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William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet (1996)

Leonardo DiCaprio , Claire Danes , Baz Luhrmann  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (680 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo, Harold Perrineau, Pete Postlethwaite
  • Directors: Baz Luhrmann
  • Writers: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gabriella Martinelli, Jill Bilcock
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 25, 1999
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (680 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305364613
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,267 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
137 of 143 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars appropriate reimagining of classic text September 15, 2005
Format:DVD
I think a lot of reviews of this film have been unduly harsh. I have had a fair amount of Shakespearean exposure (I was an English major in college), and I am actually impressed with Baz Luhrmann's interpretation of the text. Some people are so blinded by the seeming erudite stuffiness of Shakespeare's work that they forget what this play is really about. `Romeo and Juliet' is a teenage melodrama! With that said, this film works well.

* To begin with, Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes come off just right as the "star-crossed lovers." They handle their lines - perhaps - a bit awkwardly, and their key scenes are overacted. But as far as I'm concerned, their somewhat `poor' performances are actually perfect. In the reality of the play - Romeo and Juliet's behavior (though arguably passionate) is less than genuine. They are young, fickle, and full of hormones, and what might seem like acts of heart-felt love and desire are actually just curious explorations of subversive behavior.

* Many have lamented that the dialogue in this film (essentially) mirrors the original text ... but changing the text (in any major way) would be a huge mistake. Shakespeare's plays are not famous because they have a great story line - they are famous because of the unbelievable writing. It would, therefore, be pointless to modernize the dialogue. Shakespeare's plays ARE the dialogue.

* Although this film - compared with other renditions of the play - is decidedly modern, certain elements do contribute to a sort of timely ambiguity. The cars, guns, drugs, and music suggest 1996 (or thereabouts), whereas the gothic mansions, the ball, the feuding families, and the oppressive presence of the Church seem somewhat anachronistic.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This review is STRICTLY for the SPECIAL EDITION DVD of the film. To me it's already a given as to what a masterpiece Baz Luhrmann has put to the screen.
The special edition gives you all the treats you need. I'm not talking about still pages of text to read! I'm talking RAW footage of DiCaprio & Danes practicing their lines, many, many production scenes that leave your mouth open like, "oh, my gosh, I had no idea they had to go through all of that trouble just to shoot that brief scene"-kind of stuff, and best of all, an early treatment (pitch) for the film that was shot in Australia w/ DiCaprio in some alley ways. Rather lengthy, not just a mini-clip, Amazing! Insightful interviews of Baz Luhrmann; why do Shakespeare, how difficult it was to sell the idea to Hollywood, why he made the movie in the style that it is, etc.). If you have the original DVD & are debating, go for it!
The only disappointing thing was the production value of Claire Danes' interview... DiCaprio's interview is well produced & lit on a candle-filled set, then Claire Danes is terribly keyed (matted) over a few still images (her hair buzzing & breaking through the digital distortion). The menus are nicely done, not animated over-kill. This is an anamorphic for those who have the 16:9 TVs.
I haven't even listened to much of the commentary yet, but it sounds very informative & interesting so far. Perhaps the most important thing for those who did not like the film or were unsure, is Luhrmann's explanation of why Shakespeare should have been handled the film the way he did (the intense, in-your-face MTV-like editing / modern settings, etc)... truly both men are very visionary & talented.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
William Shakespeare's classic `Romeo + Juliet' is probably one of the most influential pieces of literature ever recorded. You can feel its presence and influence breathing life into just about everything we read, watch or listen to these days. With a tale this classic, this important to modern cinema it becomes something a bit wary to tackle it at its core and `remake' it from scratch. One may be a tad hesitant to embrace its new shape and form and rightfully so. When you look at the track record for remakes it becomes apparent that in general what was once golden should be left well enough alone. In Romeo + Juliet's case though this is a reimagining so magical it surpasses the original and becomes a momentous piece in the history books of cinema. Yes, Baz Luhrmann single handedly breathes a whole new life into this adaptation, handing to his audience a masterful and experimental film that never lets us out of its grasp.

The first thing that Luhrmann did right was stick to the original text. A lot of people initially balked at the fact that the dialog was not updated along with the setting but I felt that artistically it was a much grander feat to have the original dialog kept intact. The fact that each and every actor slips into this way of speaking fluently and without issue is an ode to some great talent indeed. No one seems out of place of phoning it. Each and every actor handles the difficult wording marvelously. The next thing Luhrmann did right was trashing his setting. What I mean by this is that he didn't go the easy route and make this posh and beautiful but rather he played everything down, creating an almost gritty and dirty feeling to the surroundings. This is the future and the future is bleak.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Too hard to hear the dialog
The adaptation is ok. But, frankly, it was hard to actually hear most of the dialog because of all the noise associated with cars, explosions, guns, etc.,
Published 2 hours ago by Reme Pullicar
3.0 out of 5 stars Different
I watched this with my son for his English assignment. I like the modern setting with the original language. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Mary Duncan
5.0 out of 5 stars OH MY GOD
This version of the movie is fantastic. It can get a little cheesy at points, but a lot of parts have modern takes on dramas in the show, making it easier to understand. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Abi
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
This movie is a wonderful new take on Romeo and Juliet. Our 14 year old son thinks its awesome. The actors speak in the original language of Shakespear but it's set in modern day... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Kerrie Henegar
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
Love this movie and the extras! So interesting and gave me new insight into the mood set by the music and all that goes into making a movie.
Published 17 days ago by Jaime Koran
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product at a great price
I found this to be a really great product. I would definitely recommend it to others, a very happy purchase.
Published 18 days ago by Elizabeth
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this movie!
This is a wonderful version of Shakespeare's play. The dialogue has been trimmed which is something to get used to if you're familiar with the play. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Heather Westman-Dever
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch it!
Cut and pressed! Spectacular movie footage. I prefer this old style of film direction, even with its distance from perfection.
Published 19 days ago by Matthew Juan Moreno
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it forever and ever
I don't care what this world thinks. They can continue to try and make Romeo & Juliet movies, heck they could make 1 every year from now to the next 100 years and NONE of them... Read more
Published 20 days ago by AmandaWork McDonough
5.0 out of 5 stars Still amazing!!
Love this movie! I recently watched the one that just came out and it was good to but I still prefer this one over all others that I have seen!
Published 20 days ago by V. Y. Baker
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What makes it "The Music Edition"?
I found this from on a UK website.

Baz Luhrmann's contemporary retelling of the worlds most tragic love affair returns to DVD once again, this time as a "Music Edition" which focuses on the music of the film and includes an array of bonus materials produced by Bazmark Inc.,... Read more
Jan 18, 2007 by J. Smith |  See all 5 posts
Movie Reveiw
In my opinion, I feel that Luhrmann does not fail to meet Shakespeare's intentions. If Shakespeare was living today, I would think that he would most likely like the modern version of Romeo and Juliet. I do feel that Luhrmann matches Shakespeare's intention in the way that he takes the main ideas... Read more
May 6, 2013 by Suzann |  See all 2 posts
Is the director's commentary the same as the one in 2002 ?
It's a new commentary by Baz that really is just about the music. Interesting though, and I'd recommend it to any R+J fan, especially if you love the music.
Nov 15, 2007 by Elizabeth Mcnamara |  See all 2 posts
Romeo and Juliet modern Movie Be the first to reply
Which version of Romeo & Juliet is without the music throughout the... Be the first to reply
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