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Romeo + Juliet (1996)

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Shakespeare's famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

The classic story of Romeo and Juliet, set in a modern-day city of Verona Beach. The Montagues and Capulets are two feuding families, whose children meet and fall in love. They have to hide their love from the world because they know that their parents will not allow them to be together. There are obstacles on the way, like Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, and Romeo's friend Mercutio, and many fights. But although it is set in modern times, it is still the same timeless story of the "star crossed lovers".

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest love story the world has ever known. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for scenes of contemporary violence and some sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

1 November 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,133,231 (USA) (1 November 1996)

Gross:

$46,338,728 (USA) (21 February 1997)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The majority of sets were built from scratch in order to achieve the film's unique look. The Sycamore Grove theatre and huts on Verona Beach were actually destroyed by a hurricane during filming. The beginning of the hurricane is evident during Mercutio's death scene, and many pick up shots had to be filmed elsewhere. See more »

Goofs

The length of Tybalt's cigar at the beginning of the movie. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Anchorwoman: 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-crossed lovers take their life.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Behind the 'Scream' (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)
Performed by Quindon Tarver
Written by Tim Cox and Nigel Swanston
Produced by Nellee Hooper
Quindon Tarver appears courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
Shakespeare made sexy for the teen generation.
17 August 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Everyone is familiar with William Shakespeare's boy-meets-girl love story, and it has already been interpreted into films, plays, TV adaptations and songs. But Baz Luhrmann gives this world-known love story a modern-day twist, setting it in Verona Beach, and piling on the religious imagery. The result is quite spectacular.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes play the star-crossed lovers, and, whilst the latter is sadly a little bland, never truly convincing us in her portrayal of Juliet's loss of innocence or torment of feelings towards the foe, DiCaprio completely redeems her performance. He is a revelation. His Romeo is a wonderful mix of sad eloquence, a loving heart and a troubled soul, and all these elements come together beautifully in a performance hotter than a pepper sprout, with more layers than the proverbial onion. He is the very embodiment of sexy in his role. There is an extremely alluring way in which his character is filmed, which only enhances Romeo as a lover. This is epitomized in the opening shot of him, where the Leo is illuminated illustriously against the sunlight, and Radiohead's languid, sexy tune "Talk Show Host" plays.

The film itself has "sexy" written all over it, and, with the Gen X teenagers as his target audience, I don't think Luhrmann would have things any other way. But, unlike with that atrocity Moulin Rouge!, with Romeo + Juliet, the over-stylization is appropriate, making the movie more accessible to teens, for example, through gun warfare rather than swordplay, and the canny symbolisation of Queen Mab as a drug. But perhaps the most ingenious stylistic technique here is the slap-in-face Shakespearean references, which range from a ball called the Merchant of Venice, to 'Such stuff as dreams are made on' from The Tempest, making the film an absolute goldmine for trivia fans.

Style aside, there is more than enough substance. Romeo is presented exactly as the play does – at first, the mawkish, gawky, lovesick teenager, then, the fickle boy, and finally, the devoted and caring lover, and much of this loyalty to the play is due to the screenplay from Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, which maintains the original memorable dialogue and descriptions, but also dares to stray from the sidewalk in some of the plot turns, and the film completely benefits from it. The set designs are intricate and beautiful, and suit every frame of the film perfectly, and the icing on the cake is the music. Craig Armstrong's score for the swimming pool scene is as stunning as it is original, and the use of non-original music, from Kym Mazelle to The Cardigans, give the film the added edge of cool, making Romeo + Juliet one of the boldest, sassiest and most unforgettable adaptations to date, and English Lit. GCSE has been made far more digestible for us kids across England. It's what Shakespeare would have wanted. A-.


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