Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Romeo and Juliet (1968, Franco Zeffirelli)

TitleRomeo and Juliet
DirectorFranco Zeffirelli
MediumColor video
Length2 hrs, 19 mins
Audiencecollege and university
general public
high school
Play ConnectionsRomeo and Juliet (interpretation)


Emulating Renato Castellani, who had previously in 1960 filmed Romeo and Juliet on location in an Italian hill city, Franco Zeffirelli, veteran stage and opera director, combined the neo-realism of Italian cinema with the unabashed sentimentality of a Puccini opera in making this enormously popular adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedies of young lovers. Moreover he filtered the action through the lens of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story to make the experience totally palatable to the rebellious youth of the late Sixties. What he sacrificed in Shakespeare's language (and perhaps half or more of the text disappeared), he attempted to compensate for with a colorful and visually appealing panorama of life in a northern Italian city. Zeffirelli had previously accomplished much the same results with his filmed 1966 Taming of the Shrew (598) starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Moreover he also brought to the venture considerable experience as a director of staged Shakespeare for the RSC and other companies. Hundreds of aspirants were auditioned before lucky, then 14-year-old, Olivia Hussey snapped up the prized role as Juliet

Description from Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. ©1990 Kenneth S. Rothwell. Cited by permission. — Added 2008-11-14

Cast Overview

RomeoLeonard Whiting
JulietOlivia Hussey
PrinceRobert Stephens
ParisRoberto Bisacco
MontagueAntonio Pierfederici
Lady MontagueEsmeralda Ruspoli
Lord CapuletPaul Hardwick
Lady CapuletNatasha Parry
NursePat Heywood
MercutioJohn McEnery
BenvolioBruce Robinson
TybaltMichael York
Friar LaurenceMilo O'Shea
CastRoberto Antonelli
CastRay Holder
CastDyson Lovell
Voiceover ChorusLaurence Olivier
CastCarlo Palmucci
CastKeith Skinner
CastRichard Warwick

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorFranco Zeffirelli
ProducerJohn Brabourne
Assistant ProducerRichard Goodwin
ProducerAnthony Havelock-Allan
Dubbing EditorMichael Hopkins
EditorReginald Mills
ComposerNino Rota
ChoreographyAlberto Testa
Fight CoordinatorNicolo Perino
Adaptor/TranslatorFranco Brusati
Adaptor/TranslatorMasolino D'Amico
Adaptor/TranslatorFranco Zeffirelli
CostumesDanilo Donato
Sound MixerSash Fisher
Production SupervisorGiuseppe Bordogni
ProductionEmilio Carcano
ProductionRenzo Mongiardino
ProductionLuciano Puccini
SetChristine Edzard

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell