As You Like It as a reference, Rush opened its hit song 鈥淟imelight鈥 with the lyrics 鈥渁ll the world indeed鈥檚 a stage and we are merely players鈥 鈥 lines straight from the horse鈥檚 mouth.

4. 鈥淥phelia,鈥 The Lumineers: Named for a character in William鈥檚 Hamlet, the lyrics to this Lumineers tune are also, erm, loosely familiar.

5. 鈥淒on鈥檛 Fear the Reaper,鈥 Blue Oyster Cult: Widely thought to be a nod to Romeo and Juliet, this timeless jam聽is a celebration of love eternal.

What favorite Shakespeare-inspired piece do you love most? Let us know @BritandCo!

h/t BBC America, Screenrant and Paste, Photos by Hulton Archive/Jason Kempin/Getty and聽Twentieth Century Fox Film