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Best 11 Romeo and Juliet Movies: Classics and Adaptations.

romeo and juliet movies
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For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Romeo and Juliet.

This history of two young lovers with a sad ending is still relevant today. Romeo of the Montague family falls in love with Juliet Capulet.

But here’s the bad luck – between their noble Veronese families, there is a terrible hostility, which means they cannot be together. As a result, we will have a sad end with the death of two lovers.

Today I decided to collect the best Romeo and Juliet movies: classics and adaptations, each of which is good.

romeo and juliet movies
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How many Romeo and Juliet movies are there?

“Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare was published in 1596.

The first movie was filmed in France in 1900. In total, the tragedy was shot more than 50 times. So, a more significant number of “Romeo and Juliet” filmed:

• Great Britain – 10 times;

• USA – 10

• Italy – 6 

• France – 4 

• Other countries – Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, India, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Uzbekistan, Russia, Philippines, Croatia, Sweden, and Japan.

My favorite Romeo and Juliet movies.

Romeo and Juliet (1936)

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IMDb 6.5

This drama by George Cukor is the first sound adaptation of the immortal story.

The picture’s plot is simple, told in the best Shakespearean traditions. Starring Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer. 

The heroes’ costumes turned out incredibly well, and Juliet’s hats after the picture’s release generally became fashionable.

Interestingly, the actors were two times older than their characters, but this did not stop them from getting used to the role.

To make Romeo and Juliet look more organic, the director intentionally aged the characters of the second plan. So Romeo Mercutio’s friend was played by 54-year-old John Barrymore.

The film was appreciated and nominated for four Oscars.

Romeo and Juliet (1968)

IMDb 7.6

Undoubtedly, Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 adaptation was recognized as the best film.

The film won 2 Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Costumes. Plus three Golden Globes, the Italian National Film Award, and a BAFTA award.

The director kept the original text as much as possible, except for some monologues. It allows the viewer to plunge into the book version of the play.

The leading roles were played by 16-year-old Olivia Hussey and 17-year-old Leonard Whiting. They became the first performers whose age was very close to the age of Romeo and Juliet.

By the way, not many people know that the actors started a real romance during the filming.

Separately, I want to note that the film’s composer is Nino Rota. I mentioned his soundtrack for this movie in 18 Catchy Movie Songs.

The music matches the surroundings, and the film is watched in one breath.

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By the way, when the film was released, viewers and critics were amazed by both the young age of the actors and a large number of explicit scenes in the film. 

It’s a little bit funny that Olivia Hussey, the lead actress, was not allowed to attend the film’s premiere in London because the actress was then under 18 years old, which did not give her the right to see herself topless on the screen!

This picture reminds me of another film with young actors – The Blue Lagoon, 1980.

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

IMDb 6.7

Speaking of Shakespeare’s film adaptation, one cannot forget about this creation, owned by Baz Luhrmann. The picture is good not only for its main character, played by DiCaprio but also for its exciting interpretation.

Luhrmann took the bold step of bringing the timeless love story into modern times. Swords were replaced by pistols; light dresses, jeans, and T-shirts replaced historical costumes. 

Verona has become a vast metropolis, and the Montagues and the Capulets have become mafia clans. Times change, but love stays forever.

In my opinion, Romeo + Juliet became wildly popular worldwide because Leonardo DiCaprio played the role of Romeo. He conquered everything with a combination of masculinity and poetry, intelligence and temperament, and unconditional acting gift, and excellent acting skills.

In addition to the well-known protagonist in Baz Daurmann’s film, there are many more references to the history of the play. 

For example, the name of the club in which Romeo and Benvolio play billiards at the beginning of the film is Globe Theatre: that was the name of William Shakespeare’s theater.

Many such mysteries are scattered around the film, allowing even Shakespeare lovers to become fans of the tape.

Romeo & Juliet (2013)

IMDb 5.7

The director Carlo Carlei decided to repeat the success of Franco Zeffirelli, inviting very young actors to play the main roles, Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet and Douglas Booth as Romeo. But alas, it didn’t work out.

Interestingly, the film was filmed in the same places where the action takes place according to Shakespeare’s text – on location and in real historical castles of Verona and Mantua in Italy. And scenes in palaces are beautiful!

The music for the new “Romeo and Juliet” was written by James Roy Horner, the author of the soundtracks for the films “Titanic” and “Avatar.”

The picture received mixed reviews and did not win a single award, although most viewers liked it. Personally, I love Romeo and Juliet in this film.

Movies based on Romeo and Juliet story.

West Side Story (1961)

IMDb 7.6 

Feature film by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins based on the Broadway musical.

This time, the story of Romeo and Juliet was moved to New York City in the 20th century, when gangs of Jet and Shark were rampant on the streets. Juliet became Mary, a girl from the Puerto Rican community in New York, and Romeo became Tony, a member of the group of “white” Italians.

