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Romeo + Juliet (1996)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  1 November 1996 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 139,365 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 491 user | 98 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

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

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(play), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Romeo + Juliet (1996)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

Shakespeare's famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue. The gun-toting members of the families wage a vicious war on the streets as the star-crossed lovers meet their tragic destiny. Written by Alexander Lum <aj_lum@postoffice.utas.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Two households both alike in dignity, In fair Verona where we lay our scene. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life. 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

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

1 November 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

ITL 692,167,000 (Italy) (28 February 1997)

Gross:

ITL 3,795,630,000 (Italy) (2 May 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an effort to drum up the necessary funds from the backers, Leonardo DiCaprio flew to Australia on his own dime and performed an on-spec audition video with Baz Luhrmann. See more »

Goofs

While driving away from the gas station, Gregory is shot in the shoulder. No mention or visual hint of this is given again throughout the remainder of the film. 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 Daria in 'Is It Fall Yet?' (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Liebestod
(from Tristan and Isolde)
Performed by Leontyne Price
Written by Richard Wagner
See more »

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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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