Academy Awards 1968 -
Best Cinematography: Pasqualino De Santis
Academy Awards 1968 -
Best Costume Design
USA Today - 06/02/2000
Chicago Sun-Times - 09/17/2000
"...The costumes and everything else in the film -- the photography, the music, above all Shakespeare's language -- is so voluptuous, so sensuous..."
For his adaptation of this classic Shakespeare tragedy, director Franco Zeffirelli (TAMING OF THE SHREW) made the inspired choice of casting teenaged actors in the leads (Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting), and their youthful innocence adds an extra dimension of beauty and tragedy to the story. Shot on location in Italy, the film benefits from an earthy sense of realism, a cast of excellent supporting actors, and a memorable soundtrack by Nino Rota. This saga of star-crossed lovers caught in their feuding family's crossfire had strong political resonance at the time of its release, and has lost little of its poignancy.
Director Franco Zeffirelli's penchant for period love stories find its perfect outlet in this classic Shakespeare tragedy, and many consider it the best filmed version of the story. As the title characters, fifteen year old Olivia Hussey and seventeen year old Leonard Whiting bring a touching amount of spontaneity and innocence to their roles, which works in the favor of the film, if not always the text. The exquisite cinematography by Pasqualino De Santis and haunting score by Nino Rota are also key elements in the films effectiveness. A supporting cast of largely unknown actors lend the film terrific urgency, especially Michael York as Tybalt, whose duel with Romeo is nothing short of gut-wrenching. This film was a huge hit with young audiences when originally released, and was considered a symbol for the anti-war, pro-peace youth movement. It remains something of a cultural touchstone, a romantic idealization of youth that still strikes a deep, reverberating chord.
Doomed Lovers |
Essential Cinema |
Love Story |
Stage Play |
Tear Jerker |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: October 8, 1968.
ROMEO AND JULIET was filmed in Rome, Italy.
This was the feature film acting debut for Bruce Robinson, who went on to write THE KILLING FIELDS and both write and direct WITHNAIL AND I.