HOPE & DESPAIR. TRAGEDY & LOVE. ROMEO & JULIET.
After the success of Strictly Ballroom (1992), Baz Luhrmann updated this Shakespeare classic in a way the previous film adaptations hadn’t. Its youthful vitality was incredibly appealing to younger audiences and the film became a surefire tool for teachers who wanted to introduce their students to the enduring power of the Bard. The original text is richly represented in the dialogue, in spite of the modern gangland setting. This is where the director perfected his operatic, brightly colored, intensely emotional style – love it or hate it. The two young leads are brilliantly cast.
1996-U.S. 120 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Baz Luhrmann. Screenplay: Craig Pearce, Baz Luhrmann. Play: William Shakespeare. Cinematography: Donald M. McAlpine. Music: Marius De Vries, Nellee Hopper, Craig Armstrong. Production Design: Catherine Martin. Cast: Claire Danes (Juliet), Leonardo DiCaprio (Romeo), Brian Dennehy (Ted Montague), John Leguizamo, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Sorvino… Miriam Margolyes, Paul Rudd.
Trivia: Alternative title: William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Co-produced by Luhrmann. Natalie Portman and Sarah Michelle Gellar were offered the part of Juliet.
BAFTA: Best Director, Adapted Screenplay, Film Music, Production Design. Berlin: Best Actor (DiCaprio).