Romeo & Juliet




I saw “Romeo & Juliet” (1968, directed by Franco Zeffirelli) these days on TV, for the 4th time, I think, and I still love it. I suppose you all know the film… and if not, then you really should see it. But not before you read Shakespeare’s classic tale of romance and tragedy. Two families of Verona, the Montagues and the Capulets, have been feuding with each other for years. Young Romeo Montague goes out with his friends to make trouble at a party the Capulets are hosting, but while there he spies the Capulet’s daughter Juliet, and falls hopelessly in love with her. She returns his affections, but they both know that their families will never allow them to follow their hearts.
Anyway… The main actors, Olivia Hussey & Leonard Whiting, are simply beautiful. 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 famous balcony scene avoids clichés 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.
Zeffirelli wanted to make a movie that spoke to youth and he succeeded, to put it very mildly.


Here are some quotes:
“Juliet: My only love sprung from my only hate. Too early seen unknown, and known too late.”
“Romeo: But soft; what light through yonder window breaks? It is my lady! O, it is my love. O that she knew she were.”
“Narrator: A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun for sorrow will not show his head. For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

Plus! The song “What is a Youth” (lyrics by Eugene Walter, music by Nino Rota, vocal by Glen Weston) from the film’s soundtrack is absolutely beautiful.

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  1. Anonymous

    It’s one of the best movies, and they are both wonderful in it! Him at 16 and her 15. He was the correct age, and her only a year older then the real characters are suppose to be!

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