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Romeo & Juliet (1978)

TV-14 | | Drama, Romance | TV Movie 3 December 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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Chorus
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Prince Escalus
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Lady Capulet
Christopher Strauli ...
Benvolio
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Paul Henry ...
Peter
Roger Davidson ...
Balthasar
John Paul ...
Montague
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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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Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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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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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unlike most versions of the play, the actress cast to play Juliet was similar to Juliet's actual age; in the play, Juliet is only 13, but in most stagings and adaptations a girl in her late teens/early twenties plays the role. Rebecca Saire was only 14 when she made this film. See more »

Connections

Version of Victims of Love (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Passable? Yes. Passionate? Not a bit.
9 February 2014 | by See all my reviews

While not as atrocious as others have described it, this TV version of Romeo and Juliet leaves much to be desired. That the camera-work is uninspired and the sets are stage-bound does not factor in here, seeing as this is no big budget extravaganza (a la the 1936, 1968, and 1996 adaptations). No, what's lacking are riveting performances, primarily from the lovers themselves.

Patrick Ryecart may be the most passionless Romeo I have ever seen. That he is uncomfortably older than his adolescent leading lady by about a decade is the least of his problems. He is the definition of bland, almost sleepwalking through his scenes, only coming alive during the part where he kills Tybalt in a fit of rage. Rebbecca Saire does better as Juliet, but not by much. Though she is the closest in age to her character than any other screen/TV actress I've ever seen (Saire was 14 at the time of filming, only a year older than Juliet is in the play), her portrayal of the character is too subdued and lacking in sexuality.

Luckily, most of the supporting cast is passable, if not great. There are only two standouts in the line-up: Anthony Andrews is an entertaining Mercutio and a young Alan Rickman makes for a wonderfully loathsome Tybalt.

Honestly, this is probably my least favorite R&J screen adaptation thus far. While not a painful experience, you'd be better served with the 1968 film. Though it does cut some of the text, it's prettier to look at and features more poignant, passionate performances than this lifeless TV movie.


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