The Romeo and Juliet movie that came out in 1968 starred Leonard
Whiting and Olivia Hussey. It was rated PG. People give it 4 and a
half stars. An editorial review says: "Franco Zeffirelli's 1968
adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was unique in its day
for casting kids in the play's pivotal roles of, well, kids.
Seventeen-year-old Leonard
Whiting and 15-year-old Olivia Hussey play the titular pair, the Bard's star-crossed
lovers who defy a running feud between their families in order to be together in love.
Typically played on stage and in previous film productions by adult actors, the innocent
look and rawness of Whiting and Hussey resonated at the time with a burgeoning youth
movement from San Francisco to Prague. The tragic romance at the center of the story
also clicked with anti-authority sentiments, but even without that, Zeffirelli scores points
by validating the ideals and passions of strong-willed adolescents. Less successful are
scenes requiring the actors to have a fuller grasp of the text, though the best thing going
remains the unambiguous duel between Romeo and Tybalt (Michael York).
Romeo And Juliet: Movie Review, December 19, 1999
Reviewer: whauwanty0 from New York, USA
Franco Zeffirelli's Oscar winning 1968 Romeo And Juliet
is a revolutionary masterpiece! This is a flamboyant and
very popular adaptation of the famous Shakespearean
tragedy, in which actual teenagers play the leads. Two
young lovers, who come from feuding families,
desperately wish to stay together. They go to a gentle
friar for help, and, in hopes their wedding will end the
conflict, he comes up with an ingenious plot to unite them.
However, when a miscommunication destroys their plans,
they make a tragic decision - a decision that brings
peace, but too late to help the lovers themselves.
Baz Luhrmann (director) takes a shot at reinventing
Shakespeare's story of star-crossed lovers as a visual pastiche
inspired by MTV imagery, Hong Kong action-picture clichés,
and Luhrmann's own taste for deliberate, gaudy excess. The
result is explosive chaos, both in terms of bullets and visual
sensibility, which some may find impossible to stick with for
more than a few minutes. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire
Danes play the leads, though not with much distinction, while
Thrill Ride - Shakespeare at it's best, December 25, 2001
Reviewer: Trixie Firecracker from Nova Scotia, Canada
Audacious, sexy, thrilling and beautiful, this film takes Shakespeare's classic
and spills it into the wonderfully ribald world of Verona Beach, Miami. The
Montagues and the Capulets are at war, and Romeo and Juliet are caught in
the crossfire. They love each other, but can't be together because of the
circumstances. It's tragedy at it's best, and this film does nothing to detract
from that.
Postlethwaite makes a huge impression as this movie's version of Friar
Laurence. The film is successful in spots, but overall its fever-dream game
plan is difficult to ride out.