Tony and Maria fall in love but cannot be together because of the gangs’ hatred. So instead, their love develops with background from Shakespeare’s poetry that are still heard on the radio.

In the finale, only one hero dies, and who is the intrigue.

The film was simply enchanting, as evidenced by 10 Oscar awards.

The Notebook (2004)

IMDb 7.8

It is a melodrama based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks in the best traditions of Romeo and Juliet. Director is Nick Cassavetes.

A touching love story read by an older man from the notebook of a woman in a nursing home. Noah and Ellie are young people from different social backgrounds who spent an unforgettable summer together.

First, they were separated by their parents, then during the Second World War. But, unlike in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Ellie and Noah were still able to be together, grow old, and die on the same day.

Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)

IMDb 5.9

It is a superb animated interpretation of the tragedy by William Shakespeare, which tells about the confrontation between the families of garden gnomes.

Events unfold in the city of Stratford-upon-Avon between Mr. Capulet and Mrs. Montague. Both being passionate gardeners, their yards are decorated with numerous figurines of plaster gnomes. But as soon as the owners leave the house, the figures come to life and start hostility.

Fortunately, the cartoon ends happily, and Gnomeo and Juliet can be together.

Tres metros sobre el cielo (2010)

IMDb 6.8

Three meters above the sky is another attempt to breathe life into common truths. Director is Fernando Gonzalez Molina, starring Mario Casas and Maria Valverde.

Hache and Babi, two young persons from different families with opposite ideologies, worldviews, and temperaments, fall head over heels in love with each other. 

The film flashed before my eyes, like one moment in which a whole story of feelings, passions, and sincere experiences was told.

I already mentioned this picture in my blog post about sad romance movies.

And despite the hackneyed plot, the creators made something that ultimately played on the soul’s strings. Perhaps this was achieved thanks to modern pictures of our existence, teenage maximalism, and the characters’ naivety.

Definitely, the actors managed to recreate the naturalness of the experienced emotions familiar to each of us from those times.

No one dies at the end, which makes this film even more accurate.

The film Three meters above the sky was filmed in 3 episodes.

China Girl (1987)

IMDb 6.2

The Chinese woman is another exciting interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. In this case, national contradictions become a stumbling block.

The love between teenagers of different nationalities became the spark that ignited the flames of war on the hot and stuffy New York streets. A young Italian, Tony, meets a Chinese woman, Tian, at a local dance club.

Neither the Tony nor the Tian family approves of this friendship – the two national communities of New York, living in the neighboring Little Italy and Chinatown, are afraid and do not trust each other. 

But despite everything, the love between Tony and Tian grows stronger.

And then, the leaders of the two warring gangs declare war on each other, in a world where old prejudices reign, there is no place for love.

Private Romeo (2011)

IMDb 5.9

Romeo and Juliet have never been more provocative than in this story.

The events of Shakespeare’s play are transferred from ancient Verona to the modern university campus at the military academy. Instead of Romeo and Juliet, there are two military academy cadets – Josh and Glenn. But believe me, the story has not become less deep and alive because of this.

Through source dialogue and tender love relationships combined with a few unexpected plot twists, they challenge conventional wisdom about masculinity, homosexuality, and the military.

Particularly striking in this film is the performance of Matt Doyle (cadet Glenn, Juliet). Those big eyes, trembling in a timid voice, interrupted by a sad smile and a soulful song in the finale.

You look at it not as a parody, but, pushing the boundaries of consciousness, you see only a trembling soul, full of hope and ready to destroy itself for the sake of love.

For all the ambiguity of the idea, the film does not leave the slightest hint of cheap farce. Even female images are devoid of mannerisms, which is expected since cadets remain cadets. These boys still want to graduate with honors from the academy and enlist in the military.

I’m pleased with the ending of this drama.

Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela (2013)

IMDb 6.4

Another love story between sworn enemies created in Bollywood by director Sanjay Leela Bhansali

In a small Indian town, two clans have been fighting for several hundred years: Sanera and Rajadi.

Their confrontation is a real war in which there is no limit to mutual hatred, and not a single murder can remain unavenged.

Once, at a party, our Indian Romeo and Juliet meet, and mutual feelings flare up between the young people.

What will this relationship’s fate be because their families are sworn, enemies?

Ram and Leela is set in a land of weapons and retribution, accompanied by a piece of magnificent background music.

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Did you read Romeo and Juliet? Did you watch any movies from my list? Let me know in the comments.

Share this blog post if you enjoyed it. I would appreciate it! 

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  • Reply
    July 29, 2022 at 4:56 pm

    Wow I did not know that there were so many adaptations of the movie.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2022 at 3:22 am

    I didn’t know there were so many adaptations of this beautiful story. I have to see the Bollywood version! thank you for the list, I’m saving it for those lazy winter weekends

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