11 Romeo & Juliet Film Adaptations

A list of 11 Romeo & Juliet movies you can watch from the safety of your home.

For many across the globe the coronavirus lockdown and quarantine, self-imposed or not, is still a reality, meaning you are still spending more time indoors than at your favourite theatre. To get you excited for English Theatre Düsseldorf's production of 'Romeo & Juliet' next Summer in the Kaiserfplaz and to help ease your theatre craving during this trying time, I have compiled a list of film adaptations suited for various ages that you can enjoy from home.

For All Kids

Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)

Gnomeo & Juliet is a 3D computer-animated fantasy romantic comedy directed by Kelly Asbury. Through a loose interpretation of Romeo & Juliet, it creatively represents the feud with a separation by a garden fence between the blue gnomes on one side and the red gnomes on the other.

James McAvoy plays Gnomeo from the blue side and Emily Blunt plays Juliet from the red side, who fall in love despite the family strife.

It scored 5.9/10 on IMDb.

Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss (2006)

This one is also definitely for the whole family. Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss is an animated adaptation that takes place in the underwater sea world. It features a fantasy about two star-crossed seals Daniel Trippett (Romeo) and Tricia Trippett (Juliet) from feuding families that fall head over heels in love with each other against all odds and prejudices. It was released in 2006.

It scored 3.6/10 on IMDb

For All Teens

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Released in 1996 Romeo + Juliet is a modernisation, though it retains the original dialogue of Shakespeare’s play. It is a romantic crime tragedy directed, co-produced, and co-written by Baz Luhrmann, co-produced by Gabriella Martinelli, and co-written by Craig Pearce.

The ill-fated couple is played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes who are the children of two rival mafia empires.

It scored 6.7/10 on IMDb

West Side Story (1961)

An oldie but a goldie, West Side Story was released in 1961 and is a musical romantic drama directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. It is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which was inspired by Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. It stars Natalie Wood (Maria) and Richard Beymer (Tony).

In West Side Story the lovers Maria and Tony belong to two rival gangs, The Jets, a white American gang and The Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang. Both cultural and racial prejudice stands in the way of love.

In 1997 the film was deemed “culturally significant” by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for the National Film Registry.

It scored 7.5/10 on IMDb

Romeo Must Die (2000)

Starring Jet Li (Han) and Aaliyah (Trish) as Romeo & Juliet, Andrzej Bartkowiak’s film is an action film that was released in 2000. Its backdrop is the duality / feud between good in a former cop seeking to avenge his brother’s death and bad in the form of the mob that murdered his brother. He of course falls for the daughter of the mobster.

It scored 6.1/10 on IMDb

Warm Bodies (2013)

Warm Bodies was written and directed by Jonathan Levine and definitely breaks the mould. It is a paranormal romantic comedy set post-zombie apocalypse, starring Nicholas Hoult as R and Teresa Palmer as Julie. Theirs is a forbidden love of lovers coming from different worlds of the dead and the living.

It scored 6.9/10 on IMDb

Rome & Jewel (2006)

Rome & Jewel is set in Los Angeles against a backdrop of inter-racial romance. Rome (Nate Parker) who is a Compton-native is the son of Reverend Q (Cleavant Derricks) who falls for Jewel (Lindsey Haun), a Beverly Hills resident and daughter of Los Angeles Mayor Capps (John Rubinstein). Their two worlds of economic class and racial difference sets their love up as taboo, however this does not stop them.

It scored 4.2/10 on IMDb

Romeo & Juliet (2013)

Written by Julian Fellowes and directed by Carlo Carlei, Romeo & Juliet was released in 2013 and stars Hailee Steinfeld (Juliet) and Douglas Booth (Romeo). This film follows the original plot of Romeo and Juliet but completely veers off the original dialogue, minus one line. This has been the primary subject of its critics, and understandably so.

It scored 5.8/10 on IMDb

Bollywood Queen (2003)

This film is a Bollywood musical that celebrates and pays homage to Indian culture and addresses the biases that exist regarding cross-cultural romance. The film is set in London’s East End and is about the love between a 19 year old girl of Indian heritage named Geena (Preeya Kalidas) and Jay (James McAvoy) a white British boy and the adversity they endure with family and the law.

It scored 4.6/10 on IMDb

David & Fatima (2008)

David and Fatima is set in the divided city of Jerusalem, where gentle Palestinian Muslim Fatima (Danielle Duvale) and idealistic Israeli Jew David (Cameron Van Hoy) fall in love. To escape their judgmental families and continue their romance, they elope and search for peace and happiness together.

The film is directed by Alain Zaloum and received the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Award for Peace and Cultural Understanding during the Napa Sonoma Wine Country Film Festival.

It scored 4.7/10 on IMDb

Private Romeo (2011)

Private Romeo by Alan Brown was made in 2011 by Hale Appleman and Charlie Barnett. This film tells a story of two male cadets Sam Singleton (Romeo) played by Seth Numrich and Glenn Mangan (Juliet) played by Matt Doyle who fall in love at a military school while reading Romeo & Juliet. The love birds find themselves and their forbidden love as the modern version of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet where their everyday lives are like a re-enactment of the play. The military school turns into a scene of jealous rivalries, romantic confessions and unaccustomed caresses.

The film won the Grand Jury Prize at Outfest, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, for “Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film.”

It scored 6.1/10 on IMDb

Final Thoughts…

Love does indeed conquer all prejudices of the human condition — on race, sexuality, or gender roles. Romeo and Juliet’s love conquered hate and ended a feud between their families. This is as true in the play as it is in real life, and evident in the film list above, also as true then as it is now.

Let us be inspired by the love lessons in Romeo & Juliet.

By Gaone Magogwe