Romeo and Juliet on FilmI'm planning to use a film adaptation of R&J in my freshman high school class this semester, and I wanted to get some opinions on what everyone thinks is the best...

Romeo and Juliet on Film

I'm planning to use a film adaptation of R&J in my freshman high school class this semester, and I wanted to get some opinions on what everyone thinks is the best version and why. I personally love Zeffirelli's adaptation, but I think students might enjoy the one with Leonardo DiCaprio more. I'd also love to hear from current students about which version they would prefer. 

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Personally, I have used the Baz Luhrmann version with great success. Students have really identified with a more modern setting and it is a perfect example of how Shakespeare can be "updated" or moved into a different time period or setting. This version provides great springboards for discussions about the relevance or universality of the theme and encourages students to be creative in thinking through issues such as staging, dress, setting and how they would direct the text.

Of course, above all, we as teachers can't be dependent on a video to do our teaching for us. Before any showing I think it is imperative to introduce some of the themes of the story and help students think through some of the issues. The issue of forbidden love is something that many students can easily relate to, and so helping them encounter these issues before they study the text or watch the film allows them to have useful "hooks" they can hang meaning on to.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

I still vote for the Ziferrilli....you can follow along in the text, for the most part.  And believe me, even unedited, this is pretty tame compared to the average issue of "Us" or "People."  And, if the titilation gets them interested in Shakespeare, well, there are certainly worse things in the world!! :)

 

 

 

alexb2's profile pic

alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Ah OK good because I remember watching the original one in class in 9th grade... that Juliet was a stunner! Actually that's what got me into Shakespeare.

kat-attaque's profile pic

kat-attaque | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I vote for the Leo one, kids are just going to respond to it, and also realize that Shakesepare is a living, breathing thing and doesn't have to be a faithful reproduction of the play. If you do go with Zefirelli, be prepared for the guys in the class to get a little excited by certain Juliet scenes!

Never fear! It was going to be the censored version. :-)

alexb2's profile pic

alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted on

I vote for the Leo one, kids are just going to respond to it, and also realize that Shakesepare is a living, breathing thing and doesn't have to be a faithful reproduction of the play. If you do go with Zefirelli, be prepared for the guys in the class to get a little excited by certain Juliet scenes!

tishmel's profile pic

tishmel | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted on

I think that it is much easier to follow the Zefirelli film, especially for high school freshman.  Perhaps a solution would be to isolate a few key scenes in the DiCaprio version after you've seen the complete Zeffierelli.  By then, your students will know more than just the basic plot and also will be able to discuss what did
"cross over" and what didn't work. 

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