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{{about|the film|Peter Martins' 2007 ballet|Romeo + Juliet (ballet)|other uses|Romeo and Juliet (disambiguation)}}
Template:Infobox Film

'''''William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet''''' is an [[Academy Award]]-nominated [[1996 in film|1996]] [[United States|American]] film and the 10th on-screen adaptation of [[William Shakespeare]]'s [[Romeo and Juliet|romantic tragedy of the same name]]. It was directed by Australian [[Baz Luhrmann]] and stars [[Leonardo DiCaprio]] and [[Claire Danes]] in the eponymous roles.

The film is a modernization of Shakespeare's play , designed to appeal to a younger modern audience. The warring families (the [[Montagues]] and the [[Capulets]]) are represented as warring business empires and swords are replaced by guns. Despite the adaptation, the film retains Shakespeare's original dialogue, albeit edited down for modern cinema audiences.

== Overview ==
The plot has some changes from the original script:

* Juliet's age is never directly stated; it is, however, hinted at by several of the characters' lines in the early scenes of the film.
* Certain lines are omitted. For example, [[Juliet Capulet|Juliet]]'s [[Monologue|soliloquy]] is recycled, and she wordlessly commits suicide with [[Romeo Montague|Romeo]]'s gun.
* Certain lines are moved from their original context. For example, Mercutio's Queen Mab speech is about a fairy queen in the play; in the film, it is perceived as an [[Methylenedioxymethamphetamine|Ecstasy]]-like drug. Romeo's line "Thy drugs are quick" is moved from Act V to this scene (the meaning of "quick" in this context becomes "fast-acting" rather than "effective")
* Juliet's line "Oh God, was it Romeo's hand that shed Tybalt's blood" is changed to a prayer, instead of meaning oh my god.
* Certain events have their order altered. For example, in the death scene, Juliet's lines are moved so that she wakes as Romeo is drinking the poison, and he dies in her arms.
* Certain lines of dialogue are moved from one speaker to another. For example, in the initial scene, the lines of the [[Minor characters in Romeo and Juliet#Montague|Montague]] and [[Minor characters in Romeo and Juliet#Capulets|Capulet]] servants are swapped, until [[Tybalt]] enters the scene. Some (but very few) lines were added to the movie.
* At times whole scenes are omitted, such as Romeo's killing of [[Count Paris|Paris]], but this scene is often cut from stage productions as well.
* Romeo buys the poison from the "Apothecary" in Verona instead of in Mantua.
* Abra (originally known as "Abram" in the play) is a Capulet instead of a Montague.
* When the Montagues meet with the Capulets at the petrol/gas station, the Montagues bite their thumb instead of the Capulets.
* Gregory and Sampson are Capulet servants, yet in the beginning of the film they are introduced as the Montague Boys.
*The scene in which Romeo first sees Juliet again after the party takes place in a pool instead of on a balcony.
Much of the film's story takes place in the fictional [[Greater Los Angeles Area|Los Angeles area]]{{Fact|date=January 2009}} town or suburb called "[[Verona]] Beach", which is based on the real life [[Venice, Los Angeles, California|Venice Beach]]{{Fact|date=January 2009}} (a play on the fact that both are cities in Italy). As with the play, a brief part of the film takes place in a location known as [[Mantua]], which is depicted as a desert-like [[hinterland]].
Verona Beach is the center of a [[Competition (economics)|corporate war]] between two leaders of industry, "[[Montague]]" and "[[Capulet]]", rather than just a mere family [[feud]]. Prince Escalus is renamed "[[Prince Escalus|Captain Prince]]", and instead of being Prince of Verona, he is the Chief of the Verona Beach Police Department. His relationship to Paris (called "[[Count Paris|Dave Paris]]" in the movie) is removed from the film. Romeo and Juliet's parents are given names here too, the names in this case being Ted and Caroline Montague and Fulgencio and Gloria Capulet. Dave Paris is stated as being the Governor's son rather than a nobleman, and throughout the film he speaks in a conceited and pompous manner around Juliet and her father. He only wants to marry her for [[wealth]] and [[ego]] rather than real love.

