Romeo & Juliet (1968/1996)

D: Franco Zeffirelli
Paramount/BHE/Verona (Anthony Havelock-Allan, John Brabourne & Richard Goodwin)
UK/Italy 1968
152 mins


W: Franco Brusati & Masolino D'Amico [based on the play by William Shakespeare]         
DP: Pasqualino de Santis
Ed: Reginald Mills
Mus: Nino Rota
PD: Lorenzo Mongiardino
Cos: Danilo Donati

Leonard Whiting (Romeo Montague), Olivia Hussey (Juliet Capulet), John McEnery (Mercutio), Michael York (Tuvalu), Pat Heywood (Nurse), Milo O'Shea (Friar Laurence)

Arguably the finest of the more traditional adaptations of William Shakespeare's tragic love story, using a younger cast than previous versions to appeal to a younger audience, fitting in with the attitudes at the time of its release.
The balletic style of the photography and direction suit the film well, with meticulous attention to period detail and costumes.
Nino Rota's love theme also gained great commercial success, becoming a hit record in many countries across the world.
Olivia Hussey & Leonard Whiting in Romeo & Juliet
Olivia Hussey & Leonard Whiting in Romeo & Juliet

My only love sprang from my only hate
My only love sprang from my only hate
D: Baz Luhrmann
20th Century Fox/Bazmark (Gabriella Martinelli & Baz Luhrmann)
US 1996
120 mins


W: Craig Pearce & Baz Luhrmann [based on the play by William Shakespeare]
DP: Donald McAlpine
Ed: Jill Bilcock
Mus: Nellee Cooper, Craig Armstrong & Marius de Vries
PD: Catherine Martin

Leonardo DiCaprio (Romeo Montague), Claire Danes (Juliet Capulet), Brian Dennehy (Ted Montague), John Leguizamo (Tybalt Capulet), Pete Postlethwaite (Father Laurence), Paul Sorvino (Fulgencio Capulet), Diane Venora (Gloria Capulet)

William Shakespeare's name needs to be dropped from the title post haste, this isn't Shakespeare, this is Baz Luhrmann's Romeo plus Juliet, set in the wastelands of a post apocalyptic future where rival gangs duel with guns, except they're still called swords as the characters have creative licence with the Bard's lingo.
The production designers take the credit here for their vision of an alternative present day Earth, while the pretentious director pats himself on the back over how original he is, except he isn't very original at all.
This is a GCSE production of West Side Story, minus the Sondheim music and lyrics which are replaced with a more modern soundtrack (for the mid-1990's, at least).
The teen appeal is strong with this version, especially amongst liberal art students, but it really isn't any hipper than Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 film, which stuck to the more traditional, classic approach to Shakespeare's immortal text.
I'll understand my opinion on this being an unpopular one, but I really didn't care for this movie at all.

Claire Danes & Leonardo DiCaprio in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet
Claire Danes & Leonardo DiCaprio in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet