Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Romeo and Juliet (1978, Alvin Rakoff)

TitleRomeo and Juliet
Release LocationsGB
DirectorAlvin Rakoff
MediumColor video
Length2 hrs, 50 mins
Audiencecollege and university
general public
Play ConnectionsRomeo and Juliet (teleplay)
SeriesThe Shakespeare Plays


Shakespearean actors and directors have always had to compete with fabled past performances. David Garrick may have been thinking about James Burbage and Edwin Booth may have been looking over his shoulder at David Garrick. But before the age of mechanical reproduction, past performances remained just that—"fabled" and shadowy. Nowadays film and theatre people work not in the shadow but in the presence of past glories. To produce a Romeo and Juliet following the appearance of Franco Zeffirelli's masterpiece is like being asked to sculpture a second "David" after Michelangelo. Nevertheless Director Alvin Rakoff, daring to cast youthful Rebecca Saire as Juliet and working with a small budget, managed to create a tragedy of Verona with its own kind of integrity. Charles Lower's thoughtful review, which follows, generally supports that belief (KSR)

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

RomeoPatrick Ryecart
JulietRebecca Saire
EscalusLaurence Naismith
ParisChristopher Northey
MontagueJohn Paul
Lady MontagueZulema Dene
Lady CapuletJacqueline Hill
CapuletMichael Hordern
Old CapuletEsmond Knight
NurseCelia Johnson
MercutioAnthony Andrews
BenvolioChristopher Strauli
TybaltAlan Rickman
FriarJoseph O'Conor
Friar JohnJohn Savident
BalthasarRoger Davidson
AbrahamBunny Reed
SampsonDavid Sibley
GregoryJack Carr
PeterPaul Henry
ApothecaryVernon Dobtcheff
ChorusJohn Gielgud
MusicianDanny Schiller
First CitizenAlan Bowerman
PagesRobert Burbage
Second WatchJeffrey Chiswick
First WatchJeremy Young
CastMark Arden
PotpanGary Taylor

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorAlvin Rakoff
ProducerCedric Messina
Literary AdviserJohn Wilders
ComposerDavid Lloyd-Jones
ComposerJames Tyler
ChoreographyGeraldine Stephenson
Fight CoordinatorWilliam Hobbs
Adaptor/TranslatorAlan Shallcross
MakeupDawn Alcock
CostumesOdette Barrow
LightingJohn Treays
SoundColin Dixon
Production AssistantCarol Robertson
ProductionStuart Walker

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell