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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.



(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
621 ( 8)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:


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


My only love sprung from my only hate. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

1 November 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$14,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Jesus statue that dominates Verona was actually a visual effect. In reality, it was 2 feet high. See more »


The vial of poison falls from Romeo's hand when Juliet touches his cheek, but later she takes it out of his hand. See more »


[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, whose misadventured piteous overthrows doth, with their death, bury their parents' strife. The fearful passage of their death-marked love and the continuance of their parents' rage, which, but their children's end, naught could ...
See more »


Featured in 48 Shades (2006) See more »


Performed by The Cardigans
Written by Peter Svensson and Nina Persson
Produced by Tore Johansson
The Cardigans appear courtesy of Stockholm Records
by arrangement with Polygram Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful Modernization of Shakespeare's Classic Play
1 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The amazing thing about this movie is that it has managed to re-do Shakespeare's famous tragedy in a modern setting while still retaining its original dialogue. What's even more amazing is it works. I admit that I was a little apprehensive about seeing this movie, fearing that Luhrman had either destroyed the play's beauty and power by setting it in modern times, or had butchered Shakespeare's eloquent words by making them sound more modern. I was wrong. Almost everything about this movie is just incredible.

Luhrman brilliantly casted Claire Danes as fourteen-year-old Juliet. The actress certainly looks the part, with her youthful features and innocent eyes. More importantly, she acts the part. Ms. Danes almost flawlessly captures Juliet's distressing journey from childhood to womanhood, beautifully showing her dramatic transition which had taken toll on her during her five day relationship with Romeo. When the story begins, Juliet is a naive girl, having not yet experienced true love, and by the end we can clearly see just how much her love for Romeo has deepened in passion, and how dramatically her character has developed.

Leanardo DeCaprio's Romeo was almost equally impressive. Some of his recitations of Shakespeare made me cringe, but for the most part he was perfect. One of Romeo's most important characteristics in the play is the intensity of his emotions, and DeCaprio captures this feature incredibly. Romeo is brash and impulsive, with a tendency to act on the heat of the moment rather than to first consider the situation like the more levelheaded Juliet. This unfortunate characteristic, which played a huge role in leading up to the lovers' tragic fate, is wonderfully mastered by DeCaprio and retained throughout the film. But we also, like with Juliet, get a glimpse of his character's development. At the beginning of the play Romeo is a hopeless romantic who fantasizes of love, and seems to dwell more in his daydreamed world than actually on earth. At this point he has no idea what true love really is, he only thinks he does. It is not until he meets Juliet that he can begin to comprehend the true depth and passion of love. DeCaprio triumphs in this area as well.

The other actors are superb, and wonderfully portray their characters as Shakespeare intended. But what really impressed me was, as I stated earlier, the keeping of Shakespeare's original dialogue in Luhrman's modern setting. I know some people criticize this film for destroying the romance and beauty of Shakespeare's words by setting the story in modern day Verona, but I feel that it only made the film more romantic. What Luhrman did was both bold and brilliant, and he succeeded wonderfully.

I won't speak any more of the brilliance of this film, I just highly recommend you see it as soon as possible. If you're a fan of Shakespeare like me, I think you will enjoy this hip, yet still lovely, modernization of his most famous play ever.

103 of 151 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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