In addition to the characters being updated, many of the props were replaced with analogous contemporary props. In place of [[sword]]s, the characters wield [[firearm|guns]] with fictional brand names like "Sword [[9 mm Luger Parabellum|9mm]]" (which was used in the beginning gas station shootout, "Dagger" (which [[Mercutio]] throws to the ground before using his fists, or "Rapier" (Which belonged to Tybalt, and Romeo uses it to shoot Tybalt); Lord Montague's "[[Longsword]]" is a South African [[MAG-7]] [[shotgun]]. Instead of chasing Tybalt on foot, Romeo and Tybalt engage in a [[car chase]]. Romeo crashes out Tybalt's car by the central fountain of the city, during which Romeo presses the barrel of Tybalt's pistol to his head and asks him to end his life. Tybalt refuses and in a resurgence of anger Romeo kills Tybalt with his own custom handgun. Although most of the fights are done with guns (and fists) instead of swords, Mercutio's death comes at the hands of Tybalt wielding a large shard of glass found on the beach. Mercutio's "[[Queen Mab]]" is an [[Methylenedioxymethamphetamine|ecstasy]]-like drug in the form of a pill that Romeo takes before attending the Capulet party. [[Friar Lawrence]] gives the letter for Romeo in Mantua to a [[mail|postal service]] called "Post Haste".

== Production ==
{{Expand-section|date=June 2008}}
Most of the film was shot in [[Mexico City]], [[Mexico]], but other parts were shot in parts of [[Miami]]. A section of the film was filmed during a real hurricane, causing the stage producers to rebuild the set. When filming the gas station scene at the start of the movie the actor Dash Mihok who played Benvolio accidentally ran out into the real traffic.

== Cast ==
* [[Leonardo DiCaprio]] as [[Romeo Montague]]
* [[Claire Danes]] as [[Juliet Capulet]]
* [[John Leguizamo]] as [[Tybalt|Tybalt Capulet]]
* [[Harold Perrineau]] as [[Mercutio]]
* [[Dash Mihok]] as [[Benvolio|Benvolio Montague]]
* [[Pete Postlethwaite]] as [[Friar Lawrence]]
* [[Miriam Margolyes]] as [[Nurse (Romeo and Juliet character)|Nurse Angelica]]
* [[Paul Rudd]] as [[Count Paris|Dave Paris]]
* [[Paul Sorvino]] as [[Lord Capulet|Fulgencio Capulet]]
* [[Diane Venora]] as [[Minor characters in Romeo and Juliet#Lady Capulet|Gloria Capulet]]
* [[Brian Dennehy]] as [[Minor characters in Romeo and Juliet#Lord Montague|Ted Montague]]
* [[Christina Pickles]] as [[Minor characters in Romeo and Juliet#Lady Montague|Caroline Montague]]
* [[Vondie Curtis-Hall]] as [[Prince Escalus|Captain Escalus Prince]]
* [[Jesse Bradford]] as [[Minor characters in Romeo and Juliet#Balthasar|Balthasar]]
* [[M. Emmet Walsh]] as [[Minor characters in Romeo and Juliet#Apothecary|Apothecary]]
* [[Zak Orth]] as [[Minor characters in Romeo and Juliet#Gregory and Sampson|Gregory]]
* [[Jamie Kennedy]] as [[Minor characters in Romeo and Juliet#Gregory and Sampson|Sampson]]
* [[Vincent Laresca]] as Abra

[[Leonardo DiCaprio]] was Luhrmann's first choice to play Romeo, while the casting of Juliet was a lengthy process. [[Natalie Portman]] was the original actress to play Juliet, and she traveled to [[Sydney]] for rehearsals. After rehearsing a few scenes, the producers began to feel that she was too young for the role; according to Portman, they felt that the footage looked like DiCaprio was "molesting" her.<ref name="nytimes_real_name">{{cite news|title=UP AND COMING: Natalie Portman; Natalie Portman (Not Her Real Name)|ur|=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9CO4E5D1036A15711COA96O1publisher= The New York Times|autor James Ryan|date=<nowiki>[[February 25]],[[1996]]}}</nowiki></ref> Eventually, Luhrmann agreed that the age difference between the two actors was too great. Filming was halted to find another actress for the part.

