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Romeo and Juliet 1968

Amazon Instant Video

(145) IMDb 7.7/10

Italian director Franco Zeffirelli stunned the screen world when he cast two young unknowns to portray the star-crossed lovers in Romeo & Juliet, but it was a gamble that resulted in one of the most popular motion pictures of all time,winning international acclaim and four Academy Award?? nominations.

Leonard Whiting, Olivia Hussey
2 hours, 18 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director Franco Zeffirelli
Starring Leonard Whiting, Olivia Hussey
Supporting actors John McEnery, Milo O'Shea, Pat Heywood, Robert Stephens, Michael York, Bruce Robinson, Paul Hardwick, Natasha Parry, Antonio Pierfederici, Esmeralda Ruspoli, Roberto Bisacco, Roy Holder, Keith Skinner, Dyson Lovell, Richard Warwick, Roberto Antonelli, Carlo Palmucci, Ugo Barbone
Studio Paramount
BBFC rating Parental Guidance
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 107 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Chugg on 8 Feb. 2003
Format: DVD
Appropriately enough, Zeffirelli's masterful production had its cinematic debut in the "Summer of Love". It is certainly an authentic reflection of the youthful exuberance and vigour of its era. Yet it also succeeds brilliantly in capturing the colour and atmosphere of the Renaissance in Italy. It was filmed on location in Tuscany and Umbria and many of its scenes are so gorgeous as to seem almost like canvases by Raphael or Titian, magically brought to life. The music is also outstandingly fine and has now achieved a wide level of circulation beyond the film as a quintessential love theme.
Zeffirelli's decision to cast the leads at their correct ages has been controversial. Certainly, Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey (who were respectively 17 and 15 during filming) do not give performances of technical theatrical brilliance (for that in a Shakespearian lead, you should see Kenneth Brannagh's Henry V). Nevertheless the leads are utterly charming, convincingly passionate, genuinely moving and wholly credible and I would suggest that these attributes are far more essential than technical mastery in the context of this particular play.
In the supporting roles, which are superbly cast, there are many performances of great theatrical accomplishment. Performances of memorable flare are turned in by Pat Heywood as the nurse, Milo O'Shea as Friar Laurence, John McEnery as Mercutio and Michael York as a surprisingly fearsome Tybalt.
It is the greatest tribute to this film, as I know from personal experience, that it has the power to turn intelligent teenage detractors of the Bard into his keenest advocates.

This is undoubtedly the definitive cinematic version of Shakespeare's second greatest work. Beware of pale imitations!
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77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By M. Ash VINE VOICE on 17 Aug. 2003
Format: DVD
Other people have mentioned a lack of 'technical perfection' as a criticism of the acting in this film, which I continue to rate as my favourite of all time. This film is not about technical perfection - it is above such calculated and clinical ideas. The concept of Stanislavski's method and similar such approaches has no place here - this film is about the emotional involvement of two outstanding young actors in the awe inspiring work of Shakespeare. Both are beautiful and Olivia Hussey, in particular, makes wonderfully effective use of her powerful eyes throughout.
Zefirelli's direction is detailed but maintains a sense of humanity rarely afforded big screen interpretations of Shakespeare. The setting of every scene combined with wonderful camera work, creates a tangible sense of atmosphere which even overcomes the monoaural sound and early technicolor pictures. Nino Rota's score is divine and serves the content of the film rather than itself - it binds the plot together, building pathos and portraying the sensuality of the famous star-crossed lovers. Costumes are beautifully designed. Unlike many more modern adaptations, the use of nudity in portraying the sexual attraction between Romeo and Juliet is subtle and all the more effective for it. The film does not try to 'be' modern or groundbreaking but, in it sensitive adaptation of a great story achieves an untouchable quality. This is 2 and a quarter hours of movie perfection which, in my opinion, will never be beaten. Do yourself a favour - buy this instead of the rather brash and garish Baz Luhrman modernisation, and enjoy Shakespeare at its best. Stunning.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Mar. 2010
Format: DVD
Many people class this as the best film version of this classic play, and I must admit that I am one of them. I have seen a few film versions and this is the best by a mile. Romeo and Juliet is one of my all time favourite plays and this film is a treat for the eyes.

Franco Zeffirelli took a daring and controversial decision in placing two unknowns in the lead roles, but when his finished production was seen it more than paid off. Winning the acclaim of critics and viewers this is a film that all should see, and the use of unknowns to play Romeo and Juliet brought home once again that Shakespeare is for everyone and for all time, not just highbrows.

Olivia Hussey as Juliet will steal your heart making us men all in to Romeos, and the inevitable finale of this tragic love story will bring you to tears. There is nothing really to dislike about this, except perhaps a few very minor details which lets face it do not mar the overall performance. As a whole this gets as close as you can to perfection and like me you will never tire of watching this.

Even if you think that you don't like Shakespeare, or have never read any of his plays then you should still see this and you will soon find your mind altered. This is a film that you must see before you die, and it will leave a lasting impression on you.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 8 Feb. 2010
Format: DVD
I first saw this film at the age of 14 and it was a revelation. I remember sitting on my parents hearthrug utterly entranced. Having previously dismissed the thought of Shakespeare as "difficult" and "boring" here was something that felt (in spite of the period setting) totally relevent to me, as a 14 year old girl. I know that I cried buckets at the end, and came away with my attitude to Shakespeare changed forever.

Far more years than I would care to admit to later, I introduced this film, one wet Saturday afternoon to my streetwise 11 year old daughter, I admit that I wasn't sure whether it would "speak" to her like it did to me. I should have had more faith. Yes - as a previous reviewer has said - Leonard Whitings startling resemblance to Zac Efron (an insult to LW in my opinion I'm afraid) was immediately commented on - and off she went. And yes - it ended in tears - as it is supposed to.

Certain elements may show as a little old fashioned "Hollywood" but this is a beautifully simple rendition of a tale as old as time itself.
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