Romeo and Juliet Movie comparisons (1968 and 2013 Versions)

Romeo and Juliet Movie comparisons (1968 and 2013 Versions)

This is a comparison of two different versions of Romeo and Juliet films. The first is the 1968 version Romeo and Juliet which was directed and co-written by Franco Zeffirelli and starred Leonard Whiting (Romeo) and Olivia Hussey (Juliet). It was known for being the most financially successful film adaptation of a Shakespeare play during the time it was made. While the 2013 version of Romeo and Juliet which was directed by Carlo Carlei and starred Douglas Booth (Romeo) and Hailee Steinfield (Juliet). This film has led to controversy by some critics because this film only follows the plot and only uses some of Shakespeare’s traditional language.


  • Most of the prologue of the play was said by the narrator
  • The setting of Verona is just a giant castle covering a small village. Its completely different than what I imagined it to be
  • The thumbing bite insult by Sampson was used from the play and the fight scene was extremely over the top with the Capulet, Montagues, and the citizens of Verona participating so it was more like a riot than a fight
  • Some lines in the play are skipped and the lines that were said were exactly from the play
  • When Romeo is first introduced he is telling Benvolio about his love but he does not use Rosaline’s name
  • Benvolio appears more older and wiser than I imagine him to be in the play
  • Juliet looks a lot younger than I imagined in this film (even though the person playing her was 18 at the time)
  • The nurse claims she has 4 teeth yet she has all of them   
  • The Queen Mab speech was a bit strange and Mercutio was portrayed as being insane but in the play I imagine him to be a knowledgeable and sophisticated person since he is the princes kinsman
  • Romeo is first portrayed as shy but during the party he looked very creepy by hiding in the corners and behind other people just to gaze at Juliet
  • The kiss between Romeo and Juliet was quick but had more passion
  • The music in the film was very loud and unnecessary
  • The clothes were bizarre and unusual
  • The dancing in the party was weird because the guest were holding their arms up and shaking their wrists
  • Some of the scenes were skipped in the movie but most of Act 1 is there
  • When Tybalt sees Romeo at the party Capulet doesn’t want to cause a scene for unknown reasons


  • The narrator only read the first four lines of the prologue than he talks about a jousting match
  • The setting of Verona for this movie is exactly what I imagined it to be
  • The fight scene was more like the play and all characters were present but the thumb biting incident was not included
  • Romeo looks older in this film and he is a lot more confident. Also he is a sculptor
  • Benvolio looks a lot younger in this film approximately 3-5 years younger than Romeo and he looks wimpy
  • Juliet looks older and more mature and she looks exactly like I imagined her
  • The nurse still has all her teeth
  • The setting of the party looked more clean and elegant
  • The costume design for this film is alto more simple and normal
  • Benvolio tries his chance at Rosaline after Romeo falls for Juliet
  • The kiss for this movie is quite long
  • The movie is very quick and Act 1 takes about less than half hour
  • Tybalt is in love with Juliet
  • The dancing is simple and elegant and matches the scene for the party
  • Juliet and Paris dance together at the party and Romeo steps in to dance with Juliet much to Paris is liking and it never happened in the play  
  • Capulet didn’t want to cause a scene after Tybalt seen Romeo at the party ( it wasn’t explained how Tybalt saw Romeo) because he didn’t want to face severe punishment by the prince


My Opinion

If I had to pick my favourite between the two I would have to favour the 2013 version over the 1968 version for many reasons. Most people would say the 1968 version is better because it better resemble the play written by Shakespeare, but for me that’s the reason why I don’t like it. The 1968 version does tell the story of Romeo and Juliet well on paper but the movie itself has a lot of flaws. First of all the acting is bad, the music is too loud and unnecessary, the costumes look outrageous, the setting looks like a dump, and the movie is too bland and boring because it’s exactly like the play. Think about like this why you would go to a movie if you know exactly what’s going to happen at each scene. In the 2013 version there are better characters, the costumes are better, the setting looks nicer, the music is good, and the movie is exciting because there are different scenes. Also the 2013 version is more understandable for those who have haven’t read the play and more appealing for those who have. I find the 2013 version would also encourage younger children to read the play too.




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