William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Movie

Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 movie ‘William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet’ is a very accessible version of the play. Modern secondary school students, I think, react to this movie in a similar way to how Shakespeare’s original – audience would have reacted. We forget how revolutionary this early play of Shakespeare’s was, but Luhrmann brings his audience face to face to the scandal of tampering with the Bard.

Romeo and Juliet

Whenever I have taught Romeo and Juliet to high school students, I dither over whether to show the movie first and then introduce them to the written text, or to plow through the script and then treat them to the movie. The gulf between 21st Century Australian state school students and Elizabethan England is narrowed by the visual interpretation and modernisation of the movie. The script is all taken from the original play, although not all the script is used. Some scenes are changed around or ommitted, and some changes to character storylines have been made.

Baz Luhrmann has set his version in a fictionalised Verona Beach in Florida. There is a Jesus monument on the hills overlooking the city, much like the Bolivian Jesus monument at Cochabamba. Skyscrapers are topped by the trade names Capulet and Montague to reinforce the conflict between the two families.

Romeo and Juliet meet at a party – discovering each other through the symbolic barrier of an aquarium.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)

The desensitized nature of the modern movie audience glories in the violence of this movie. Gun play, explosions, and the final double suicide are compelling and disturbing. I will often not play the final suicide scene because of its glorification of teen suicide. I think this is a dangerously attractive portrayal of suicide that I would rather not expose my students to.

Locations

Alameda, California.
Chapultepec Castle, Chapultepec Park, Mexico City.
Estudios Churubusco Azteca, Mexico City.

Useful Links

William Shakespeare’s Romeo+Juliet at Wikipedia

Romeo and Juliet Official Site includes information on Shakespeare, setting, production notes.

Bazmark – Baz Luhrmann’s Official Site

Romeo+Juliet IMDB

Baz Luhrmann IMDB

Baz Luhrmann at Wikipedia

Craig Armstrong (Composer)

DVD Special Edition

Available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Includes

  • Subtitles in Spanish and English
  • Audio commentary by Baz Luhrmann (director, co-writer, producer), Catherine Martin (production designer), Don McAlpine (cinematographer), and Craig Pearce (co-writer).
  • Director’s Gallery and Cinematographer’s Gallery
  • Interview with Catherine Martin, Production Designer
  • Two TV Trailers
  • Cast and Crew Interviews
  • Music Videos: “Young Hearts Run Free” by Kym Mazelle, and “Kissing You”, by Des’ree.

Music from the Motion Picture

Volume 1 and Volume 2 at Amazon.com

92 thoughts on “William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Movie

  1. rebeckha

    this movie was easyier to follow and to understand. i loved how they still used old english and made it more up bet (up to date). ^-^

    Reply
  2. hank

    This movie is bizzare to me, because it’s more modern than classical. There is a lot of action and some dramatic music, which I liked. Good thing they used Old English with American accent:). I would rate this movie 4 stars…

    Reply
  3. redpanther

    Man is there no website to download this film…
    if there is pls pls pls do mail me for its very urgent.

    Reply
  4. Piratelover

    this is an awesome movie! i love how they have kept the shakesperean language, but put it in a context that teens love! and leo is hot!

    Reply
  5. ellie

    oooh my god.. this film is just so perfect i love it.. leonardo is so beautiful it’s amazing and he’s so nice to juliet but it’s a film so let’s face the truth.. 😛

    Reply
  6. chelsie

    hi
    i love this film and i love leanoardo decapreo and i want him to be in more movies and i need him to be in more movies and then i can see him more and gass at hima nd pretend the film i really life and pereatend that i am the persion that is kissing him becouse he is so nice and sexcy he is so hot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  7. ANTOINETTE

    I LOVE THIS MOVIE SOOOOOOO MUCH THAT I CAN WATCH IT EVERY SINGLE DAY THE WORDS ARE SET STILL AS WILLIAM SAID IT AND WROTE IT BUT HE PUT THE LANGUAGE THAT US TEENS CAN UNDERSTAND THATS WHY I LOVE IT I DONT LIKE IT I LOOOOVE IT THANKS FOR READING THIS AND TAKING YOUR TIME TO PAY ATTENTOIN TO IT AND FOR THE PEOPLE THAT HVE NOT SEEN IT EVERY BODY AND I MEEN EVERY BODY NEED TO WATCH IT PLZ LEI ME DOWN LOAD THIS ON THE COMPUTER SO I COULD WATCH IT EVERY DAY THANK YOUUUUUU

    Reply
  8. Awais

    ooooooo i love this movie shoooooooooo much…..Leonardo works so great,love his performance………….btw how can i watch this movie….i havn’t seen this yet :P…………hehe

    Reply
  9. Maddie

    Eh, this movie is too modern. Romeo and Juliet is suppose to be a classical. I only saw this movie because of Leonardo, other than that it was…bleh. The original movie made in the 1960’s was SOO much better.

