In Shakespeare's classic play, the Montagues and Capulets, two families of Renaissance Italy, have hated each other for years, but the son of one family and the daughter of the other fall desperately in love and secretly marry.
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Against the backdrop of a venomous feud between the powerful clans of the Montagues and the Capulets in the medieval city of Verona, William Shakespeare's eternal story of teenage love unfolds. As youth's insolence arms the charming young Montague, Romeo, with dauntless courage to come uninvited to the Capulets' scintillating masked ball, a brief but thrilling encounter with the delicate dark-haired Capulet, Juliet, will pave the way for an ardent passion and a cruel romantic tragedy. Before God, the star-crossed lovers have sworn never-ending devotion despite their perilous plight; however, before the grim machinations of fate, man stands powerless. Are Romeo and Juliet destined to be together?Written by
Olivia Hussey later said that the studio told her she would have to appear very much like Juliet in all press interviews too. She rebelled in one famous interview, where she tied her hair back, lit a cigarette and sipped a glass of mimosa for the whole fifteen minutes. The video of this interview resurfaced on the internet in the 2010s. See more »
When the minstrel begins his song, a pipe player, a violin player and lute player are seen playing behind him (all miming badly). There is no violin or flute on the soundtrack at that point; only what sounds like a harp. See more »
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 do with their deaths bury their parents' strife.
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The "Intermission" title card, unseen in the U.S. since the film's original 1968 roadshow release, is restored to the DVD. See more »
To my way of thinking, this film should be considered when people discuss the greatest movies of all time. Every scene, practically every frame of this movie is brilliant. Director Zeffirelli went against the ancient practice of using older actors in the title roles, and the performances he elicits from teenagers Whiting and Hussey is amazing. Although he trims the dialog heavily in places (Romeo says, "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?"- and leaves it at that) his version captures all the passion of Shakespeare's play magnificently.
The scenes at the Capulet's ball at which the two young lovers meet are about the greatest I've ever seen on screen. The famous balcony scene avoids cliches altogether and makes others pale by comparison. The Queen Mab speech, the fight, and the scene in the tomb are all exquisite highlights of this film. Even the dubbing for the Italian actor's voices and of the crowd noise is superior. It is amazing to me that an Italian could be so sensitively in tune with one of the English language's most sublime works.
Zeffirelli wanted to make a movie that spoke to youth and he succeeded, to put it very mildly. If school systems were smart, they'd pack up their freshmen and sophomores on buses every year, drive them to a local theatre and show them this movie. I can't think of a better investment in young people's education that could be made. It worked for me.
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