Shakespeare's classic tale of romance and tragedy. Two families of Verona, the Montagues and the Capulets, have been feuding with each other for years. Young Romeo Montague goes out with his friends to make trouble at a party the Capulets are hosting, but while there he spies the Capulet's daughter Juliet, and falls hopelessly in love with her. She returns his affections, but they both know that their families will never allow them to follow their hearts. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A rumor surrounding this film was that Olivia Hussey was really Franco Zeffirelli's daughter. Not true, of course. Zeffirelli initially turned Hussey down for the role of Juliet, thinking her overweight. The actress he did choose cut her hair just before filming, ruining the effect she had on Zeffirelli. Hussey came in for another reading but by this time had developed into a beautiful teenager. She got the part. See more »
During the close-up of Juliet in the scene where the Capulets find Juliet "dead" in her bedchamber, she is visibly breathing. See more »
My only love sprung from my only hate. Too early seen unknown, and known too late.
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A scandal that the Academy did not give this best film
I saw Romeo and Juliet at the Odeon Leicester Square, the day after the Royal Premier and from that day I was hooked on this film. I went back three times with different sets of friends just to watch it again and each time I enjoyed it more. Now owning it on DVD when I want to just feel good about films I watch it!
So much has already been written about the youth of the two young unknown stars and the chemistry that they had on screen that I don't need to repeat it now. However the key to this film's great success was that it was visually stunning, Zefferelli is the master of using colour, setting and costume to great effect. He was so clever in his casting, not just with the very handsome young Leonard Whiting who at the time when I was only 18 myself I thought was gorgeous but also the innocence of an immature Hussey was perfect. A master stroke was Milo O'Shea as Friar Lawrence, never ever has there been a better role for this talented by rarely seen Irish actor.
It's pointless complaining that the text is cut, by leaving out Romeo killing Paris and also the apothecary selling Romeo the poison in no way detracts from the overall imagery and beauty of Shakespeare's text. To have made the film using the whole text would have been too difficult and perhaps Zefferelli did want to portray Romeo as a little nicer than he actually was. In truth he was a fickle young man as all teenage boys can be and also prone to an amount of passionate violence so prevalent in adolescence. But this was Italy in Tudor times when life was cheap and the willingness to reach for the sword was as it should be.Shakespeare understood human nature better than anyone and that's why all his plays show so much insight into the human spirit.
Zefferelli balanced the film perfectly, nothing was overdone. He combined the tragedy with the humour as well as the love story by casting the right actor for each role and even if some of them faded into oblivium later, for this film they were all perfect. I never want to see another version. Baz Luhrmann's pales in comparison and thats not a bad film.
Come the Oscars I waited with baited breath having convinced myself that it would get best film - I was so disappointed!. It did collect Best Costume and I think Best Cinematography, but what a travesty, especially when the film that did win that year was not even in the same league and is hardly ever remembered. It's always very difficult to succeed with Shakespeare on the big screen but this version of Romeo and Juliet had it all. Only Kenneth Brannagh's mammoth production of the uncut version of Hamlet comes anywhere near this wonderful film.
How Nino Roto's soundtrack also missed out on an Oscar I will never understand. Footnote: Luciano Pavarotti has recorded the main love theme and it's called Ai giochi addio - it is so beautiful it will make you cry as you remember the film.
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