Part of The Loft's month-long series, Much Ado About Shakespeare: A 450th Birthday Celebration!
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“Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet is the most exciting film of Shakespeare ever made … it has the passion, the sweat, the violence, the poetry, the love and the tragedy in the most immediate terms I can imagine. It is a deeply moving piece of entertainment, and that is possibly what Shakespeare would have preferred.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Italian filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli’s blockbuster adaptation of Romeo & Juliet brought Shakespeare’s enduring classic of star-crossed young lovers to a whole new generation and energized audiences with its then-unusual casting of teen actors in the title roles. Two families of Verona, the Montagues and the Capulets, have been feuding with each other for years. Young Romeo Montague (17 year-old Leonard Whiting in his film debut) goes out with his friends to make trouble at a party the Capulets are hosting, but while there he spies the Capulet's daughter Juliet (15 year-old Olivia Hussey, winner of the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer), and falls hopelessly in love with her. She returns his affections, but they both know that their families will never allow them to follow their hearts. Also starring Michael York, Miles O’Shea and John McEnery. Beautifully shot on location in Italy, and nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director (and winning for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design), Zeffirelli’s Romeo & Juliet is a sumptuous Renaissance feast (featuring an iconic score by composer Nino Rota) burning with all the passion of Shakespeare’s most swooningly tragic love story. (Dir. by Franco Zeffirelli, 1968, UK/Italy, 139 mins., Rated PG) Digital