Romeo and Juliet, a tragic story written by William Shakespeare about two lovers from feuding families is easily the most famous love story ever written. The main plot of Romeo and Juliet was inspired by the Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet (1562), a long narrative poem by the English poet Arthur Brooke, who had based his poem on a French translation of a tale by the Italian Matteo Bandello. It was around 1596 when the remarkable love story was first performed, later adapted as a ballet, a soap opera, a musical and a dozen films.
Romeo and Juliet belong to two enemy clans, the Montagues and the Capulets, who fall in love instantly after meeting at a masked ball of the Capulets. They secretly have to get married by Friar Laurence because of the animosity between the two families. A series of unfortunate events lead them to commit suicide in despair bringing the Montagues and the Capulets’ ages-long rivalry to an end.
List of Best Romeo and Juliet Movies to watch
We bring you the best movie adaptions of the greatest love story ever told- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Here is the list of top Romeo and Juliet Movies:
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Although set in the modern-day city of Verona Beach, it is the classic story of Romeo and Juliet, members of two enemy clans, falling in love with one another and heading towards a catastrophic end. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo and Claire Danes as Juliet, this modern adaption of Romeo and Juliet uses guns to fight and not swords. Elements of fashion play a role in setting a clear distinction between the original and contemporary adaption. Baz Luhrmann’s direction portrays the Montagues in an equable look, with their swelled button-downs and spiked hair whereas the Capulets had a more rugged look with gun holsters and leather pants.
The hit movie also stars John Leguizamo as Tybalt, Harold Perrineau as Mercutio and Paul Rudd as Dave Paris.
The 1996 adaption was nominated for an Oscar under the Best Art Direction-Set Decoration category and won several awards including four BAFTA awards.
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
The brilliant tale of vicious rivalries and young love, this 1968 adaption portrays the tragedy-stricken drama of two beloved, Romeo and Juliet and the dreadful fate that follows them till the end. The role of Romeo and Juliet was personated beautifully by Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey respectively under the direction of Franco Zeffirelli.
The 1968 movie won 2 Oscar awards for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design along with a BAFTA award for Best Costume Design.
Romeo and Juliet (1936)
The classic 1936 adaption of Romeo and Juliet is a thorough edition of Shakespeare’s work. The characters of “star-crossed lovers” were played by Leslie Howard as Romeo and Norma Shearer as Juliet. Shakespeare’s storyline of the ill-fated end of two lovers was bought to life beautifully with this movie under the direction of George Cukor, who also directed Oscar-winning My Fair Lady and, The Philadelphia Story.
The film stars John Barrymore as Mercutio, Ralph Forbes as Paris and Henry Kolker as Friar Laurence.
The film bagged four Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Art Direction award.
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Romeo & Juliet (2013)
The hatred between the Montagues and the Capulets is as bad as it gets when Romeo, a Montague falls in love with the daughter of Capulets, Juliet. When love is forbidden, how is it they can resist?
The 2013 Romeo & Juliet stars Douglas Booth and Starving singer, Hailee Steinfield as Romeo and Juliet respectively. Ed Westwick plays the role of Tybalt and Christian Cooke, Mercutio.
Shakespeare In Love (1998)
William Shakespeare is eager when writer’s block comes marching in his face, desperately searching for a muse when he encounters the beautiful Viola De Lesseps in one of his plays. The two form an unlikely romance which is bound to end in shambles as William is already married and Viola has been promised to the dour Lord Wessex. The John Madden direction stars Joseph Fiennes as William Shakespeare and Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola De Lesseps.
Shakespeare In Love also bagged 7 Oscar awards for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Ro9le, Best Actress in a Supporting Role etc. along with 4 BAFTA wins for Best Film, Best Editing and more. The film in total won 65 wins and 87 nominations.
West Side Story (1961)
A love story bound to end amidst the brutal rivalry of two New York City Gangs- the white Jets led by Riff and the Latino Sharks, led by Bernardo. When Riff’s best friend (and former Jet) Tony and Bernardo’s younger sister Maria fall in love, tension arises, tears are shed and blood is spilt. Constantly keeping you on your toes, this award-winning adaption stars Natalie Wood as Maria, Richard Beymer as Tony, George Chakiris as Bernardo and Russ Tamblyn as Riff.
Directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, West Side Story (1961) won whopping 10 Oscar awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematographer, Color, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, Best Sound, Best Film Editing etc.
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West Side Story (2021)
Director Steven Spielberg remade the 10-time Oscar-winning film and the musical West Side Story in 2021 with Ansel Elgort playing the role of Tony and Rachel Zegler as Maria. Reviewers have “deemed it an entertaining and socially conscious update from the 1961 film” and loving the diversity and the stellar chemistry between the leads.
The 2021 adaption won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role along with 2 BAFTA awards for Best Supporting Actress and Best Casting. The film won 70 awards and 290 nominations in total.