[[Sarah Michelle Gellar]], [[Kate Winslet]], and [[Jennifer Love Hewitt]] were the front-runners to replace Portman. Gellar couldn't take the part because of her commitments to the soap series ''[[All My Children]]''.<ref>http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117509/trivia</ref> Hewitt was then cast in the role, but during rehearsals Luhrmann began to feel that she didn't look "modern" enough. [[Reese Witherspoon]] was then offered the role, but couldn't take it because of prior commitments. [[Alicia Silverstone]] was another actress who turned down the role of Juliet <ref>http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000224/bio</ref>. [[Jodie Foster]], who worked with [[Claire Danes]] in ''[[Home for the Holidays (film)|Home for the Holidays]]'', suggested that she audition. Danes did one audition, and was hired later that day.

== Response ==
Financially, the film was very successful, grossing [[United States dollar|USD]]$147 million worldwide at the box office<ref name=mojo>{{cite web|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=romeoandjuliet.htm |title=Romeo + Juliet (1996) |accessdate=2007-10-14 |publisher=<nowiki>[[Box Office Mojo]]}}</nowiki></ref> on a USD$14.5 million budget. The film premiered [[November 1]], [[1996]] in the [[United States]] and [[Canada]] in 1,276 theaters and grossed $11.1 million its opening weekend, ranking #1 at the box office. It went on to gross $46.3 million in the [[United States]] and [[Canada]].<ref name=mojoweek>{{cite web|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=romeoandjuliet.htm |title=Romeo + Juliet (1996) - Weekend Box Office |accessdate=2007-10-14 |publisher=<nowiki>[[Box Office Mojo]]}}</nowiki></ref>

Critics gave the film generally positive reviews. According to the review aggregator [[Rotten Tomatoes]], 74% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 38 reviews.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/william_shakespeares_romeo_and_juliet/ |title=William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet - Rotten Tomatoes |accessdate=2007-10-13 |publisher=<nowiki>[[Rotten Tomatoes]]}}</nowiki></ref> [[Roger Ebert]] of the ''[[Chicago Sun-Times]]'' disliked the film, giving it 2 stars and saying, "This production was a very bad idea ... I have never seen anything remotely approaching the mess that the new punk version of Romeo & Juliet makes of Shakespeare's tragedy." Ebert wrote that [[Pete Postlethwaite]] and [[Miriam Margolyes]] were "the only actors in the film who seem completely at home" and said, "In one grand but doomed gesture, writer-director Baz Luhrmann has made a film that (a) will dismay any lover of Shakespeare, and (b) bore anyone lured into the theater by promise of gang wars, MTV-style."<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-1073352/reviews.php?critic=columns&sortby=default&page=1&rid=57350 |title=:: rogerebert.com :: Reviews :: Romeo & Juliet |accessdate=2007-10-14 |author=<nowiki>[[Roger Ebert]] |date=1996-11-01 |publisher=''[[Chicago Sun-Times]]''}}</nowiki></ref>

The film won several awards.<ref name=imdbawards>http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117509/awards Retrieved 2007-10-14</ref> At the [[Berlin International Film Festival]] in 1997, [[Leonardo DiCaprio]] won [[Berlin International Film Festival#Silver Bear|the Silver Bear Award for Best Actor]] and director [[Baz Luhrmann]] won the Alfred Bauer Award. Luhrmann was also nominated for the [[Berlin International Film Festival#Golden Bear|Golden Bear Award]] for Best Picture.<ref name=imdbawards/>

Leonardo DiCaprio won Favorite Actor and [[Claire Danes]] won Favorite Actress in a Romance at the 1997 [[Blockbuster Entertainment Awards]].<ref name=imdbawards/> At the 1997 [[MTV Movie Awards]], Danes won Best Female Performance. DiCaprio was nominated for Best Male Performance, and DiCaprio and Danes were both nominated for Best Kiss and Best On-Screen Duo.<ref name=imdbawards/> At the [[51st British Academy Film Awards|51st BAFTA Film Awards]], Baz Luhrmann won [[BAFTA Award for Best Direction|the award for Best Direction]]. Luhrmann and Craig Pearce won the [[BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay|award for Best Adapted Screenplay]]. Nellee Hooper won the [[BAFTA Award for Best Film Music|award for Best Film Music]]. And Catherine Martin won the [[BAFTA Award for Best Production Design|award for Best Production Design]]. The film was also nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and Best Sound.<ref name=imdbawards/>