    Reply
  10. Linda

    Romeo and Juliet is the best film in the whole world.
    Leonardo DiCaprio brings me to cry he plays it right convincingly.
    I love this movie so much I could him watch me every day.
    Big lob to all those who have made with

    Reply
  11. samiullah q

    ewlllllo ewlooooo pp iant tellin anifinhg about the movie cuz my life is on the same track anyways its goooood movie

    Reply
  12. erin campbell

    this movie is okay but its not really that great. i really wanted to kill myself when i was watching it. thanx

    Reply
  13. Foogy day

    This movie was cool and all, the thing about it is i actually wish it WASNT in elizebethian lagnuage. If it wasnt i would have been able to get more attached to it… But it was in old english, It was clever on some parts but it was just plain out laugh out loud funny when i tried to watch certain parts, though it wasnt supposed to be

    Reply
  14. Melanie

    The most beautifull film and the must beautifull story. Thanks to Baz Lurmann for this. There’s make me cry, make me happy, make me nervous, make me stay in love so much…

    Reply
  15. mahshad

    I have never seen that film but when I heard alot about this I am trying to find and watch it as soon as possible.It must be amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  16. cool kid.:p

    so basically this movie rocks my whole wide world.! 😀

    leonadro’s a hottie with a body.
    id tap that.;)

    Reply
  17. Princess India

    i really like this movie. It’s a very passionate movie. This is the best love story ever!

    Reply
  18. liljay-dee x x

    yh we are doin courzework on it we all loved it it a good film comparred to da ova 1 int ppl xx i wud watch it everiday wud you lot xx from liljay-dee xx

    Reply
  19. dezalyne

    yeah!!! your right guys!! this film is reall very very!! gooooooood!!! I could watch it everyday…

    Reply
  20. Bob Marley

    I think this film is a let down to the film industry. I think its patheticly silly how they die at the end. Maybe they should of got ran over or something traditional but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO they had a pukka pie moment where they kill each over.. But thats my opinion.. peace out dudes..xxxxxxxxx

    Reply
  21. judith cohen

    jGeez, Rob, you should stick to singing! Don’t go into film critiques. You sound like an idiot and your music is too original and nice for that. (Although I know I’m speaking to a dead man). The very point of Romeo and Juliet which you obviously and embarassingly missed, is that they were so young. The young do things they would never think of doing even five years later. She was only 13 or 14 and he was about l5 or l6.

    Reply
  22. Stephanie

    I think that Romeo and Juliet is a classic. It is brilliantly written and brilliantly acted and directed. Etc. I (L) it soooo much. I could watch it over and over 🙂 ayayaya

    i dont see how anyone could not like this 🙂
    woop woop

    Reply
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  24. giggie

    iam in love with this movie because this movie is so like romantic for me i cry at the end of the end………… this movie is ment to be

    Reply
  25. HANNAH

    I LOVE ROMEO+JULIT I HATE THAT ROMEO AND JULIT ARE ENAMES BECUSE IF I LIKE ALEXANDER DAVIES AND WE WHER ENAMES THAT MAKE ME SAD AND ILL DIE AT THE END BY SHOTTING MY SELF ON THE HEAD

    Reply
  26. LL

    I *love* both the play and this film.

    Teachers who show their students Luhrmann’s film should explain to them what Elizabethan theater was like: in the year 1600 audiences were more archaic, natural and wild than we are today. They weren’t silent or discreet, but spent the time in theaters flirting and drinking (the way we would do in a football stadium nowadays). That’s why Shakespeare entertained them the loud way – not just with the pure text we find in his books. That’s why Luhrmann made it such a loud and lush film (and a truly unforgettable one for more than one reason!).

    People who’ve watched this film and still don’t understand why Romeo + Juliet is the world’s most famous love story will never understand it, I suppose.

    Reply
  27. lamiah

    i have never seen the movie and realy want too
    dose anyone know a site were i could dounload the movie if so plz tell me 🙂 leonardo is sooo phitt 🙂

    Reply
  28. Aron

    I watched this fantastic movie while I was in high school and it was so awesome..I would like to have a repeat of this film one of this fine days

    Reply
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  30. kurt

    It was an horrible film, it suck!!!!!!! I tough it was a porn movie… It gave me a boner! <3 motherfuckers!!!! love you all <33

    Reply
  31. lovely-xsauria

    This movie is soooo great! and the play is even better. it is the theme for my quinceanera/ sweet sixteen. (bringing together two cultures :)) i can’t wait!!!!

    Reply

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