6.8/10
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Romeo & Juliet (1978)

Two teenagers fall in love, but their feuding families and fate itself cause the relationship to end in tragedy.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Christopher Strauli ...
Christopher Northey ...
Paul Henry ...
Roger Davidson ...
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Storyline

Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes a pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows doth with their death bury their parents' strife. Written by William Shakespeare

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Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

3 December 1978 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part of the long running BBC Television Shakespeare project which ran between 1978 and 1985. See more »

Connections

Version of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet/II (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

 
an uneven production
1 August 2014 | by (Cambridge, England) – See all my reviews

This uneven production includes more of the text than do most productions, but it still omits many lines. Some of the omissions are well-judged abridgments of the tiresome banter between Romeo and his friends or between the servants and the musicians. Other deletions are much more dubious, as we're deprived of some great poetic lines. Some of the excisions in III.i (along with the staging of the sword fights in that scene) have the effect of presenting Tybalt as a less bellicose character than the full text suggests.

The best performances are those of Michael Hordern (Capulet), Celia Johnson (Nurse), Anthony Andrews (Mercutio), Alan Rickman (Tybalt), and Joseph O'Conor (Friar Laurence). None of those performances is impeccable, but each of them is at a high level.

Rebecca Saire (Juliet) is not up to the demands of her role in some of the crucial scenes in the first half of the play, but she improves considerably after a mediocre rendering of the "Gallop apace" soliloquy. Patrick Ryecart (Romeo) is excellent in the bedroom scene, but his performance otherwise ranges from poor in the early parts of the play to mediocre in the later parts. Ryecart too often substitutes expressionless reciting for acting. In the balcony scene he is unintentionally hilarious, as he keeps crashing to the ground after ascending a wall. Moreover, whereas Saire's physical appearance is just right for Juliet, Ryecart's physical appearance is unlikely to set aflutter the heart of any fourteen-year-old girl.

The sword fights are staged more impressively than in any of the other BBC Shakespeare productions, and the sets are generally well crafted. This production on the whole is pretty good, but it could have been excellent if the eponymous characters had been better portrayed.


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