At the [[69th Academy Awards]], [[Catherine Martin]] and [[Brigitte Broch]] were nominated for [[Academy Award for Best Art Direction|Best Art Direction/Set Decoration]].<ref name=imdbawards/>

== Music ==
{{see also|Romeo + Juliet (soundtrack)}}
The film made use of modern [[alternative rock]] and [[pop music]] coupled with a dramatic symphonic score by [[Nellee Hooper]], [[Craig Armstrong (composer)|Craig Armstrong]], and [[Marius De Vries]]. The film's soundtrack was also noted for featuring [[choral]] renditions of the songs "[[When Doves Cry]]" and "[[Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)]]" performed by [[Quindon Tarver]].

The [[Romeo + Juliet (soundtrack)|soundtrack album]] to the film was issued in two volumes, with the first release containing most of the songs from the film and Volume 2 containing the original score.

Although the film featured the [[Radiohead]] song "[[Exit Music (For a Film)]]" in the closing credits, the song did not appear on Volume 1; "[[Talk Show Host]]", a different Radiohead song. "Talk Show Host" featured heavily in the film overall, the entire song playing during a montage and the main riff playing at several pensive moments throughout the film.

A number of hit singles resulted from the soundtrack, including "[[Lovefool]]" by [[The Cardigans]], "[[Kissing You (Des'ree song)|Kissing You]]" by [[Des'ree]], "[[Young Hearts Run Free]]" covered by [[Kym Mazelle]], "[[Number One Crush|#1 Crush]]" by [[Garbage (band)|Garbage]] and Quindon Tarver's remixed version of "[[When Doves Cry]]". Tarver's rendition of "Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)" was later used in Luhrmann's "[[Wear Sunscreen|Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)]]" single.

Choral arrangements were performed by [[Metro Voices]].

The final scene in the film contains the final bars from Wagner's music-drama Tristan und Isolde.

The soundtrack was a popular and solid seller, and was especially successful in Luhrmann's native [[Australia]], where it was the second highest selling album in Australia in 1997, going five times platinum in sales.<ref>{{cite web
| url =
| title = Top 100 Albums 1997
| publisher = Australian Recording Industry Association
| accessdate = 2007-02-10}}</ref> A 10th anniversary release of the soundtrack with bonus tracks also eventuated.

== Further reading ==
* Lehmann, Courtney. [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0037-3222%28200122%2952%3A2%3C189%3ASSDLGF%3E2.0.CO%3B2-4 "Strictly Shakespeare? Dead Letters, Ghostly Fathers, and the Cultural Pathology of Authorship in Baz Luhrmann's 'William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet'."] Shakespeare Quarterly. 52.2 (Summer 2001) pp. 189-221.

==References==
{{reflist}}

== External links ==
* [http://www.romeoandjuliet.com/ Official website]
* {{imdb title|id=0117509|title=Romeo + Juliet}}
* {{amg title|id=1:136681|title=Romeo + Juliet}}
* {{rotten-tomatoes|id=william_shakespeares_romeo_and_juliet|title=Romeo + Juliet}}
* {{mojo title|id=romeoandjuliet|title=Romeo + Juliet}}

{{Romeo and Juliet}}
{{Baz Luhrmann}}

[[Category:1996 films]]
[[Category:1990s action films]]
[[Category:1990s drama films]]
[[Category:American drama films]]
[[Category:English-language films]]
[[Category:20th Century Fox films]]
[[Category:Estudios Churubusco films]]
[[Category:Romantic drama films]]
[[Category:Gangster films]]
[[Category:Shakespeare on film]]
[[Category:Shakespearean teen films]]
[[Category:Modern adaptations of works by William Shakespeare]]
[[Category:Teen romance films]]
[[Category:Tragedy films]]
[[Category:Films shot anamorphically]]
[[Category:Films directed by Baz Luhrmann]]

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