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This is an excellent production of the classic play with the Shakespeare script delivered in period costume as intended. It is well acted by all the cast, with strong performances by both the two leads despite their young ages. Although the film is nearly 50 years old the production stands the test of time and the picture quality is still reasonable (this has obviously been produced in a widescreen format) and the dialogue is clear. I admit that when it comes to Shakespeare it like it presented as The Bard intended and as we have here (no leather jackets, no jeans and certainly no mumbling, please!). My daughter is currently studying R&J for her GCSE and it was great for her to see the play acted out in this format.
When it comes to finding the best film adaptations of William Shakespeares iconic plays, I usually find the older the films are, the better they are, especially in regards to wearing the right period costumes which suit the dialogue. And I would place Franco Zeffirellis 1968 film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in my top 12 list of greatest Shakespeare film adaptations, along with As You Like It (1936), Henry V (1944), Othello (1951), Julius Caesar (1953), Richard Third (1955), Chimes At Midnight (1965), A Midsummer Nights Dream (1968), Hamlet (1969), King Lear (1971), Macbeth (1971), and The Tempest (1979)
This Zeffirelli film is considered by many to be the definitive screen version of Shakespeare’s tragic love story. Watching it again transports me back to the cinema where my English teacher took us to see the newly released film during our O-Level studies. It had such a profound effect on me and remains a favourite to this day.
Zefferelli’s risk of having two unknowns playing the leads paid off, there’s a rightful innocence about their performance. They are supported by a rich and wonderful cast, not least John McEnery as Mercutio and Milo O’Shea as Friar Lawrence. I recently learnt that, although not credited, Lawrence Olivier read the prologue and dubbed the voice of Lord Montague.
While the text is not verbatim, it has been judiciously edited so the film, at just over two hours, is not laboured. It’s a worthwhile watch and a good starting place for students setting out to study the play.
However, it’s worth seeking out the DVD version. At a third of the price the quality is only marginally less than the Blue-Ray. Sadly, both versions have mono soundtracks.
Brilliantly made movie by the great Franco Zeffirelli. I remember it from my schooldays, when my class was taken to the cinema to see it. I remember being slightly shocked (at the tender age of 13) by the naked body of Romeo with his love Juliet, though it was very well acted and directed, nothing sleezy about this version of the great Will Shakespeare's wonderful work. As with many films, there was a fair amount of fighting, which possibly went on a bit too long, but seeing it again all these years later, I believe it was justified. I was left in tears at the end, and it felt as though time had stood still, the emotion was still as strong as back in the 60s when I first saw it. Worth every penny!
Made in 1968 by Franco Zeffirelli, this is the nearest audiences can be to what Shakespeare intended without being in the theatre. I feel sure Shakespeare would have loved it. The richness of the lives they led is lavishly set off with wonderful costumes and settings, all back up by a great musical score making subtle use of Gregorian chant; it has tunes which will linger for many months in the mind and voice-box. Although there are moments in the 2002 version with Leonardo di Caprio and Claire Danes which I feel sure Zeffirelli envied, e.g. in the final scenes, Juliet awakes as Romeo dies and they see each other. No other production I have seen creates this heightened moment in a scene already stretching emotions to the limit. The heat, excitement, frustration and family feuds all appear white hot on the screen and the two teenagers bring Romeo and Juliet alive with all too believable conviction.
Although the two principal characters were not famous at the time under the brilliant hand of Franco Zeffirelli they act convincingly. The supporting cast is great with stars such as John McEnery, Michael York and Robert Stephens. The work is performed sensitively and the scenes are marvellous, showing that Zeffirelli is a master of his art. To enhance the pleasure the music is full of pathos and beauty.
The minute the DVD started I was transported back to the Odeon, Leicester Square, where I first saw this splendid film. Authentic settings and authentic acting, with Romeo and Juliet played by actors of about the right age - as Shakespeare intended. It is still a beautiful piece of work, and a riveting watch. The well-known music fits perfectly, and the whole is wonderfully topped and tailed by Laurence Olivier's beautifully spoken prologue and epilogue. Even if you don't much care for the Bard, I believe that you will love this version of the play.
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has been filmed many times, but never as visually stunning as this version from 1968. You will see from the many other reviews of this film just how highly regarded it is. So let me just concentrate on the product itself, the DVD. I am longing for the day when we get a re-mastered Blu-Ray version, just to marvel at the photography and costumes. On this DvD we have very clear mono sound, and an enhanced widescreen picture. No real complaints, good colour, reasonable sharp picture quality. No extras. So this is the best available at the moment. I think you will be delighted with your purchase, and on Amazon it's so cheap!
This film of Shakespeare's play, c133 minutes long, presumably represents a more or less uncut version of the original text. The actors playing the two lovers, who are supposedly about 15 years old, are excellent - Olivia Hussey as Juliet particularly. Location shots in Italian towns too.