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
The last Shakespearean movie (to date) to have its American television premiere on commercial network television rather than cable. Peter Brook's King Lear (1970) was never shown on commercial television networks, and by the time Sir Kenneth Branagh released his version of Henry V (1989), virtually every movie was shown on cable television before it went to the commercial networks. See more »
In the chapel, when Juliet wakes up to find Romeo dead, she leans over him in mourning, though he is visibly breathing. 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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In the film's original release, and on DVD, the "End Titles" music continues playing on a black screen after the closing credits have ended, much as "Exit Music" used to do in roadshow releases of films. As currently (2009) shown on cable TV, however, there is an edit on the soundtrack (not on the picture) during the closing credits, so that the music ends exactly at the same time that the visual portion of the film does. 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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