Romeo & Juliet


In class we read an extract from  ACT, scene V,  when Romeo first sees Juliet at the Capulet’s great ball and it’s love at first sight.

The first video is from Zeffirelli’s movie (1968) starring Leonard Whiting as Romeo and Olivia Hussey as Juliet. It was very successful because of its humour and sensuality. It was filmed in Tuscany and for the first time the two teenagers were played by young actors Juliet and 17 Romeo), close in their age to Shakespeare’s characters. It won Oscars for costume design and cinematography.

The next video is  the famous Balcony scene.

And now you can watch the trailer of BAZ LUHRMANN’S (1996) version starring Claire Danes and Leonardo Di Caprio.  The Australian director made a very unconventional version mingling advertisements and video-clips in a Californian metropolitan setting (Verona beach) and thus creating a surreal but contemporary atmosphere.


  • Which actor and actress are closer to your idea of Romeo and Juliet?
  • Which version of the play did you enjoy most and why?


Last, just for fun, I’ve also found an animation version of the balcony scene… useful to revise the text!!

Before saying goodbye there’s also a funny website 60 SECONDS RECAP  with 60 second summaries of the plot, themes, characters. Have a look: don’t worry if you find the speed of talk pretty fast :). Always keep in mind that Shakespeare’s plays have been subject to several changes through the years, as you can see in this website, Shakespeare Subject to change  (needs Flash Player)

Last but not least An Interactive Folio of the Play vita so much to see, even video interviews! And here you’ll find the 13 words You didn’t know were invented by the Bard 🙂

In order to study & revise you cannot miss this website by BBC: 60 Second Shakespeare. Check it out!

To end the post in a funny way PLAY an Interactive TUDOR FASHION GAME  and see if you can dress the Victorian and Tudor gentlemen correctly.


11 thoughts on “Romeo & Juliet

  1. Hi guys!
    So, reading your comments I found enough points in common with my idea of Romeo and Juliet.
    In my opinion, Olivia Hussey remind me better the idea of Shakespeare’s Juliet. As a matter of fact she is more prudish than the second, Claire Danes. Above all, if one considers that Juliet was only sixteen and as well as a sixteen girl (at Shakespeare’s time), should have not experience with guys, seeing Claire, certainly a beautiful girl, I thought Romeo is not her first lover.
    Regarding Romeo, I fell in love with Leonardo Di Caprio! The choice of director was perfect. He gets closer to my idea of Romeo, a charming and self-assured (meaning of what he want, that is Juliet) boy! Even if the use of an ancient language could appear difficult he found the right way to express it. Also your face is persuasive and expressive.
    I’ve never seen any of these whole movies, so I hope to see them in the future! For this reason I’m not sure which play is the best! However I appreciated the choice of represent Verona in a new, modern key!

    See you soon,
    Bye bye 🙂

  2. Hi everybody 🙂
    First of all, I always imagine Romeo as a gentleman, romantic and a pretty boy whereas Juliet as a intelligent woman, young and very beautiful.
    For this reason the two actors Leonardo Whiting and Olivia Hussey are closer to my ideal Romeo and Juliet.
    The setting and their clothes are more suitable with regard to that specific historical period. The register is very formal and elegant.
    The actors embody well both characters. Infact they are young and the woman is younger than him.
    The balcony scene has struck me. Since I even read the book, I imagine this scene just like that. For example in the darkness the only light that you can notice is Juliet. They both are obliged to speak softly because they don’t have to be heard by Juliet’s parents.
    In spite of this my favourite version is in Baz Luhrmann’s one. Romeo is played by a handsome young man. I like the idea that it is set in a modern city. Even if the original story of Romeo and Juliet is best represented in Zefirelli’s movie, the modern version makes us understand better all the plot because it is set nowadays. The comparison between the two movies underlines the difference between the two periods of time in the way people lived a relationship.
    See you tomorrow
    Bye 🙂

  3. Hi at y’all,
    thinking about all the extracts on Romeo and Juliet we have read until now, I have always imagined the two main characters in a way a bit ancient, I mean, not certainly the way Luhrmann have shot the movie. I think that he has made the worst choice to transform a romantic and beautiful literary work like this one in an action film. It’s too updated and violent.
    My idea of the two lovers is closest to the first one, Zeffirelli version, because, as I’ve just said, I believe that Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey fit perfectly with the real Romeo and Juliet, instead of the second one. Also for the fact that the two actors were both very young, exactly as the real lovers. I believe that Leonard is perfect: romantic but also frightened. I see in his eyes the light and his love for Juliet. They have also the main eyes’ color and in my opinion this is not accidental choice: I think their eyes express exactly the way they feel and their love for each other. I also think that Olivia has performed in a good way Juliet: he was instinctive and I could see in her eyes, only from their first encounter, her passion to her man.
    To sum up my opinion is that Zeffirelli have shot his movie in the brightest way, considering the characters, the setting (perfect!), also the music, exactly right and I really liked the brilliant idea of using in the movie the same words used by Shakespeare in his work.

    See you tomorrow

  4. Hello guys!
    When we read in class “The ball” I immediately thought of romance par excellence, so much that Romeo and Juliet are an example of true love! 🙂
    I like movies that are “actualized”. In addition, the couple formed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes are, for me, the closest representation of my imagination. I believe that, as Bruno said, Luhrmann’s Julieet is more confident than Zeffirelli.
    I also think that today’s youth are more able to empathize with Luhrmann’s version because of the set (Verona Beach ;)), the costumes that are more modern!

    See u tomorrow

    Bye guys 🙂

    • Ho everybody ! 🙂
      In my opinion Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey are closer to my idea of Romeo and Juliet because, in the film by Zefirelli, the love between the two lovers is represented in a romantic way like I imagined, moreover they are two young actors, as young as the characters in the poem. I like the Zafirelli film because in my opinion it represents best this love story.

  5. Heya!
    I as well choose Clare Danes to fit my idea of Juliet, in my opinion she expresses more the character described by Shakespeare, as she behaves in a pretty much confident way while talking with Romeo, and instead of trying to act it shy, she plays along with the Montague’s guy, thing that makes her definitely look more unconventional than Zeffirelli’s Juliet.
    About Romeo I’m not that sure of whom to choose, since I found both of the actors, Leonard Whiting and DiCaprio, pretty good…the first reflects more the idea of a man who should embody the code of courtly love, but them both do look like they’re madly in love with their Juliet…
    In conclusion, I think that, to me, DiCaprio gets closer to my idea of Romeo, ‘cause his expressions and his his way of acting perfectly correspond to the scenes that were going on in my mind while I was reading!
    For the best version I guess I’ll choose the first one, by Zeffirelli. Not that I don’t like the idea of setting the movie in a more contemporary world, but I think the way Luhrmann did it was a little bit exaggerated. Instead I appreciated the choice of setting the whole thing in Tuscany. Its landscapes are not exactly the same as in Verona, but they surely are similar 🙂

  6. Hi everybody,
    Honestly I don’t like one of this character more than the others. I think that all the actors are great: they are very good to show the feelings of the character that they interpret and I also have to say that every single director has chosen the right man and woman to impersonate Romeo and Juliet in the various film. However if I have to choose one couple of actor I’ll choose Di Caprio and Claire Daines because I know them more than the others.
    I like the love story of Romeo and Juliet but sincerely I don’t know if I would like to watch a romantic film that speaks about this two lovers. So I really like the idea of the director Baz Luhrmann that decided to modernize this event and to convert it into an action film.
    I find this decision brilliant, I think that doing this way he could attract more people, he could make the people appreciate this innovative way to tell this story. Moreover I have to say that he has chosen the perfect location to set his film: a beautiful and big city near the sea that could make you dream to be here. A lot of people think that the location of a film is not really significant: in my opinion is one of the most important thing! I want to know how many people would watch an action film which is set in Sedrano!
    See you tomorrow
    bye 🙂

  7. Hi!
    Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes are very close to my idea of ​​Romeo and Juliet. Just as Elena said, Juliet in this movie seems to a carefree girl, but remains down-to-earth, and seems confident and determined about what she desires..instead the older movie gave me the impression of a Juliet completely lost in his own world, which seems to listen to the words of Romeo just to please him … she doesn’t really seem interested in the sweet words of her loved. The Juliet of Baz Luhrmann’s film seems much more believable and attracted to Romeo.
    But instead Leonard Whiting seems more suited to the role of Romeo rather than Leonardo DiCaprio, because his appearance of a very young boy reflects his nature as a young man too reckless, but at the same time determined, in love and sweet (just as it should be), while Leonardo DiCaprio seems to have a more mature behavior that does not befit a young man of his age.
    ( I am ready to accept the insults from the fans of Leonardo DiCaprio 😉 )
    Though I consider the most recent version better, I’d rather see the movie of Zefirelli because I can not imagine the story of Romeo and Juliet, which has been an inspiration to millions of people in the past, set the present day.
    Maybe because I’m a traditionalist, but their story will have a greater impact on the public if it is set in the period in which Shakespeare wrote. I can not accept other versions, that is the one that is closest to the script and what I believe can best convey all the emotions that arise.

    see you tomorrow!

  8. Hi mates!
    While reading “The Ball” scene in class, I imagined a romantic, resourceful and beautiful Romeo and a brave, smart and charming Juliet. So, Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes are the actors that are closer to that idea; Leonardo is really attractive and enigmatic but simple and really romantic and Claire is so elegant, brave and determined.
    The version I liked most is the one by Luhrmann; I found brilliant the choice of reconsidering the famous poem by Shakespeare in a modern tone and I really appreciated the setting, not in the 16th century Verona but in the contemporary Verona Beach. The unconventional choice made by the Australian director of maintaining the original dialogues in my opinion is spot-on and I couldn’t agree more with Elena in saying that the movie makes people understand that the story of the two young lovers will never go out of style.
    Nevertheless I loved the costume design and the setting of the Zeffirelli’s version, very truthful.
    See you tomorrow! 🙂

  9. Hi everyone! 🙂

    Clare Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio are closer to my idea of Romeo and Juliet because, as we said in class, Juliet is a brave and unconventional girl and I think that this important characteristic is more evident in Danes’s Juliet than in the Juliet of the movie by Zefirelli. In fact, Olivia Hussey’s Juliet gave me the idea of a dreamy girl and it was not a characteristic of the Juliet that I imagined.
    Leonardo DiCaprio is a Romeo closer to the one I imagined, sweet but also very determined. What made me understand that he was the Romeo I imagined is the expression on his face when he sees Juliet for the first time; there’s a mix between amazement and happiness on his face, and it’s what I imagined while I was reading the ball scene from the book.

    I enjoyed Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet the most, because I really liked the idea of using modern settings, this makes you understand that the story of Romeo and Juliet and their conception of love never get old, they’re always relevant.
    I’ve also loved the idea of using in the movie the same words used by Shakespeare in the drama, even if the setting is a more modern one. Honestly this puzzled me a bit at the beginning, but then I found it a great choice!:)

    PS: I loved the animation of the balcony scene! 🙂

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